What Types of Treatments are Offered by Heroin Rehab Centers?

Amanda Barnhart

Heroin rehab centers usually offer several different treatment methods for patients dealing with heroin addiction. Some centers offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment, while others offer only one or the other. The most common treatments include detoxification programs, medications to help with withdrawal and overcoming the addiction, and therapy.

A person addicted to heroin may scratch excessively during the withdrawal process.
A person addicted to heroin may scratch excessively during the withdrawal process.

Detoxification treatment programs at heroin rehab centers are typically the first type of treatment offered to addicts because withdrawal can lead to severe physical and mental symptoms. During the detox period, patients are monitored closely by medical staff members to ensure they do not harm themselves and to assist them with the physical, mental, and emotional problems that often occur when a patient is coming off heroin. Although controversial, some heroin rehab centers offer ultra rapid detoxification programs in which the patient is under anesthesia for the beginning of the withdrawal process. This method can be extremely dangerous and should only be done under heavy supervision of a medical team with quick access to defibrillators and other medical equipment to help save patients who suffer medical problems as a result of the anesthesia or medications given.

Heroin is extremely addictive whether it's smoked, snorted or injected.
Heroin is extremely addictive whether it's smoked, snorted or injected.

During and after the detox process, most heroin rehab centers administer prescription medications to patients to help ease withdrawal symptoms and help them overcome their addictions. Methadone is one of the most common medications used for heroin and other opiate addictions. The drug is an opiate itself, but rehab centers carefully monitor the dosage to prevent intoxication. Methadone helps minimize heroin cravings so that patients can complete the rest of their treatment. Patients going through outpatient treatment must visit a methadone clinic daily to get their prescribed dose since the drug can be abused in the same way as heroin.

Other drugs, including buprenorphine and naltrexone, are also often utilized by heroin rehab centers. The two medications are combined in one prescription drug, which helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and makes it nearly impossible to abuse, making it a good choice for patients who cannot go to a methadone clinic daily. Buprenorphine works similarly to methadone and reduces withdrawal symptoms, while naltrexone blocks opioid receptors in the brain, rendering heroin ineffective for intoxication.

Behavioral and psychiatric therapy sessions offered by heroin rehab centers help patients break away from the mental aspects of addiction. These programs also help addicts cope with other mental issues or problems in their lives that may have played a role in their initial choices to use heroin. Therapy sessions can be one-on-one or take place in a group setting, and some patients benefit most from a combination of both types of therapy. The sessions help patients identify triggers and give them alternative ways to deal with stress, cravings, and the temptation to use heroin.

Those seeking treatment for a heroin addiction may benefit from entering an inpatient treatment facility, where access to the drug will be completely cut off.
Those seeking treatment for a heroin addiction may benefit from entering an inpatient treatment facility, where access to the drug will be completely cut off.

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