Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin is a highly addictive opiate, making it extremely hard for users to decide to quit using it. It is also extremely difficult for them to face going through the harsh process of quitting it, and take the decision to stay away from it in the future.

The drug is extremely destructive in its effects on the lives of those who use it and their families. It can also adversely affect unborn babies. Heroin can also send ripple effects through society by transmitting diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis when injected with dirty needles and escalations in crime and violence are also associated with its use.

Heroin, a drug synthesized from morphine, can be smoked, inhaled or injected. When injected, it delivers a feeling of euphoria to the brain so rapidly that the risk of addiction is high. In 2011, 4,3million Americans reported having tried it at least once, and it’s thought about one in four of those who use it once are likely to become dependent on it.

Detox is extremely hard because of withdrawal symptoms which kick in faster with this quick-acting drug than from other opiates. Symptoms of withdrawal include muscle and bone pain, involuntary kicking movements, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting. Although usually not life-threatening, it is best not to try detoxing without supervision.

Medical treatments

To handle the extremely uncomfortable heroin detox, a replacement synthetic drug is often used for heroin addiction. This is given in gradually reducing doses over a period of time. One of the most commonly used drugs is methadone.

In some instances, the detox period is intensified and shortened with medication. The patient is put under anesthesia, so does not experience the same amount of discomfort, and the physical part of the detox process is over more quickly.

After detox, controlled amounts of methadone are often used as part of an administered maintenance program to prevent relapse into heroin addiction. This is done particularly when users have a long history of heroin use or relapses after treatment.

The drug allows for normal function without providing the highs and lows of heroin or the illicit activities or risks involved in its use.


Detoxification is just the first step on the road to a heroin-free life. Without a long-term rehabilitation program, relapse is extremely common. As with most drug addiction treatments, there are two options, outpatient and inpatient treatment programs.

Outpatient treatment: During an outpatient program the patient continues to live at home while undergoing treatment. The advantage is that the patient is able to continue going to work each day and resume an ordinary life with the support of family and friends.

However the treatment’s effectiveness can be affected if the addict is not yet ready to face a heroin-free world. This may happen if the home environment contributed to the development of the heroin addiction or carries too many reminders of drug use which could trigger a relapse.

Outpatient rehab recovery programs usually involve 10 to 12 hours a week at a treatment center for anything from three months to over a year. The program includes group and individual counselling and therapy.

Inpatient or residential treatment usually lasts between 30 and 90 days, though it can be longer in more severe addiction cases. Where the facility has the requisite medical support, the center can provide help with assisted detox and continue right through the rehabilitation process. The addict lives and stays on the premises, away from the stressors and triggers of the environment he or she lived in as a heroin user. The entire focus is then on recovery and rehabilitation.

Therapy offered usually aims at helping addicts identify and overcome weaknesses and triggers and finds ways to deal with behavioral problems. Support groups and family counselling are also part of the program, and other activities like exercise, art or even skills-training may be included.

Moving on from heroin use:

Even after an extended inpatient treatment, it would be advisable to continue attending support group meetings and therapy sessions. Many patients choose to sign up at outpatient centers, while others opt for the half-way house or sober living community option as a means of gradually returning to normal life.

Easing your mind:

  • Privacy: Users wishing to undergo rehabilitation needn’t worry about their personal privacy – all rehabilitation centers respect patients’ anonymity.
  • Payment: Help is available for part or all the costs of addiction treatment in terms of most private and state medical insurance plans. In terms of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) addiction is no longer viewed as a pre-existing condition for insurance purposes, and coverage has to be as complete for it as for any other medical procedure.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 35 million Americans over the age of 12 reported to having used either cocaine or crack at some or other stage. Cocaine addiction accounts for approximately 14% of rehab center admissions.


The drug is particularly addictive, both physically and mentally. The “high” associated with cocaine use tends to be short lived; with the result that many addicts tend to combine it with other drugs such as heroin, marijuana and/or Valium. Frequent bingeing or taking multiple doses at once is also common. For these reasons, cocaine is responsible for more emergency hospitalizations than any other illicit drug.


Treating cocaine addiction with medication


As it currently stands, no pharmacological treatment has as yet been developed for the successful treatment of cocaine addiction. Although several experimental medications have shown moderately promising results in clinical trials, these have not been approved by the FDA for treatment regimes.


Other medicines, such as Prozac and/or Disulfiram may be prescribed during the recovery process. Prozac is used to treat depression which is associated with cocaine withdrawal while Disulfiram, which is usually prescribed to treat alcoholism, has produced fairly consistent reductions in cocaine abuse.


Additional medications are also being developed to treat the frequent hospitalizations that cocaine is responsible for. Among these is a cocaine vaccine which is designed to block the entry of cocaine into the brain. Although still very much in a clinical trial phase, this vaccine shows great promise in preventing relapse.


Behavioral intervention


As with any other form of addiction, the successful treatment of cocaine addiction is a complex issue. There is no “one size fits all” technique. What may work for some individuals may prove to be counter-productive to others. Although many patients are able to achieve sobriety through traditional 12 step programs, others find that these approaches are ineffective.


Research has shown that a 12 step approach on its own offers a reduced chance of successful recovery. Thanks to advances made in the fields of psychology and psychiatry, the more modern rehabilitation facilities are able to design a treatment regime which is specific to each individual case.


Individualized rehabilitation programs are able to include a range of behavioral therapies. These assist the individual in working towards achieving his or her goals. They help to identify triggers, teach the individual to cope with stressful situations which may trigger abuse, and help to develop strong and lasting support networks.


Behavioral therapy can be divided into four categories. These are:

  1. Group Therapy. This type of therapy aids the recovery process and teaches the addict how to deal with personal and unresolved issues.
  2. Cognitive therapy. This teaches the addict how to recognize and avoid situations in which they may find themselves pressured or wanting to take drugs.
  3. Motivational encouragement – recovering addicts respond well to a system of incentives and rewards. For example, failure to attend counseling could mean losing privileges while staying clean could be rewarded appropriately.
  4. One on one therapy with a counselor to discuss personal issues and play an active role in the recovery process.




When undergoing cocaine rehabilitation, it is important that the addict has access to a full range of holistic treatment services. These include attending group and family counseling meetings. It becomes important for the addict to realize that his or her behavior affects others too. Concerned parents, loving spouses and siblings all suffer when they see their loved one submitting to addiction.


Private and confidential therapy with a healthcare professional is important as it enables the addict to discuss any personal issues they may have. The patient may feel uncomfortable discussing his or her situation in a group. Here the healthcare professional will be able to answer their questions and deal with concerns without them feeling threatened in any way.


Education regarding the hazards of cocaine addiction is also fundamental to the recovery process. These programs teach the individual about the life-threatening situations they may be exposing themselves to. Having the option to partake in a healthy alternative lifestyle, which includes taking up a hobby or participating in a sport is also key to a successful rehabilitation.


Finally, while cocaine addiction is very serious, it is important to remember that all hope is not lost. With the right treatment and dedication, it is possible for addicts to recover fully and return to society as healthy and happy individuals.

Opiate addiction treatment

While the most well-known opiates are heroin and Oxycontin, opiates include a wide range of drugs derived from the opium poppy. The plant is used to make morphine and codeine as well as other drugs. Opiates are also created synthetically.

Addiction or dependence can result innocently through long-term use, or overuse, of prescription opiate painkillers following injury or trauma, as well as through deliberate use. In large quantities, opiates provide endorphins, or feel-good hormones, in far greater amounts than the body can produce them on its own. Sadly, exposure to unnaturally large amounts of endorphins can lessen the body’s ability to produce its own endorphins, leading to the need for increasing amounts.

Detox is generally regarded as extremely hard both emotionally and physically. Physical withdrawal symptoms including muscle and bone pain, difficulty breathing, insomnia, palpitations, diarrhea and vomiting. The quicker acting the opiate is, the sooner withdrawal symptoms set in, the more intense they are, but the shorter they last. Fast-acting heroin is the worst.

Although detoxing from opiate addiction is not usually life-threatening unless other medical conditions exist, it is best not to try to go it alone. Rather do it under supervision.


The choice of program should be made with the help of your medical doctor, who will take into account your personal needs.

The process of freeing yourself from opiate dependence or addiction starts with detox and progresses with learning how to adjust to a world without these drugs. All programs include therapy aimed at helping you identify and overcome the issues and triggers that fueled your drug abuse, while assisting you to find more effective coping methods. Support groups and family counselling also play a big role.

In some instances, especially with heroin addiction, replacement medication is used for maintenance in order to reduce the high incidence of relapse.

Treatment options

Outpatient treatment: You live at home during the whole process. Even the detox can be conducted through some outpatient centers, with medical care provided for the detox itself and for check-ups afterwards.

You are in a familiar environment with friends and family for support. You can continue going to work and there is also no need to explain lengthy absences from home. Visits to the outpatient center involve about 10 to 12 hours a week over a period of several months.

The disadvantage is that you remain in the same place you were in as a user, and the temptations to relapse could be very strong. If the environment or people in it contributed to your drug use, or you are constantly faced with triggers that make you want to use again, you may be unable to resist relapsing.

Inpatient or residential treatment takes you out of your known environment, with its distractions and triggers, and lets you focus entirely on your recovery and rehabilitation. It provides you with a complete break from your previous life and lifestyle.

Although some people feel uncomfortable about what others might think of their entering a drug rehab, there is no need for concern. Rehabilitation centers protect patients’ anonymity.

Many inpatient facilities can take you through the detox process as well as the rehabilitation. You stay on the premises for the full program, which can run for between one and three months and sometimes longer. Care and guidance is immediately available, and you are surrounded by people who know what you are going through.

In addition to providing the therapies included in all drug addiction treatment programs, many centres offer added features like exercise and activities as well art and craft programs. Even skills training is sometimes available.

Moving forward

The process should not be rushed. Even an extended period at a residential treatment center might not be enough to ensure abstinence in the long term. It may be a good idea to consider the advantages of a sober living community, where you can ease your way back into life outside the rehabilitation center.

It is also possible continue with outpatient treatment, receiving therapy and counselling for a while longer, while adapting to living at home. Support groups can also provide continued assistance.

The costs involved

The Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare, has meant that addiction treatment can no longer be viewed as a pre-existing condition in terms of medical insurance and that coverage for it must be just as complete for it as it is for any other medical procedure.  This means that most medical insurance plans will pay at least part, if not all, of the costs involved, depending on what treatment you choose and where you choose to undergo it.