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Heroin Addiction Treatment Methods

Heroin Addiction Treatment Methods

As in case of any other type of drug dependence, heroin addiction too has some effective treatments. Here is a brief overview about the different treatment methods for heroin addiction.
Sonia Nair
Heroin addiction can be dangerous for the user, his family and to the society as a whole. So, be forceful or voluntary, treatment for the condition is necessary. Apart from suffering from the ill effects of the addiction, the user of this drug may experience severe withdrawal symptoms, if he fails to take it. So, most of the users refrain from discontinuing the use of heroin. However, with proper treatment, this habit can be eliminated.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Options

Heroin is an illegal drug that is derived from morphine, which in turn is made from poppy plants. This drug is highly addictive and is used for recreational purposes as it induces a euphoric state in the user. Heroin use as such can cause various harmful effect on the body, like liver failure, spontaneous abortion, lung complications, collapsed veins, infections of the blood vessels and heart valves and many other health problems. The users are also exposed to various other conditions, like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Even behavioral and mental issues may crop up.

Such addiction may lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, as the person fails to take the drug. The symptoms include intense craving for the drug, body aches, vomiting, anxiety and depression, sweating, diarrhea, sweating, excessive yawning, cramps and fever. Such symptoms may develop within 7 to 24 hours from the last dose of the drug. The symptoms may get worse during the second to fourth day and may gradually subside. So, heroin addiction needs to be treated at the earliest. The mode of treatment is often decided as per the condition of the user. While heroin addiction treatment at an early stage is always beneficial, those with prolonged use of heroin can also be treated successfully.

Detoxification and Behavioral Therapies

Basically, treatment for drug addiction comprises detoxification, along with behavioral therapies. Detoxification is the process of eliminating the toxins (released by the heroin) from the body. This can be achieved in three ways.
  • The first and foremost method is to discontinue the use of heroin all of a sudden. In this method, the person has to suffer severe withdrawal symptoms, that may sometimes lead to relapse of heroin use. At this stage, the person may need medical attention, so that the withdrawal symptoms can be managed with less discomfort.
  • The second method is to detox the body with the help of medications. Three types of drugs are usually used for this type of heroin addiction treatment. The first one is methadone, that is administered to taper off heroin. The dose of this medication is gradually lowered and stopped. It has been observed that some of the users get addicted to methadone. The second option is buprenorphine, which is claimed to be safer with a lesser scope of addiction. The latest entrant in this arena is suboxone, which is said to be useful in tapering off heroin with less severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Rapid detox is another controversial method used for attaining detoxification in heroin addicts. As per this method, the heroin user is administered with an opioid antagonist that can detox the body within a span of three hours. In other words, the normal detoxification that needs three to four days, happens within three hours. Withdrawal symptoms in this case could be so strong that the person is sedated for that period. This is a controversial method, with many health experts opposing the procedure.
  • Apart from the detoxification programs, behavioral therapy is also recommended as a part of treating heroin addiction. Contingency management therapy, cognitive and behavioral therapy, etc., are widely used in the treatment for overcoming heroin addiction.
The above said is a brief overview about heroin addiction treatment medication and methods. Now you have a basic understanding about how to treat heroin addiction. However, this article is purely for informative purposes. So, if you want to get someone treated for heroin addiction, you should consult a physician. He will be the best person to decide the mode of treatment. Apart from medication and other therapy, the affected person also needs the support of family and friends.