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Heroin Abuse Counseling
Heroin addiction is one addiction that is rising at a very rapid rate. Between people who are using heroin to treat chronic pain when cut off from their prescription supply and people who are using it to get high, heroin use, addiction, and overdose is now being called an epidemic.
Fortunately, there are many treatment methods for heroin addiction. One highly successful treatment is medication assisted treatment. This type of treatment combines medication with addiction counseling.
Heroin addiction counseling is a key component of medication assisted treatment. It helps you reach long term recovery success. There are several types of heroin abuse counseling that are frequently useful.
Goals of Counseling for Heroin Abuse
In order to be a successful counseling method, counseling must help a heroin addict meet certain goals. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these goals are:
- Modifying behavior that leads to heroin use.
- Modify attitudes about heroin use.
- Increase healthy behaviors and skills that help to prevent future use.
- Help an addict understand and maintain other forms of treatment such as drug therapy.
Without accomplishing these goals, counseling is ineffective. Although most counseling methods accomplish this, they need to be individually structured to suit the addict's needs. You should choose the heroin counseling method that is right for your goals.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common types of counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy accomplishes several things. According to the National Library of Medicine, these are:
- Develops positive thinking skills.
- Reduces negative thoughts that create circumstances that involve drug use.
- Supports operant learning.
- Adds motivation for decreasing or stopping drug use.
- Identifies the cause and consequences of heroin use.
- Helps the addict deal with the cause and consequences of addiction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy often involves both group and individual talk therapy sessions. These sessions involve learning new techniques for dealing with the addiction and behavioral issues that lead to the addiction.
Contingency management is useful in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy. According to Pennsylvania State University, contingency management has three main components. These components are:
- The behavior that needs to be changed.
- Things that reinforce the new behavior.
- Consequences for the undesirable behavior.
Contingency management works like this:
- Addict exhibits a positive behavior.
- Therapist or treatment center rewards the positive behavior.
- Therapist or treatment center does not reward negative behavior.
It is a relatively simple way to change an addictive behavior into a better one. It uses a form of classical conditioning. The typical behaviors that contingency management seeks to change in a heroin addict are:
- Heroin Use
- Opiate Use in General
- Missed Counseling Sessions
- Missed Doctor's Appointment
- Missed Classes
If they show positive behaviors like passing a drug test or attending a certain amount of counseling sessions, they receive a tangible reward. Some of the rewards that treatment centers offer are:
- Movie Tickets
- Popular Store Gift Certificates
- Restaurant Gift Cards
- Visa or Other Credit Type Gift Cards
- Vouchers for Meals or Other Services
- Vouchers for Services such as Salons and Spas
The community donates many of these rewards, so they may be varied.
Contingency management works as a motivator in the beginning of treatment but as time goes on the rewards must become intangible rather than tangible. The intangible rewards of feeling better and not facing the negative consequences of heroin use.
Motivational interviewing is a pattern of asking questions and using empathy to illicit motivation to change. According to the University of Washington, motivational interviewing relies on these principles:
- Builds genuine trust and empathy between therapist and client.
- Confrontation is unnecessary and can cause more harm than good.
- Confusion is acknowledged and leads to change.
- Encourages the addict to recognize the need for change.
- Exploring different perspectives.
- It is important to encourage hope.
- Recognizing resistance as part of change.
- Should increase accountability.
These principles are what motivational interviewing attempts to accomplish. Most of these principles rely on a basic understanding of how people change and motivating you to do so.
Multidimensional Family Therapy
Multidimensional family therapy uses counseling as a conduit for family to talk and begin to heal after a heroin addiction. It is designed to correct the issues within the family structure that could cause or allow drug addiction and abuse.
In this type of therapy, a therapist talks with both the addict alone and with other family members. Some therapists will meet individually with family members and provide counseling for them as well as the addict.
This helps heal the family as well as the addiction. Multidimensional family therapy is not only for blood relatives but also close friends and others who love the addict but not the addiction. Most treatment centers offer it for those who need it.
Heroin addiction counseling takes place in a variety of settings. These settings include:
- Inpatient Treatment Centers - Residential treatment where you stay at the facility for the duration of your treatment.
- Outpatient Treatment Centers - Outpatient treatment allows you to go home after either day treatment or any number of treatment appointments.
- Combination Treatment Centers - Combination treatment offers both the safety and security of inpatient treatment during the worst parts of detox and treatment and then transitions you to outpatient when you are ready.
Where to Find Heroin Abuse Counseling
You can find heroin abuse counseling at many treatment centers around the world. It is important to choose a counseling center that suits your individual needs and goals. Knowing what counseling options are available is the best way to do this.