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Heroin Addiction Therapy
Heroin use is a rapidly growing issue in the United States. Deciding you need addiction treatment is one of the most difficult decisions that you can make. If you have made this important decision, there are many types of treatment to choose from.
Most heroin addiction treatment uses a two prong approach. The first is medication. The medication gets you through withdrawal and can help you if you have a condition such as chronic pain. The second prong is through therapy.
What is Medication Therapy for Heroin Addiction?
Medication therapy is one of the therapies useful in treating heroin addiction. It does not solve the whole problem with addiction but helps prevent relapse and provides support for chronic pain sufferers.
There are three main types of medication therapy for heroin addiction. These are:
- Medication for withdrawal, maintenance, and chronic pain
- Medication to discourage heroin use
- Supportive medication as a short term solution for symptoms
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the main medications for withdrawal, maintenance, and chronic pain are:
These medications help prevent withdrawal symptoms and are used for treating chronic pain disorders. They also work as maintenance medications in cases of severe or dangerous addictions.
Naltrexone is one popular medication that discourages the use of heroin. It discourages heroin use by blocking the euphoric properties of the drug.
Supportive medications range from anti-nausea medications to treatments for co-occurring disorders. When doctors use supportive medications, they are usually treating individual symptoms and not the entire issue.
What is Behavioral Therapy for Heroin Addiction?
Behavioral treatments for heroin addiction therapy are the second way that this addiction is treated. Several behavioral therapies are highly effective. The most common of these are: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a combination of different types of therapy. Some of these types are:
- Rational Emotive Therapy
- Cognitive Therapy
- Rational Living Therapy
- Schema Focused Therapy
According to the University of Cincinnati, cognitive behavioral therapy utilizes a classical conditioning approach to changing behavior. Therapists explore behaviors that cause or trigger substance abuse. Then work to change these behaviors.
According to the University of Washington, contingency management is a system of rewards that use basic human nature to change behavior. It uses the principle that people are motivated to change when: There is something to positive to gain or There is something negative to avoid.
During the contingency management approach, therapists use rewards to encourage change. They might reward:
- Negative Drug Tests
- Attendance in Counseling Sessions
- Participation in Training Programs
- Participation in 12 Step Treatment
- Milestones in Treatment
Rewards a treatment center might use are:
- Food or Gas Cards
- Visa or other Gift Cards
- Movie Ticket Vouchers
- Tickets to Attractions
In each case, they are not typically rewards one could purchase heroin with but are financial in nature.
Contingency management is useful in the time before true behavior changes begin. It provides tangible rewards before the intangible rewards are sufficient to change behavior.
Motivational interviewing is a counseling approach the increases and improves someone's motivation to change, according to the National Institute of Justice. It is a supportive and sympathetic style that uses reflective listening.
The four basic principles of motivational interviewing are:
- Expressing Empathy
- Developing Self Efficacy
- Showing the Discrepancies in the Addicts Though Processes
- Allows and Moves Past Resistance to Change
These four principles are helpful in motivating a person to change their behaviors.
12 Step Facilitation Therapy
12 step facilitation therapy is a form of therapy that should happen early in the addicts treatment experience. This treatment method focuses on preparing a person to enter a 12 step program. It gets them used to the ideas, philosophies, and regular meetings.
As a brief therapy it only lasts 12 to 15 sessions but helps with relapse prevention. If a person knows about and can go to a meeting when they are in trouble, they can avoid drug use.
Types of Heroin Addiction Therapy
There are three main types of heroin addiction treatment and therapy. These two types are inpatient, outpatient, and combination treatment.
Inpatient treatment is a residential form of therapy. You stay at the treatment center the whole time you are in treatment.
Outpatient treatment is a non-residential form of therapy. You attend sessions and different parts of the program on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on your needs.
Combination treatment combines both inpatient and outpatient treatment. You are inpatient for the detoxification and beginning of counseling and then transition to outpatient when you are ready.
How Successful is Heroin Addiction Therapy?
Depending on the combination of treatment types and locations, heroin addiction therapy is highly effective. Inpatient medication assisted treatment (a combination of medications and counseling) has the highest treatment success rate at around 65 percent treatment retention.
Outpatient medication assisted therapy has around a 35 percent treatment retention. This is usually due to the amount of triggers in the addicts environment.
Although these numbers might seem low, it is important to consider the chronic nature of addiction in general and heroin addiction in particular. People frequently relapse back into heroin addiction no matter what type of treatment they seek.
Heroin addiction therapy with a strong aftercare program and a combination of social, physical, and emotional support has the highest success rate. When the therapy embraces lifestyle and emotional changes, it works to stop both the addiction and relapse.
Individuals have different treatment needs. A key part of the success of any heroin addiction therapy is finding the right treatment center for your individual goals and needs.