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How Can Heroin Withdrawal Treatment Help Me?
According to the Harvard Medical School, "The effect of a single dose of heroin, a relatively short-acting drug, lasts 4-6 hours, and the withdrawal reaction lasts for about a week."
The symptoms of heroin withdrawal may be brief compared to those caused by longer-acting opioids, but heroin withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and painful, often causing relapse in individuals who merely want to make the symptoms go away. But heroin withdrawal treatment can help make this condition much less dangerous and traumatic.
Curbing Symptoms of Withdrawal
"No single approach to detoxification is guaranteed to be best for all addicts" as stated by Harvard Medical School. But medications can be used in heroin withdrawal treatment in order to curb the symptoms of withdrawal which makes relapse during this time less likely and individuals more able to focus on the other issues of their heroin abuse and addiction.
The most commonly used medications for these purposes are:
- Clonidine - According to the NLM, "the most commonly used medication, clonidine, primarily reduces anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, cramping" which can all be caused by heroin withdrawal.
- Methadone - Can be taken in the long-term and used to manage intense withdrawal symptoms and addiction to heroin, keeping individuals from abusing the drug in most cases as long as they are taking the correct dosage as prescribed by their doctor.
- Buprenorphine - Is a partial opioid agonist that blocks the opioid receptors and therefore curbs most of the symptoms caused by heroin withdrawal. It is also marketed as a brand name drug with naloxone which can precipitate withdrawal symptoms if abused, making it less likely to be abused because of this.
All of these medications can make withdrawal symptoms more mild or eradicate them entirely, depending on the symptom and the person's specific withdrawal syndrome. It can be very helpful by causing withdrawal to be less intense and a person less likely to abuse heroin again in order to stop their symptoms.
Precursor to Addiction Treatment
One of the best ways heroin withdrawal treatment can help you is by being a precursor to heroin addiction treatment. The NLM states, "The biggest complication" when it comes to heroin withdrawal treatment "is return to drug use" which leads to most of the documented cases of opioid overdose deaths. If withdrawal treatment is set up as the first stage of addiction treatment, it can actually be very beneficial to the individual's overall recovery.
Many detox centers use therapy in order to help a patient become used to the concept and feel comfortable continuing it after detox has ended.