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Treatment Available for Heroin Abuse and Addiction
What Types of Treatments are Available for Heroin Use, Abuse and Addiction?
Fortunately today there are many different treatment options available for people who have become addicted to heroin or for individuals that abuse the drug. Not everyone that uses heroin becomes addicted but with frequent use because heroin is so powerful and addictive, many people have. Today we have medications available that help decrease heroin cravings, help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and also help to prevent relapse for people seeking recovery from their addiction to heroin. Behavioral therapies and other effective supportive services help heroin users in recovery understand their addiction and make changes in their life that promotes abstinence and healing as they learn to successfully manage their recovery.
For over thirty years methadone has been used to treat heroin addiction. Methadone is a synthetic opiate drug that helps to reduce heroin cravings and decrease withdrawal symptoms a person experiences during detoxification. There are opiate treatment programs available that provide methadone maintenance for their patients under close supervision while they work on their addiction and learn to manage their recovery after detox is completed. Methadone by itself doesn't promote recovery; a person has to have effective programs utilized during their recovery in order to successfully maintain abstinence and achieve a long term healthy recovery.
Because methadone is an addictive drug and has a potential for abuse, other medications are also available for treating individuals addicted to heroin and other opiate drugs.
Buprenorphine is another approved treatment for heroin and other opiate addiction that's also very effective. Compared to methadone, buprenorphine has less risk of physical dependence, overdose and symptoms of withdrawal when a person stops taking it. Buprenorphine is not only administered by treatment facilities for heroin and other opiate addictions, but also a medication that qualified physicians can dispense for their patients recovering from opiate addiction. There are two forms of buprenorphine, Suboxone and Subutex.
On August 30, 2010 the FDA also approved a new Suboxone sublingual film product which is used in maintenance treatment for opiate addiction. Suboxone treatment is combined with effective treatment programs, counseling and psychosocial support for those recovering from heroin and other opiate dependence. Suboxone contains buprenorphine and a medication to prevent abuse called naloxone.
Subutex only contains buprenorphine and is administered to patients recovering from heroin or opiate addiction if they're pregnant or unable to take naloxone for any reason.
It's important to understand that detoxification and medications that help assist detox, relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings are just part of recovery for heroin addiction. If counseling, education and support aren't combined with medication therapy the risk of relapse increases and long term recovery is much harder to achieve.
Drugs like heroin are not only addictive but with continued use, changes take place in the brain are sometimes irreversible depending on the duration and intensity of abuse. Full psychological and physical assessments are also provided by many treatment centers in order to provide individualized treatment programs for their clients. It's extremely important to address all issues that substance abuse or addiction has caused or affected in order for a person to successfully recover and manage their recovery throughout their life.
Behavioral therapy and counseling helps the individual understand their own unique addiction and behaviors and issues that may have led to their use. Through this form of therapy the individual with the help of their counselor or therapist is able to identify and change unhealthy and destructive thinking and behavior patterns that have led to substance use. We can't change destructive thoughts and behaviors if we don't recognize them first.
During treatment recovering heroin users are also educated about addiction and how it takes place. Many changes have to take place in a person's life in order to maintain their abstinence from using heroin and manage their recovery in the future. The more a person learns about addiction and develops strategies to prevent relapse the more successful their heroin recovery will be.
Group support helps people connect with others during treatment who are facing the same challenges. It's very important to have strong positive support when recovering from heroin or any other addiction. When you're surrounded by others who have been there and understand what you're going through, it can make a big difference during recovery.
Support groups like Heroin Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are excellent ways to obtain positive support, connect with others facing the same challenges, and receive strength and hope while working toward abstinence and maintaining sobriety. Some treatment facilities utilize 12 step support programs for their clients during their recovery in outpatient and inpatient treatment settings and recommend they continue attending meetings in their local areas.