Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive street drugs in the world. It is an opiate that will rewrite the brain's perception of pleasure and reward in ways that many other substances do not, so withdrawal from the substance can be far more painful than from other drugs. This is why medical professionals have to handle heroin addiction much more delicately than addiction from other substances.
The first and perhaps most important step in treating heroin addiction is the detoxification process. This can be harrowing for patients under the most ideal circumstances, and it should never be attempted alone. Many patients need to undergo medical detox, which ensures that they are weaned off of heroin in a controlled environment instead of quitting outright. They may also be provided with medications to help them control their withdrawal symptoms, which is often a crucial part of the rehab process. This usually involves taking suboxone, a medication that can in itself be addictive and should only be taken in a clinical setting.
Much of what makes heroin addiction treatment different from other addiction treatment is getting over the physical addiction and managing the harsh withdrawal symptoms, but it is far from the only element of treatment. Once a patient has properly detoxed and is mostly over their physical addiction, they often have to undergo counseling and treatment to address the reasons why they turned to heroin in the first place. This process can take anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the patient's situation. As we said before, heroin alters the brain's perception of pleasure and reward, and any addiction treatment will involve basically rewriting one's thought process. This cognitive therapy and counseling can be just as difficult as overcoming the physical addiction, and it should be taken very seriously.
There is no doubt that heroin is one of the most dangerous illicit drugs available today. It is part of the reason why there is such a severe opiate addiction epidemic in the United States, and it continues to claim thousands of lives every year. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to heroin, know that there is hope for you. Contact our treatment center today at 800-737-0933 for more information. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, and they will gladly help you find the treatment that you need.