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Heroin Addiction Treatment

Dealing with a heroin addiction is one of the hardest things to do in the world due to the nature of the drug itself. Even those people who have left their chronic heroin addictions behind are putting themselves at risk as death is possible even after quitting the drug. It's because the body has such an affinity with it that if it's taken away it will just shut itself down as it believes it can't function without it. The good news is that there are drug addiction treatment programs that can and do work for people.

What is Heroin?

Family and friends of heroin users may not know about what heroin is and why it's so dangerous. That's why it's important to get to grips with the following facts about this substance.

  • Street names for heroin include: Smack, H, Ska, Horse, and Mud.
  • Heroin is actually a watered down version of opium. As opium became ever more expensive and dangerous it was watered down over time and heroin was born.
  • Taking the drug is done using three different methods. It's down to the preference of the individual as to how it's taken. Smoking it, snorting it, and injecting it are the three methods used.
  • Rehab treatment is there to demonstrate that the ‘rush' that comes with heroin isn't needed to function. This is the addictive part of it and is precisely what makes a heroin addiction so dangerous.

What Are the Health Hazards of Heroin?

Even a lot of heroin users don't know exactly what sort of damage they are doing to themselves by taking heroin. What is clear, though, is that heroin is one of the most potent drugs currently on the market. It's why heroin addiction treatment can be incredibly complex for chronic users. Just some of the health hazards are listed below, although this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Infected heart valves.
  • Liver disease.
  • Common overdoses.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Collapsed veins.
  • Cellulitis.

The Withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin

Understanding exactly what's going to happen to an individual who goes through drug addiction treatment at a treatment clinic is imperative as the withdrawal symptoms can be quite serious. It's important to mention that the withdrawal symptoms are going to vary in severity due to the differences in dependency. Somebody who decides to obtain rehab treatment through treatment programs soon into their addiction is going to have much weaker symptoms than those who have been using it for years.

Again, this is in no way designed to be an exhaustive list, but just some of the more common withdrawal symptoms are listed below. Take into account that other illnesses that have been caused by a heroin addiction may add additional symptoms.

  • Sudden withdrawal in the case of chronic users can be fatal.
  • Insomnia.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Bone pain.
  • Cold flashes.
  • Restlessness.
  • Vomiting.
  • Kicking urges, which are usually irresistible.

Chemical Cures

Methadone is by far the most common substance used and is actually a type of opiate that's been made synthetically; remember, heroin is made from a natural plant. The substance itself has reported fantastic clinical results for helping to treat a heroin addict. Studies have shown that it can actually block out all the effects of heroin and heroin withdrawal for roughly 24 hours. It's an essential tool in a treatment clinic's arsenal when dealing with chronic heroin addicts.

Buprenorphine is one of the latest medications to hit the world of drug addiction treatment. It utilises the calming benefits of methadone whilst making sure that the addictive qualities of methadone aren't retained. Due to the fact that it's so useful whilst not providing any dangers it can be obtained from a local doctor.

Naloxone is a drug that's particularly useful for treating overdoses. Some individuals can have problems with methadone and buprenorphine as it still gives them the feeling of an overdose. When combined with naloxone the impact of heroin, and other opiates, are blocked out. These drugs are used in combination for the purposes of defeating cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Behavioural Treatments

A chronic heroin addiction will always have to be treated on an inpatient basis. It's in a residential treatment centre that patients will experience a form of rehab treatment that discourages them from accepting and taking heroin. It depends entirely on the clinic but any treatments are normally carried out either in group sessions or in the privacy of a drug counsellor's office.

On top of that, though, discussion about some of the private issues that may have caused the addiction to flare up to begin with will occur. It's imperative that this is done as it's not prudent to issue any form of behavioural response without first knowing what the problem is. Private issues will always be discussed in privacy in a comfortable environment, so don't worry about having to share anything that's particularly traumatic or emotional.

At some point, many people within these treatment programs will choose to share some of their issues in the safety of a group session, but it's not an obligation. It's entirely up to the patient and these problems tend to be shared at a later date when everybody has got to know each other.

Take note that once the inpatient phase of a drug addiction treatment program is over it will then fall to an outpatient centre to continue the work that has already been initiated. Similar sessions will be in place, but this time it will be up to the patient to attend sessions.


Some people do fail to cure their heroin addictions. There's nothing that can be done about this and it's quite a common occurrence. What is crucial is that the idea of giving up the drug isn't abandoned. Most centres are always willing to take in former patients who need their help. Furthermore, if the initial residential program doesn't work then it can be renewed and the treatment continued. It's not unheard of for some chronic heroin addicts to remain within residential drug addiction centres for years at a time.

Just remember that to reduce the chance of failure it's imperative that the techniques taught by the drug counsellors are introduced into daily life. A brief summing up of some of them has been conducted below.

D = Delay the cravings and delay the desire to take the drug and the feelings become less potent. If it can be avoided for a few minutes then it can be avoided completely.

E = Escape from the situation. If somebody is offering some heroin then turn away or slam the phone down.

H = Never be afraid of looking for help. Call a doctor, call a counsellor, or even just talk to a close family member or friend about the difficulties and complexities of the treatment. It tends to let the cravings pass.

S = Substitute it for something else. If it's normally taken via smoking then chew some gum in an attempt to eliminate the cravings.

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Health Insurance

Our Rehabs accept most of the major private health insurers.

  • AVIVA Health Insurance
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  • Bupa Health Insurance
  • Standard Life Health Insurance
  • Vitality Health Insurance
  • Cigna Health Insurance
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