How Is Heroin Addiction Treated?
Psychologically, the effects of withdrawal may range drastically from person to person but the most common are depression, anxiety, and often mild to severe forms of psychosis involving hallucinations. Taking all of this into consideration, it becomes clear why treatment is almost always required to overcome heroin addiction.
Heroin has become such a problem for the United States that the last two decades have been labeled as the “heroin epidemic” or “opioid crisis”- rightfully so, considering that more than 600,000 overdose deaths have occurred due specifically to opioids since 1999, according to CDC stats.
As alarming as this is, it’s a much-needed wake-up call for some who can’t quit using. For decades methadone was the go-to treatment for heroin addiction, but today there are more treatment methods available than ever before. Some of these (referred to as “Medication Assisted Treatment” or MAT).
MAT for Heroin Addiction Treatment
Methadone- More than fifty years of medical use for treating addiction. Habit-forming with a high potential for abuse and is still incredibly dangerous when used other than directed.
Buprenorphine (Subutex)- Can be habit-forming but doesn’t get the patient high. It is very effective at relieving withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone- Non-addictive and very effective. It prevents any association between heroin and the usual euphoria one would get from it.
Suboxone- Buprenorphine mixed with Naloxone (Narcan). It’s helpful but not as effective as any of the other methods.
So It’s That Simple?
Of course not. Many factors attribute to a person’s addiction and that means there are many things to address if the person wishes to remain sober. Inpatient treatment is almost always necessary for a successful outcome.
This includes all types of individual and group therapy depending on the person and their needs. It may take weeks of inpatient treatment for a person to be ready to return to life. As with any addiction, a strong support system is vital to stay on the path. This means sober support groups, family, sober friends, etc.
Sobriety can take a lifetime to master and it’s said that the only way to accomplish it is to live life day by day as constructively as possible. It is possible.