What Heroin Addiction Recovery is Really Like
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As one of the more deadly opiate addictions, chronic heroin use leaves addicts hopelessly addicted to the “high” this drug brings. With purer and stronger heroin forms entering the market at cheaper prices, heroin addiction rates have skyrocketed over the past decade.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 4.2 American adults reported trying heroin at least once in their lifetimes in 2011. Of this number, 23 percent went on to become addicted to the drug.
Heroin addiction recovery programs specialize in helping addicts overcome the effects of the drug in their lives. As heroin attacks the mind as well as the body, heroin addiction recovery programs address both aspects of addiction as addicts move through the recovery process.
While the idea of entering a heroin addiction recovery program may seem overwhelming at the start, the care, guidance and support offered throughout makes this process well worth the effort.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
A heroin addiction develops gradually over time as brain and body functions succumb to the effects of the drug. As different people may enter heroin addiction recovery at different stages of the addiction cycle, some people will require more intensive treatment than others.
Considering the overall emotional instability addicts experience at the start of the treatment process, recovery programs make it a point to educate a person on the effects of addiction and the importance of viewing recovery as a process rather than as a quick fix.
Detoxification treatment marks the start of the heroin addiction recovery process for most everyone struggling with an addiction. Once a person stops using, withdrawal effects normally start within 48 to 72 hours.
This stage in particular can quickly drive a person back to using again. At this point, the support and care offered by a recovery program makes it possible for addicts to overcome withdrawal and progress to the next stage of recovery.
Chronic heroin use weakens brain cell structures and skews the brain’s overall chemical balance. Under these conditions, addicts may continue to experience withdrawal and drug cravings for months into the recovery process.
For this reason, heroin addiction recovery programs administer medication therapies that work to support damaged brain structures and restore normal brain chemical processes. Medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, have a solid track record in helping recovering addicts maintain sobriety for long periods of time.
The heroin addiction recovery process entails breaking both the body’s physical dependency and the mind’s psychological dependency on the drug. Psychosocial interventions address the psychological components that drive addiction behaviors.
Through ongoing psychotherapy, group therapy and support group work, addicts come to understand the role heroin has played in their lives. In the process, addicts develop healthy coping behaviors and mindsets that support drug-free lifestyles.
Long-Term Recovery Needs
Upon completing drug rehab, it’s not uncommon for a person to feel overwhelmed by everyday life. Familiar people, places and things can quickly bring to mind memories of using. The added stressors and pressures of daily life only work to aggravate drug cravings and the desire to use.
Heroin addiction recovery programs offer aftercare services designed to help a person remain engaged in the recovery process. Twelve-Step support groups and ongoing counseling help can play a critical role in a person’s long-term recovery success.