When an individual is suffering from the ravages of heroin addiction, there is still hope for recovery and a full, rich life full of opportunity. In order to increase a heroin addict’s chances for a life free of drugs, they will require the dedication of a team of professionals who will commit themselves to helping the recovering addict succeed. A qualified rehab counselor can help you decide which type of program is the very best to suit your needs or the needs of your family. There are benefits to both inpatient and outpatient programs; however, both types of programs can offer a few similarities.
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Not every treatment center is right for everyone. There are many differences in the types of programs available, including:
- Gender-specific treatment
- Teen rehab
- Inpatient medical facilities
- Inpatient residential facilities
- Outpatient treatment
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual who suffers from heroin addiction also suffers from a co-existing psychological condition that may, or may not, have been previously diagnosed. The question of why many individuals choose to use drugs may lie in the pre-existence of these psychological conditions. Nearly 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with severe mental disorders also suffer from addiction. Also of note is the fact that approximately half of those individuals who suffer from addiction are ultimately diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder.
The types of conditions that a recovering addict may discover include:
- Anxiety disorder
- Major depression
- Borderline personality disorder
When considering the likelihood that a dual diagnosis may exist, it is important to choose an inpatient residential facility that has the staff and the expertise to treat both aspects of the dual diagnosis.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Traditional therapy models involve one-on-one counseling sessions that might take years before any progress in recognized. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, on the other hand, is a distinct treatment program that depends upon the cooperation of both the counselor and the recovering heroin addict. The purpose of the program is to help the recovering addict learn new ways to think about the issues they face in day-to-day life before reacting to various situations. The CBT process includes private and group therapy sessions, homework and self-assessment reviews on a regular basis to measure progress.
Alternative Treatment Programs
A good residential program for heroin addiction can offer both traditional and alternative therapy models. Alternative treatment programs are designed to work in conjunction with aspects of CBT to increase skills associated with addictive behaviors.
While the recovering heroin addict learns these new communication skills, he will simultaneously learn problem-solving skills that will serve him well once he has completed treatment.
What to Expect From the Recovery Process
The initial phase of recovery from heroin addiction is the detox phase. During this process, which can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, heroin and other drugs or alcohol toxins are expelled from the body. This process happens naturally, although some medications may be available to treat specific symptoms. The recovering addict may experience symptoms, such as:
- Fever and chills
- Excessive sweating
- Increased hunger
While difficult to endure, heroin detox is not fatal when completed under the proper supervision. With the help of professionals experienced in assisting the detox process, the symptoms can be managed appropriately.
After the detox period has passed, the heroin addict will enter the treatment program, with access to various therapies. This process will last at least three months at most inpatient treatment centers but can be extended should the parties agree.
In addition to participating in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and some or all of the alternative therapies, the heroin addict may find himself developing holistic habits that include more attention to diet and exercise, healthy decision-making practices, and social skills that are honest rather than tainted with drugs.
It is not unusual for co-residents in some heroin treatment centers to develop long-lasting friendships that can contribute to mutual sobriety. Spending so many hours together, passing through the same life-affirming milestones of recovery, and sharing histories can bring these friendships together in a safe and harmonious environment that carries over to the support phase.
The final stage of recovery is the support phase. It is important that the recovering addict not expose himself to the same influences, especially in the earliest weeks after the treatment program has ended. Rather than surrounding himself with the same friends and locations, the recovering addict might choose to participate in events that are “dry” or drug- and alcohol-free. Many support groups exist for this purpose and include sports leagues or other socially-oriented activities that encourage sobriety among the membership.
How Effective Is Treatment?
The purpose of drug treatment, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is to return a recovering addict to “productive functioning in the family, workplace and community.” This goal can be obtained with proper management of the addictive condition. Like other chronic diseases, heroin addiction is subject to relapse depending upon various factors. However, with proper treatment and aftercare, it is possible to manage a heroin addiction and lead a productive lifestyle.