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Heroin Detox, Treatment & Rehab

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Heroin is an opioid substance that is produced from the Asian poppy plant, and other poppy plants in Mexico and Colombia. Heroin can be a brown or white powder, and also a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Heroin can be snorted, injected intravenously, and smoked. In 2021, approximately 1.1 million individuals, over the age of 11, reportedly engaged in heroin use. (1) Heroin is extremely addictive, with approximately 1 million individuals being diagnosed with heroin use disorder within a 12 month period in 2021. (2)

If you suspect that you or a loved one are experiencing heroin use disorder, Guardian Recovery can provide you with comprehensive treatment. With heroin specific detoxification services, we offer a safe environment for sobriety to begin. Contact us today to get started.

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What Is the Addiction Treatment & Recovery Process for Heroin Addiction?

There are multiple steps involved in treatment and recovery for heroin use. Detoxing, or the removal of heroin from the body is generally the first step. Therapeutic interventions or medication-assisted treatment often follows. The recovery process is usually catered to an individual and their specific treatment needs.

Detoxing From Heroin Use

Detoxing from heroin can be difficult. Because of the negative symptoms associated with detox, many individuals return to heroin use within 24 hours of quitting. Attending a medically supervised detox program can help alleviate symptoms and make this process as safe as possible.

Can You Detox From Heroin on Your Own?

Typically, it is not recommended for an individual to detox from heroin on their own. Stopping heroin use cold turkey brings on unwanted symptoms that can be dangerous, due to how heroin impacts the brain.

How Long Does It Take To Completely Detox Your Body From Heroin?

The time that it takes to completely detox the body from heroin varies for each individual. Timeframe is determined by the length of time that an individual engaged in heroin use and the dosage amounts they often used. Typically, detox can last anywhere between a few days to a few weeks after last use.

How Long Do Withdrawal Symptoms Last During Heroin Detox?

There is no exact timeframe that withdrawal symptoms will last for during heroin detox, though they can last for weeks following last use.

Heroin’s Withdrawal Timeline

Typically acute withdrawal symptoms will last a week, sometimes more. These symptoms usually begin 6 to 12 hours after last use. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms, or long term withdrawal symptoms, can last for up to a year, depending on the severity of use. An exact timeline varies depending on an individual’s frequency of use, average dosage used, duration of full use, physical and mental health, and genetic factors.

Medications Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment for Heroin Detoxification

Medication-Assisted Treatment is the process of utilizing medications to aid with withdrawal symptoms. There are a few medications that are FDA approved to be used for the treatment of Heroin use.

Methadone

Methadone (brand name Dolophine and Methadose) is an opioid agonist. (3) It is taken orally and is slow acting. It works by reducing withdrawal symptoms. Methadone has been used since the 1960s to help treat heroin use disorder.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone (brand name Vivitrol) is an opioid antagonist. (4) It works by blocking the effects of heroin, while not being addictive. Naltrexone received FDA approval in 2010.

Suboxone

Suboxone is the combination of Naloxone and Buprenorphine. (5) It is taken orally. It works by blocking the receptors in the brain that crave heroin. Suboxone was approved by the FDA in 2013.

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine (brand name Subutex) is a partial opioid agonist. (6) It works by reducing cravings for heroin without producing a high. Buprenorphine was approved by the FDA in 2002.

What Is the Most Common Form of Treatment for Opioid Dependence?

Medication-Assisted treatment is often the first line of treatment for heroin recovery and other opioids. The use of methadone, specifically, is the most common treatment for opioid use disorder. (7)

How Long Are Heroin Detox & Addiction Treatment Programs?

Length of heroin rehab depends on an individual’s severity of addiction. Some individuals may only need to attend a treatment facility for a few days, while others attend for several months.

Dual Diagnosis & Co-Occurring Disorders That May Accompany Heroin Addiction

Oftentimes, those experiencing substance use disorders also have mental health diagnoses which occur simultaneously. Guardian Recovery offers dual diagnosis options to help treat both substance use and mental health disorders.

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What Are the Medical Treatment Options for Heroin & Opioid Addiction?

In addition to medicated-assisted treatment, different psychotherapy options can be used as treatment for heroin and opioid use disorders. Depending on the level of addiction, one or multiple levels of treatment may be utilized.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation programs allow individuals to receive around the clock care. Individuals reside 24/7 at treatment facilities, following structured schedules. Therapeutic sessions such as individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy are attended, as well as life skills training.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is a lower level of care compared to inpatient rehab programs. Individuals attend sessions weekly, biweekly, or monthly depending on their specific treatment needs. Additionally, individuals reside at their own private homes when attending outpatient programs.

Partial Hospitalization Program

Partial hospitalization programs are often attended after an individual completes an inpatient stay and before attending an outpatient program. Individuals reside at a sober living facility, or at their private homes. When attending a partial hospitalization program, an individual often attends their scheduled activities 5 or 6 days a week.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Intensive outpatient programs allow individuals to resume their normal activities outside of treatment. Treatment is attended approximately 3 to 5 days a week. Individuals reside at a sober living facility or at their private homes. These programs usually last about 60 days.

Virtual & Online Treatment & Counseling

Since COVID-19, virtual treatment, or telehealth, has become increasingly popular. When attending virtual counseling, individuals have the luxury of attending sessions at their personal home on an electronic device such as a computer, laptop, or smartphone. Many individuals enjoy the flexibility that comes along with virtual treatment.

Behavioral Treatment Methods & Therapies Use in Heroin Addiction Treatment

There are different forms of therapy and therapeutic modalities used in heroin addiction treatment. Each one has their own advantages and goals while providing individuals with psychoeducation.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT,  is a form of talk therapy that focuses on helping an individual develop healthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT is effective not only in the treatment of substance use disorders, but also for other diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a form of talk therapy that focuses on helping individuals learn healthy emotional regulation, coping, and interpersonal skills while also learning how to replace unhealthy behaviors. DBT was originally used to help treat borderline personality disorder, but now it is used for the treatment of substance use disorders, anxiety, depression, and more.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing, of MI, is a form of talk therapy where a licensed clinician helps foster an individual’s motivation to change. MI can be used for various different treatments, though it is primarily used to help treat substance use.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is the process of working one-on-one with a licensed clinician in order to develop adaptive coping strategies, overcome personal challenges, and work through any unresolved issues. CBT, DBT, and MI are treatment modalities that are often utilized in individual therapy. Individual therapy can help individuals get to the root of their substance use problems, and develop skills to maintain sobriety.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is similar to individual therapy, however it involves multiple clients. Group therapy is an important part of substance use treatment as getting to hear the perspectives of one’s peers is beneficial.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is the process of an individual and their family attending therapy sessions together. Family therapy helps improve familial relationships, communication skills, and it targets family norms that may be contributing to or enabling an individual’s substance use.

Sober Living, Aftercare, & Long-Term Recovery

Following treatment, individuals may live in sober living facilities, or transitional homes. Guardian Recovery offers aftercare planning to continue to help individuals following their discharge from a treatment facility and to foster long-term recovery.

Relapse Prevention Training & Services for Heroin Addiction

Guardian Recovery offers relapse prevention training to help individuals continue their substance free lifestyles long-term. Learning and understanding the steps associated with relapse prevention training can help individuals maintain their sobriety. Resources such as 12-Step Immersion and Narcotics Anonymous are additional helpful services for those experiencing heroin addiction. (8)

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Our Simple Admissions Process

Contact Guardian Recovery today if you or someone you know is in need of heroin treatment. Our simple admissions process will make initiating your recovery as easy as possible. A free, no obligation insurance benefits check can be provided upon your request. Contact us today to speak with one of our Treatment Advisors and to get started.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/scope-heroin-use-in-united-states
  2. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/scope-heroin-use-in-united-states
  3. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-treatments-heroin-use-disorder
  4. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-treatments-heroin-use-disorder
  5. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-treatments-heroin-use-disorder​​
  6. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-treatments-heroin-use-disorder
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010349/#:~:text=Methadone%20maintenance%20therapy%20is%20the,although%20other%20treatments%20are%20available.&text=Despite%20the%20reported%20benefits%20of,use%20illicit%20opioids%20is%20high.
  8. https://na.org/?ID=IsNAForMe-content

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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