Getting over heroin addiction on your own is not that simple. Many have tried to quit only to fall back into patterns of heroin abuse. This happens because addiction is a disease of the brain that requires professional treatment. Quitting on your own also exposes you to physical and mental health risks due to severe withdrawal symptoms including paranoia and depression.
Successfully getting over heroin addiction involves a strategic and comprehensive approach to treatment. The various steps to recovery typically include detoxification and stabilization, individual therapy, family therapy, and continuous efforts to remain clean long after rehab.
What You Need to Know About Heroin Addiction
Heroin is an illegal drug made from morphine which comes from the opium or poppy plant. It is a leading opiate, alongside cocaine and morphine, being abused by millions of men and women in the US. This substance is highly addictive even after one-time use. It is smoked, snorted or injected into a vein.
Once the person continues to use the drug, they are likely to develop a tolerance for it and eventually become addicted. People addicted to heroin show physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms. They include:
• Compulsively seeking the drug
• Overpowering cravings
• Denying the addiction
• Frequent use
• Increase in dose and tolerance level
• Aggressiveness or hostility
• Reckless behavior or poor judgment
• Withdrawal symptoms, e.g., anxiety or depression after a missed dose
• Difficulty keeping a job
• Withdrawal from social circles
Risks of Trying to End Heroin Addiction on Your Own
Ending heroin addiction on your own is not only dangerous, but also difficult. Underlying mental health issues are often associated with heroin addiction, for example, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Heroin abuse may also be linked to life problems, e.g., stress, involving work, family or personal relationships.
Persons attempting to self-treat may experience some of these severe, possibly life-threatening withdrawal symptoms:
• Irritability or restlessness
• Headaches or body aches
• Nausea and vomiting
• Anxiety and panic attacks
• High blood pressure
• Excessive sweating or cold sweats
Why Heroin Addicts Relapse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction relapse is likely. This is because addiction needs to be treated and continuously managed for recovery to be successful. Heroin addiction disrupts the normal functions of the brain, which is why it is called a disease of the brain. Once heroin use becomes ingrained in a person’s lifestyle, it makes it difficult for them to think logically and make good decisions.
Many people trying to quit on their own end up relapsing because they cannot withstand the severe and discomforting withdrawal symptoms. Dual diagnosis and treatment in the safe, supportive, and professional environment of a treatment center can help make recovery much easier.
Steps to Getting Over Heroin Addiction at a Treatment Center
Instead of trying to quit on your own, you should consider getting treatment at a rehab that provides heroin recovery programs and services. Depending on the severity of the addiction, you may need inpatient or outpatient treatment. The treatment plan typically involves the following steps:
1. Medically-Assisted Detoxification
Detox is the first step in heroin treatment. It is the process of getting the drug out of the body. Medically-assisted detox is supervised by a physician who may administer medications, e.g., naltrexone, to reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms. You may still continue to crave the drug since heroin addiction affects the brain. During this time, you may receive low doses of a prescription opioid drug, e.g., suboxone, to help maintain treatment as you gradually lose all cravings for heroin. These medications work to satisfy cravings while blocking the opioid receptors in the brain.
Individual or group psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), seeks to change the way a client thinks about heroin use. It aims to uncover underlying mental issues that trigger substance abuse. Clients are also taught coping skills to deal with life’s challenges and how to cultivate a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Skipping therapy after detox is not recommended since the risk of relapse increases when co-occurring problems associated with heroin addiction are left untreated.
3. Family Therapy
The National Drug Abuse Institute and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that family therapy be incorporated into the treatment plan for drug abuse. Studies show that involving family and loved ones in the systematic approach to treatment increases the chance of successful recovery. Family members can provide another layer of support, encouragement, and empathy needed to help the client beat addiction and stay sober after rehab.
4. Relapse Prevention
Relapse prevention means activating the coping strategies learned in therapy to avoid the environmental triggers of heroin abuse. You may think that a “quick hit” won’t hurt but remember one hit was all it took to get you hooked in the past. With a relapse prevention plan, you will be aware of the triggers and warning signs to help you steer clear of this addictive drug. Triggers include anxiety, frustration, fear, anger, stress, loneliness, peer pressure, or seeing the drug itself.
5. Continuous Support
Breaking heroin addiction is the first step to getting your life back. Staying clean is a life-long commitment. Having a support network that includes family, friends, therapist, and community groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide you with continuous support after leaving rehab.
Effectiveness of Heroin Addiction Treatment
Trying to end heroin addiction on your own increases the risk of relapse. It doesn’t mean you have failed. It means a step-by-step, systematic approach is more effective in ridding the drug from the body and treating underlying mental health problems that encourage heroin abuse.
A treatment center near you, in South Florida, may have comprehensive treatment programs that can help you break the addiction and return to your family, work, and community physically and psychologically functional. Their programs are designed to help you understand why you turn to drugs and how you can modify your thinking and behaviors to avoid drug use.
Treatment may also include family therapy to provide a neutral forum where you and your loved ones can address issues related to addiction and learn to work as a team to prevent it from recurring.
Your road to recovery from heroin addiction starts here. All it takes is a simple phone call to a treatment center that can change your life forever. Call us today at 866-802-6848,