Heroin addiction treatment has become a public-health necessity in recent years. It is the process through which patients who are addicted to heroin overcome their dependency, find their way to recovery, and rebuild their lives. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that from 2005 to 2015, there was a 600 percent increase in annual heroin overdose deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that heroin abuse has doubled among Americans eighteen to twenty-five. Heroin is one of the most addictive and dangerous illicit drugs.
Over half a million Americans are battling heroin addiction, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The drug affects practically every portion of the United States, from teenagers to young adults to senior citizens, and has grown in popularity over the past few decades. Heroin addiction is, by all accounts, a medical disease that requires long-term care just like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer.
Effective heroin addiction treatment must address the physical and behavioral aspects of the disease. The two essential elements of quality treatment include:
At the start of heroin addiction treatment, patients can expect to feel a variety of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. By the time addiction takes hold, the body has become dependent on the drug to feel normal, and users are forced to use higher dosages at more frequent intervals to feel the same effects they experienced during their first time using. Heroin withdrawal is divided into three stages: early, acute, and protracted.
These symptoms should be managed by a team of medical experts who are trained in treating heroin and opiate withdrawal and who can intervene in case of a medical emergency.
Patients have a variety of options when seeking quality heroin addiction treatment. Multiple types of programs cater to a prospective patient’s care needs, lifestyle, and history of substance abuse. The most common types of heroin addiction treatment programs include:
IOP and regular outpatient treatment programs are significantly more affordable than their inpatient counterparts. Costs of programs will vary according to each facility’s resources, staff, and scope-of-treatment services. There are also longer-term programs that can last for months or even years.
Several types of medications are available to help eligible recovering heroin users reduce their cravings and mitigate their withdrawal symptoms, including:
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated buprenorphine and methadone as “essential medicines,” and NIDA says that MAT increases social functioning and retention in treatment while decreasing opioid use, opioid-related overdose deaths, criminal activity, and infectious disease transmission.
MAT is not meant to replace any other aspect of treatment and should be deployed alongside behavioral care services like counseling and group therapy. Eligibility for MAT will be determined by the patient’s physician or treatment provider.
Heroin addiction has become a pervasive and deadly public health issue with more and more Americans dying each year. To that end, legislators, clinicians, and other stakeholders are taking more and more steps to make treatment more affordable and accessible to patients who need it. States use Medicaid dollars and other means to fund state-run treatment facilities, and employer-based health insurance plans usually cover at least partial expenses for inpatient treatment. The admissions staff at your prospective treatment facility will offer comprehensive information on your options for paying for your treatment and help you determine if any assistance is available.
The one thing you can’t afford to do is wait to get heroin addiction treatment. The longer heroin abuse continues without intervention, the more vulnerable you become to overdose. There are more options than ever to help you overcome heroin and rebuild your life. Rely on your support system to help you find a program that works best for your care needs and lifestyle. Whether you need inpatient, outpatient, IOP, or long-term treatment, the important thing is to start the process of reaching out for treatment. Get the help you need now.
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