For a person who uses heroin, the only option to stop using the drug is often professional treatment. Without professional treatment, it can be incredibly difficult to kick heroin. The addiction to this drug is gripping and often takes over the life of the person using it and the people around them. If someone is looking for information for their loved one, or they personally need to seek treatment for heroin addiction, there are options. Learning more is the best first step to take.

Understanding Heroin Addiction

Before looking at the specifics of what happens during treatment for heroin, it’s valuable to know how this drug affects your brain and leads to addiction. When someone uses heroin, it binds to opioid receptors. The same receptors are stimulated when a person takes prescription opioid painkillers. The receptors play a role in how you sense pain. They also affect respiration, which is why respiratory depression can occur if someone overdoses.

The euphoric high people who use heroin feel when taking the drug results from a flood of brain chemicals that occur in response to the stimulation of these receptors. These are the same chemicals that are released naturally in the brain when a person feels happy or content. When heroin is used, these chemicals are released in much higher, unnatural amounts. Introducing a drug like heroin changes pathways in the brain, making the use of heroin compulsive. These neural changes explain why addiction to a drug of any kind is considered a chronic disease.

Characteristics of addiction include feeling out of control regarding of one’s drug use, engaging in compulsive behaviors, drug seeking, and continuing to use the drug despite negative consequences. Drug addiction is both a chronic disease and a relapsing disease. These are key reasons it’s essential to get professional, comprehensive treatment for heroin. Kicking heroin without professional treatment is almost always going to be an unsuccessful endeavor. Unfortunately, a person struggling with addiction may feel like kicking heroin is as simple as having the will to stop. As the brain is continually exposed to drugs over time, the substances increasingly affect reward, motivation, behavioral control, memory and learning.

Is Treatment for Heroin Addiction Possible?

When people research how to kick heroin, they might be looking for a quick fix or a way to do it on their own. Even if these methods work temporarily, they often lead to relapse. Successful addiction treatment requires that the person not only stops using heroin or other drugs but also remains drug-free. If a relapse does occur, it should be appropriately treated.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, certain elements need to be present for successful addiction treatment. The treatment approach should view addiction as complex but treatable. Addiction treatment should address the impact of heroin on the functionality of the brain as well as on behavior. The best heroin rehab centers will include a combination of counseling, behavioral and lifestyle therapies.

There are also medication-based options for people struggling with kicking heroin. One option is naltrexone, which isn’t a cure but can help reduce cravings for heroin and opioids. Medication-assisted treatment refers to a plan of treatment in which medications are used alongside counseling and behavioral therapies to help curb cravings. Heroin treatment centers should also look at each person as an individual and approach their treatment as such, while addressing other potential mental health issues that may exist.

What to Know About Heroin Rehab Centers

Heroin rehab centers come in many different forms, but most heroin treatment centers begin a patient’s treatment journey with a medically-supervised detox. Detox is an important stage because heroin withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, and it can be one of the biggest reasons people aren’t able to continue on successfully with the rest of their treatment plan.

During the treatment phase for heroin addiction, patients will participate in a variety of behavioral counseling opportunities. If necessary, they will be treated for co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression. Behavioral therapies at heroin treatment centers will typically help patients address triggers and factors that might have initially led to their addiction. Then, patients can move on to look at ways they can change their perspective and behaviors to avoid future drug use. Kicking heroin tends to require not only a period of time at a heroin rehab center, but also an in-depth aftercare plan to prevent relapse. There are many different heroin treatment centers, and they will often take different approaches to treatment and behavioral therapy.

Since heroin addiction is difficult and complex, treatment often requires inpatient treatment to begin, but outpatient treatment is also an option. During an outpatient program, a person will usually attend many intensive therapy sessions each week. Following that, they can move on to other outpatient programs held less frequently.

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction and is looking for a way to kick heroin, contact The Recovery Village. Our team specializes in the treatment of heroin addiction as well as in co-occurring mental health disorders and other substance abuse problems.

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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.