Heroin is a synthetic opioid illegal in most places in the world. Heroin works the same way as prescription opioids by interacting with opioid receptors in the brain.
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How is Heroin Addiction Treated?
At first, the effects of heroin use feel good. However, over time, the euphoria fades. People start using heroin to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Heroin addiction can be difficult to treat, and some people need rehab to treat the addiction successfully. During the initial stages of rehab, withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable and this is part of the reason why heroin users seek out and continue using the drug.
After the initial detox, symptoms may become milder but might last for months or years. Different treatments are necessary to help with side effects and cravings:
- Pharmacological Treatments: Prescription drug treatments treat symptoms of withdrawal and symptoms of opioid use disorder (OUD).
- Behavioral Therapy: Two popular forms of behavioral treatment are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM). CBT is similar to standard therapy and focuses on modifying expectations and behaviors related to drug use. CM is less common and is a voucher system where people are rewarded items or prizes based on clean urine drug screens.
- Combination Therapy: A combination of pharmacological and behavioral therapy. Most people will need a combination of these types of therapies.