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Heroin Addiction Treatment: Know Your Options

By Zawn Villines
Heroin addiction can be deadly, but it doesn’t have to be. The right treatment can save your life.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,128 people overdose on opioids including heroin every day in the United States. For many, prescription opioids to treat chronic pain or serious injury are the gateway to this dangerous addiction. 

Heroin is both physically and psychologically addictive. This means that a person seeking sobriety can expect to experience physical withdrawal such as headaches and nausea, as well as psychological distress. The best heroin treatment options address both groups of symptoms. 

Inpatient Heroin Treatment

Inpatient heroin treatment offers comprehensive support that includes medical care for the physical symptoms of withdrawal, psychological support, and a safe and drug-free environment. For people with the most severe addictions, as well as those with a history of relapse, inpatient care may be the most effective option. 

“Medication assisted treatment that includes medications such as suboxone or methadone coupled with intensive treatment and family therapy has the lowest relapse rate for heroin addiction,” Dr. Irene Little, a family therapist specializing in addiction, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “The entire family is impacted by addiction and therefore the family needs to be offered support and tools in recovery just as much as the individual addicted to the substance.”  

Outpatient Heroin Treatment

Outpatient treatment can be a good option for people who are able to maintain a safe and drug-free environment at home, especially if they have demanding careers or cannot afford inpatient care. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, outpatient care options include: 

  • Therapy: Therapy can help you develop new skills for dealing with stress and cravings. It may also help you identify the emotions that led to your addiction. For example, some people use drugs to manage depression or trauma. 
  • Support groups: Support groups offer fellowship and help from other addicts. Most, such as Narcotics Anonymous, follow a step-based model that encourages you to work through the program over time. 
  • Medical care: In addition to medical detox support, medical care for underlying conditions may help ease recovery. People who began using heroin or other opioids to cope with chronic pain, for example, may need alternative treatment. 
  • Comprehensive outpatient treatment: Similar to inpatient care, comprehensive outpatient treatment offers therapy, medical support, group support and more, usually in the form of daily treatment. It’s a good option if you need significant care but cannot commit to residential treatment. 

Get Help Now

Heroin addiction is treatable. You do not have to suffer alone. And while you might think you can’t be happy without heroin, that’s the addiction talking. Heroin addicts recover every day, and go on to lead healthy and meaningful lives. You can, too. WebMD Connect to Care specialists are standing by now to help.

Life After Treatment: General Information