What are the Treatments for Heroin Addiction?

What are the Treatments for Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug, and we understand that quitting it isn’t as easy as simply willing yourself to. Even if you want desperately to quit, chances are you’ve tried and the withdrawal process proved to be too much. And if that happened, it’s okay: you still have a chance to recover successfully.

If you’re physically dependent on heroin, you may need to attend a detox facility before transferring into a treatment program. Once your body is substance-free, the real healing can begin.

Staying off of heroin requires you to treat the conditions in your life that caused you to use it in the first place. This is what happens in intensive inpatient programs like the 30-day heroin addiction treatment offered at The Sanctuary. A variety of therapies might be used throughout your treatment process, depending on where you go and what your individual needs are. The main categories these fall into are:

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Holistic therapies
  • Support groups

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, replaces heroin with a synthetic opioid that you can then taper off of via a prescribed schedule. This controversial therapy has its pros and cons.

MAT uses opioid medications like Suboxone, Subutex, and Sublocade. Each of these contains some combination of opioids and opioid blockers – the problem being that they’re all narcotic. It’s possible to abuse these drugs, and many people do.

MAT, however, can help people physically stabilize while they’re stepping down from heavy heroin use. And it may help some who need it to function better than they could in the midst of active addiction. But sometimes managing allows people to get by well enough to avoid committing to the recovery process. And often, MAT becomes just another way to continue opioid use – or adds another layer to the problem of addiction.

Whether you use MAT or not, what makes the difference in your ability to recover is how you deal with the issues underlying your heroin addiction. Physical dependency on heroin is a challenge, but the real work lies in addressing the deeper mental, emotional and spiritual causes of addiction. And if you want to truly change your life, you’ll need to learn how to change how you think and act.

Heroin Addiction Counseling

Most people who recover from heroin addiction find they need some form of psychotherapy. Addiction treatment counselors use a variety of therapies to help you understand what’s causing your addiction. Techniques such as those used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help you manage cravings, change your patterns and learn how to cope with challenges more effectively. Once the mental and emotional discomfort that drives heroin use isn’t as overwhelming, you’ll likely find that your urge to use subsides.

Treatment at The Sanctuary begins with an evaluation and consultation with a board-certified psychiatrist, who then works with your treatment team to design a personalized therapy plan for you. Psychotherapies we use include but aren’t limited to:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Acceptance commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Tension release exercises (TRE)
  • Depth psychology
  • Couples and family therapy

We recommend continuing therapy after rehab to support you through triggering times and keep up your personal growth. Even for those who aren’t dealing with active heroin addiction, therapy can be a great way to handle life’s challenges more effectively and maintain better mental health overall.

Holistic Therapies to Heal From Heroin

We’ve discussed therapies for treating heroin addiction on the levels of the body and mind, but full recovery requires that you also treat it on a soul level. This is where more diverse and creative approaches come into play. Therapies that are more experiential in nature allow you to access parts of you that talk therapy alone can’t reach. This is great, because the vast majority of your internal processes, including addiction, occur in your subconscious.

At The Sanctuary, we use an assortment of therapies to achieve this, like:

  • Eco-therapy: Immersion in nature calms your nervous system and helps you reconnect with the larger forces of life.
  • Creative therapies: Art, music, and storytelling allow you to engage and express parts of yourself that may have shut down during your addiction.
  • Visualization: Meditation, guided imagery, and energy-based journeys help you access subconscious answers to your problems and forge positive connections in your brain.
  • Ceremony: Rites of passage usher you from one phase of life into the next, using symbolism that your soul understands.
  • Bodywork: Hands-on therapies like massage and Reiki soothe and support you in dealing with intense emotions.

All of these are carefully woven into an integrated program to accelerate your healing progress and help you feel whole again.

Group Support for Heroin Recovery

Many people find group therapy especially beneficial during their treatment process. Facilitated by a psychologist, these groups allow you to explore new themes and process what you’re going through in the many aspects of your journey. Hearing others’ shared experiences, or simply voicing your own, is often enough to remind you that you’re not alone. In fact, your peers have likely felt very similar emotions, and are happy to offer their feedback and encouragement.

Support groups are also key after rehab, for keeping your recovery on track and fostering connections with a sober community. These can be more traditional groups like AA and NA, non-12-Step recovery groups, or other social groups based on a common interest. The type of group you choose is up to you; what’s important is that you build non-using relationships that make your life feel full.

At The Sanctuary, we see ourselves as a community, and we are so excited to welcome you into it. Contact us today to learn how to get started on your journey to an amazing, heroin-free life.