If you are struggling with heroin addiction and are looking to get clean, you need to understand there is a process that leads towards rehabilitation. While drug treatment and aftercare are the rehab step most talk about, there are important steps you need to take before you physically walk through the door of a treatment facility. The following are the steps you need to take in order to make rehabilitation from heroin a steppingstone for long-term recovery.
First, you need to fully understand with your mind and heart that you are fully in the grip of heroin addiction and are truly ready to get help. There is a stage called “precovery” that addicts go through when they first quit drugs. This stage happens when an addict finally becomes dissatisfied with being an addict and are ready to quit.
If you find yourself wholly dissatisfied with being a heroin addict and are ready to act, you need to weigh the pros and cons of your life right now. Take time and write down the benefits of using heroin versus the disadvantages of using heroin—be candid and honest. When you find that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, you are ready to take the next step.
The second step of heroin rehab is to learn about the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting heroin. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are painful and uncomfortable to endure. For those who have successfully rehabbed from heroin addiction, they describe it as the worst flu imaginable. The most common withdrawal symptoms include:
These withdrawal symptoms can be more severe if there are underlying medical issues or if you are also addicted to other substances. When you learn about heroin withdrawal symptoms in this way, you can better prepare yourself when you start quitting the drug.
Thirdly—and perhaps most importantly—you need to find a reputable medical detoxification service. Medical detox allows you to gradually wean off of heroin and are in an environment where the withdrawal process becomes more tolerable. In detox, experienced personnel will prescribe medications such as Suboxone and buprenorphine to lessen the discomfort of the withdrawal process. During detox, treatment staff will also conduct a thorough medical evaluation to pinpoint any issues that can complicate recovery. If any issues are uncovered, the staff will help create a specialized treatment program to tackle those issues.
It is important to note, that detox is not treatment! While detox will help you look and feel better, you will relapse quickly if you don’t take the time to uncover and address the root causes of your addiction. Additionally, do not attempt self-detoxification. While it may be cheaper and some may have had success, these methods may do more harm than good. If you have medical issues or are addicted to other substances, self-detox can put your health and life at risk.
Once you have completed detox, the next step is residential treatment. During your stay in treatment, staff will create a specialized treatment plan that fits your unique needs. Your plan will include:
In addition to residential treatment, you may also want to look at aftercare treatment options such as intensive outpatient treatment and sober living. These programs focus on relapse prevention and will help you hone those prevention skills you need to stay sober.
As you can see, heroin rehab begins before you consider formal treatment. If you need help or have questions on what rehab options are right for you, contact an addiction professional today.
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