Does Heroin Rehab Work?

Heroin is a highly addictive opiate. While there are legal opiates, including morphine and other painkillers, heroin has always been unregulated. Heroin users generally inject the drug, and can often suffer from infection and ulcers at those injection sites.

Does heroin rehab work? Yes, but the work of rehab starts with a tough detox and includes intense withdrawal symptoms. No matter the origin of your opiate use, the use of heroin can increase your risk of damage from several directions. Sharing needles can spread many drugs, including HIV> The purity of the drug may be questionable, leaving you at risk of toxins and dangerous fillers. Finally, the challenging detox from heroin can keep you from starting the rehab process.

Tapering Off May Be a Start

There are medications that you can take that will lessen the severity of the physical withdrawal symptoms. Drugs like methadone prevent your opiate receptors from crying out for the drug, but give you no high at all. However, if you’ve been avoiding heroin rehab because you’ve had rough withdrawal experiences, you may find that methadone can give you a modicum of control and make an effective detox more likely.

As you begin to taper off with drugs such as methadone, you may be ready to move into detox. You do need to be aware that ultimately you will also need to taper off your methadone dosages to be free of opiate cravings altogether. However, since these medications only block receptors and don’t flood your brain with dopamine, you may find that your dopamine receptors start to come back online even while you still have methadone in your system.

Physical Detox & Rehab

During physical detox, your symptoms may be severe. You may struggle with

  • diarrhea and nausea
  • chilling and flushing
  • muscle cramps and sweating

Your detox symptoms may kick in within about 8 hours of stopping the drug. It is critical that you do not try to detox from heroin alone. Dehydration is a serious risk and it can impact the function of your heart.

Should you lose consciousness during a bad bout of nausea, you could aspirate on vomit and suffocate. As possible, try to keep drinking water so you can avoid an IV. Maintaining your fluid levels will protect you from blood pressure drops and hopefully help you avoid passing out. As you become steadier on your feet, you can bathe and feel cleaner despite the sweats.

Mental Detox & Rehab

The process of detox will also make you irritable. You may say things to the people around you that they don’t deserve. This is one of the many reasons you should never detox in the company of a loved one; you may do permanent harm to the relationship and put you and them in physical danger. As the detox progresses, you may start to feel a bit more like yourself. As you move into rehab, you can start working with counselors and professionals who can help you make good decisions about your future.

There is no guarantee that rehab will work forever. However, if all you do is put yourself through the anguish of detox without working on your underlying emotional and mental health issues, your chance of a relapse will go up. The work of rehab is about rebuilding your life around other goals than access to heroin. Because the craving for opiates in general and heroin in particular is so strong, it is entirely possible that you may have lost touch with loved ones.

As you dig further into the work of rehab, you may regain access to family members who are healthy enough to help you join in family counseling. If family counseling is not a good option at this time, you will certainly be able to participate in private therapies and in group meetings with your fellow rehab clients. Depending on the time you will be in rehab, you may actually be able to help out other residents who are just transitioning from detox to the first steps of rehab. You may find great comfort in helping others. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 844-639-8371.

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