Rehab Options for Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an extremely addictive (and illegal) opioid with the potential to cause serious health issues, social problems, and deadly overdose.1 Fortunately, heroin addiction can be treated.2 This article will describe different treatment options for heroin use disorder in hopes of helping you or your loved one seek help for your addiction.

If you are ready to get help or have a loved one who needs help for a heroin use disorder, one of our admissions navigators can speak with you and help you get connected and started on the path to recovery by calling . We accept most major insurances and develop treatment plans that support each person’s situation.

How Do You Treat Heroin Addiction?

If you are struggling with a heroin use disorder, there are many treatment options available that can be tailored to your individual needs. While treatment plans will vary, depending on the individual, the first step of heroin use disorder treatment involves medical detox. The goal of medical detox is to help you safely withdrawal from heroin while administering medications in a supervised setting in order to minimize the withdrawal side effects, reduce cravings, and create a transition into further treatment.3,4

After completing medical detox, there are multiple treatment options along the continuum of care for heroin use disorder. Some of the treatment options available include inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, behavioral therapies in both individual and group formats, medication-assisted treatment (medication used with counseling), mutual support groups, and more.1, 3 Many individuals utilize several treatment options at once to ensure they get adequate support to stay in recovery.5

AAC continuum of care

Medical Detox for Heroin

When you make the decision to stop using heroin, you most likely will experience withdrawal symptoms which can be uncomfortable and even painful. Withdrawal occurs in individuals who are dependent on their drug of abuse.1Heroin withdrawal lasts about 3-5 days and tends to mimic a very awful flu, with symptoms such as runny nose, fever, muscle and bone pain, and vomiting.4,6

Although heroin withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, heroin withdrawal is usually not dangerous. However, serious complications can occur. For example, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can be a consequence of the vomiting and diarrhea that are commonly occur during heroin withdrawal.4

The severe flu-like symptoms combined with strong persistent heroin cravings make quitting without help very difficult. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends medical oversight and the use of medication to manage withdrawal symptoms from opioids, including heroin.4

While in a medical detox environment, medical professionals will assess your symptoms multiple times a day and continuously tailor your care.4 Medication types and dosages will be reviewed and adjusted regularly to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.4 If you have any pre-existing medical or mental health concerns, detox treatment professionals will be equipped to help manage any complications that could arise as a result of these co-occurring conditions in the presence of heroin withdrawal.4

Heroin cravings and negative emotional and mental tendencies often occur long after acute withdrawal symptoms subside.7 Continued treatment is recommended to give you the tools and strategies to handle cravings, triggers, and other persistent symptoms that may arise during your recovery journey.5

Types of Rehab for Heroin Addiction

After detox, treatment for heroin addiction may take place in one of the following settings:5

  • Inpatient or residential rehab: In these settings, you live at the treatment center and have access to rehab professionals 24/7. This can be a good option for someone whose home life is not conducive to a drug-free lifestyle or who has a more severe addiction and needs around the clock monitoring.
  • Outpatient rehab: In this setting, you would live at home and go to treatment sessions on a specific schedule throughout the week. There are intensive programs that meet nearly every day and lower-intensity programs that meet less often but still on a regular basis. The intensity of the outpatient program depends on the individual’s treatment needs and support system. Outpatient rehab can be a good option for someone who has a good amount of support at home, or who has already gone through an inpatient program and is stepping down into less intensive treatment.

Specific treatment modalities often include:3,5,8

  • Individual counseling. This involves working one-on-one with a counselor, typically using behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management. These help people understand their drug use and build skills to prevent or handle a relapse.
  • Group therapy. Similar to individual therapy, group therapy involves various methods that help people build a lifestyle and mindset that help them avoid drug use. This form of treatment can offer peer reinforcement and positive motivation.
  • Family therapy. Incorporating the family in a treatment program is a way to help families adjust their home environment and family dynamics in a way that’s conducive to recovery.

Medications Used for Opioid Addiction Treatment

Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is a treatment approach that combines medication with therapy and behavioral treatments.9 The use of FDA-approved MAT has been shown to help people complete treatment and decrease the likelihood of relapse.10 Opioid MAT medications include: 10,11

  • Methadone.
  • Buprenorphine.
  • Naltrexone.

Depending on your stage of recovery, these medications may be given to assist in the detox process or as part of a long-term treatment plan to help you reach and maintain full recovery after going through the withdrawal phase.6

MAT is more effective when given in combination with behavioral therapy and counseling, as this is shown to provide a better foundation for recovery. 1

Why Is Treatment for Heroin Addiction So Important?

Getting treatment for heroin use disorder can help you prevent or minimize the many harmful short-term and long-term effects of heroin addiction, which include but are not limited to:1,12

  • Heart infections.
  • Collapsed veins (from injecting).
  • Swollen, pus-filled tissue (from injecting).
  • Damaged nasal tissue (from snorting/sniffing).
  • Pneumonia and other lung problems.
  • Chronic constipation and abdominal pain.
  • Transmission of infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis.
  • Disease of the liver and kidneys.
  • Mental health problems, e.g., depression or antisocial personality disorder.
  • Overdose, which can cause coma, brain damage, and death.

Heroin addiction can lead to serious social issues such as job loss, involvement with the criminal justice system, the destruction of relationships, and financial turmoil.13,14 A heroin addiction can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Treatment works,15 and many people who have struggled with heroin addiction are now experiencing the joy of recovery because they made the decision to get help.

Treatment Services at AdCare

At AdCare, we offer treatment services spanning from medical detox to outpatient therapy. We’re here to provide you with top-quality care that is tailored for you.

Inpatient detox and rehabilitation programs at AdCare include a thorough intake process where we assess your unique needs and decide which treatments would best serve you. We will look at your substance use history, mental and physical health history, personal goals, and social support system. From there, we will develop a recovery plan designed just for you. In our inpatient programs, you will receive around-the-clock support and supervision. If you choose to enter into our detox program, you can have the peace of mind knowing that you will be monitored day and night and will receive the medical support needed to keep you as safe and comfortable throughout your withdrawal phase.

alumni group post rehab

Our inpatient services include a program designed for first responders and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. In this program, we ensure that participants have the specialized resources and peer support they need to recover from addiction. Topics include hypervigilance, trauma, pain management, and more.

Our outpatient rehabilitation programs offer patients the chance to receive the same quality addiction treatment with a greater deal of flexibility and personal freedom. These programs involve individual and group counseling, drug education, skills development, and independent study.

Start Your Journey to Recovery

We’re here to help you start the process. At AdCare, we address not just your drug use but also any co-occurring conditions, social, vocational, or other problems with which you may be struggling. At AdCare, we will equip you with the tools to navigate your road to recovery.

If you’re ready for help, you can call our confidential phone line to speak to an admissions navigator at any time at , or you can   to see if you’re covered for addiction treatment at AdCare.

Don’t let addiction take control of your life any longer. Call us today at to learn more about addiction treatment at AdCare. There are two inpatient AdCare facilities, one Massachusetts drug rehab, and one drug rehab center in Rhode Island. AdCare also offers outpatient treatment and has sister facilities across the United States as well. Call us today to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment options.

The Price of Not Getting Help
When contemplating the costs of addiction treatment for yourself, child, or loved one, consider the costs, or consequences, of “things as they are now.” What would happen if the substance abuse or addiction continued? Rehab doesn't have to be expensive. We accept a variety of insurances. Learn more below.