[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”HEROIN RECOVERY” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]While all addictions are a challenging to quit and leave behind for good, heroin is often considered the most difficult of all addictions to recover from. Even years after last using, some previous addicts report on still feeling cravings to use. Resisting relapse takes a lot and strength and courage. But what is involved in recovery from a heroin addiction?
Going ‘cold turkey’, meaning to stop taking the substance totally rather than gradually cutting down. It gets its name from one of the withdrawal symptoms of coming off heroin where the skin literally looks like a cold turkey due to suddenly feeling cold chills. This first stage in the recovery process is referred to as a detox, where the body detoxifies from the substance.
A prescription of methadone or buprenorphine helps to minimise withdrawal symptoms. They are analgesic drugs which are similar to morphine so act as a substitute for heroin without causing the ‘high’. The effects of methadone are long-acting, and usually only 1 is taken a day. Users may be dependent on methadone but not addicted, in a similar way that people with chronic illnesses may be dependent on their medication to keep them feeling well. Unfortunately there are some myths surrounding methadone use which can put people off using it or being open about it. Myths such as methadone damages teeth and bones, or that it can make you sterile can quickly be debunked. A little research can put to rest many of these worries about methadone. Sometimes people can feel like they’re doing something wrong by taking methadone, but generally methadone is a safe and positive way to help recover from a heroin addiction.
Behavioural treatment can be undertaken in either a residential or outpatient setting depending on what is best for the individual. Approaches such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioural therapy have been shown to effectively treat heroin addiction. Contingency management uses a voucher-based system in which patients earn “points” based on negative drug tests. These points can be used to purchase items related to healthy living. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps to help modify a person’s cognitions and behaviours relating to their drug use and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors which may trigger drug use.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]