As a highly addictive and dangerous drug, heroin can become an extremely debilitating addiction. It gives almost immediate pleasure and a feeling of intense relaxation and euphoria. Still, the comedown, withdrawal symptoms and health risks are immensely unpleasant and harmful for both the body and mind. Thankfully, overcoming heroin addiction is possible, and Sanctuary Lodge provides a safe haven for those looking to start a new life without heroin.
Treatment for heroin addiction requires emotional support and expert guidance, and these are available to anyone who wants to make a change to their lifestyle. Sanctuary lodge and the team that make up our programme will help you every step of the way.
How Does Heroin Rehab Work?
Heroin addiction treatment works through a standardised system of detoxification and rehabilitation personalised to your specific needs. Detox is the first step after the initial assessment, and it is the process of cleansing your body from toxins. By withdrawing from the use of heroin within an inpatient detox centre, you experience the withdrawal symptoms in a safe and controlled environment surrounded by supportive staff to guide you through the process.
Once your body is cleansed from the drug, you start a programme of rehabilitation. Private inpatient rehab always includes counselling and evaluation with the added benefit of free aftercare. Our team of support workers, addiction nurses, and addiction therapists are there to help. During inpatient treatment, you experience rehab in an accommodated facility that protects you from the triggers and distractions of the outside world.
While detox addresses the bodily dependency on heroin, rehabilitation addresses the mental and emotional side of addiction. Through a range of therapies, you tackle the roots of abusive behaviour, discuss old harmful patterns, and learn to create new ones. This is a vital part of long-term recovery and relapse avoidance.
The first step of heroin addiction treatment is a medical assessment. It is a way to evaluate the current state and understand your existing health problems. This includes any mental health issues you might have that should be considered during treatment. The assessment is a way to ensure your safety during the rehab and recovery programme.
It is especially important to consider when deciding whether medication is required during detox, as withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and may have to be controlled using prescribed medication.
Heroin detoxification is the managed, planned and monitored withdrawal from the drug in order to cleanse the body of toxins and expel heroin from your system. The process is very demanding on both your mind and body as withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe. They may include restlessness, sleep problems, muscle and bone pain, cold flashes with goosebumps, diarrhoea and vomiting, uncontrollable leg movements, and strong cravings (1).
However, through every step of detox, you are carefully monitored by addiction specialists who manage your withdrawal symptoms in the best possible way to control pain and discomfort. In some cases, medication is used to support the process, which is called a medical detox and is one of the forms of withdrawal symptom management. It is not a way of treating heroin addiction but a way of handling the physical effects of the detox or as a substitute medication.
From the medical assessment, the support staff and addiction experts are aware of your health status and requirements and can guide you through the detox process in the most comfortable and appropriate way. Detoxing at a facility is the safest and most successful way to detox as you are closely monitored and less likely to relapse during the process. The length of detox depends on your personal history of heroin abuse but lasts at least for a few days.
Is Medication Provided to Manage Withdrawal?
Depending upon the assessment and needs of the individual, medication can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms during heroin detox. Opiate substitutes may be prescribed to manage cravings, such as methadone, which offers a milder form of euphoria to ease the withdrawal from heroin, the dose of which is then reduced over time so you can taper off from drugs completely.
Other drugs like buprenorphine, also known under its brand name Subutex, inhibit the impact of heroin and restrict the high, influencing the bodily reactions to heroin. Medication is sometimes used to manage symptoms like depression or anxiety, which can be triggered by withdrawal, or other co-occurring conditions of the addiction. The level of medical detox depends upon the assessment and is always closely monitored by addiction experts.
Psychotherapy plays an important role in heroin rehab, aiming to use psychological approaches to change abusive and addictive patterns of behaviour. Through learning and internalisation of different therapy methods, you can learn to notice certain triggers that influence the mental side of addiction and its destructive habits.
Talking is often used as a way to express these patterns and discuss how they can be turned into more positive behaviours for a healthier and happier lifestyle.
One method in this process is individual therapy, which allows you to work one-on-one with an addiction expert, who can focus solely on your needs and experiences. Different methods might be used in heroin addiction treatment. This usually comes in the form of CBT and DBT.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
CBT offers measurable goals to assess your progress in understanding and adapting your behaviour. This motivates you on the road to recovery but also helps you find techniques to apply to daily life.
Dialectical behavioural therapy
Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) also helps you to find the balance and recognise behavioural triggers and be less impulsive. It has more of a focus on meditation and is especially centred on the importance of supporting your personal progress and strengths as an individual. Group therapy is also important during treatment as it shows that your struggles are relatable to others and encourages a communal effort towards change.
Group therapy is a vital part of heroin rehab as it helps you relate to others’ experiences, triggers and worries. By exploring your own personal struggles with others, you will find new ways to tackle stress and become more accountable.
Relapse prevention is an important part of the steps after heroin rehab. It is a system of care, guidance and support that helps you obtain from slipping backwards. Returning to the everyday life after completing your rehab stay will be exciting and maybe a bit scary at first. To help you handle the initial discomfort, aftercare keeps you in touch with the supportive treatment system while you go about your daily life. Sanctuary Lodge offers twelve months aftercare counselling and group meetings and includes a personal care programme and regular therapist contact.
UKAT Alumni is a unique programme offered by the UKAT centres across the UK. It is a close-knit network of people who have received treatment in our centre or any other one of the UKAT facilities. It is a community of like-minded people in recovery who understand the difficulties of sober life and can support you while you’re going through similar experiences.
The Benefits of Heroin Rehab
There are multiple benefits of heroin rehab, the key one being the success of those who undergo it. Directly addressing the issues of behaviour and roots of addiction provides new outlooks and changes people’s lives. Experts know that longer-length treatment gives more successful results, and some studies suggest that at least three months in rehab are necessary for most addictions (2).
Heroin rehab is offered through either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient services provide accommodation, and you are surrounded by 24-hour support staff. During outpatient treatment, you continue to live your usual life with little to no changes in your daily routine.
- You can benefit from 24/7 support and medical staff on standby
- You are not distracted by the triggers of your usual routine
- You get away from the people who might be encouraging your addiction
- You undergo more intense and concentrated treatment
- You need to take a break from work or study
- You must adapt to your old environment when leaving rehab
- You can enjoy the comfort of your house and stay close to family
- You can stick to work or study commitments
- You will have to face the triggers of your daily life
- Your routine at home might distract you from your recovery
- You don’t have 24/7 access to staff and resources close-by
- You may have to wait days or even weeks to get services on the NHS
How Long Does Heroin Rehab Last?
The duration of rehab depends entirely on the individual. The amount of physical and mental dependence on heroin will vary from person to person. It is related to things like how long you have been using and how much of the drug is in your system. That is why we offer different treatment lengths, which can be decided depending on your personal needs and situation.
Longer stays in inpatient facilities also cost more money, which, however, shouldn’t be a factor in choosing your treatment. Studies show a direct link between the length of stay and the success of treatment. So a longer stay in heroin rehab is certainly more beneficial to recovery (2).
The Cost of Heroin Rehab
The cost of heroin rehab varies depending on factors like location, length of stay, types of treatment, and the luxury of a facility. For example, inpatient treatment will be more expensive as accommodation, and constant supervision from staff is provided. The longer you stay in a treatment centre, the higher the expense as facilities cater to your needs over a longer period of time.
The location also plays a role in finances as centres in areas of high living standards or in more beautiful or sought-after places will raise the costs. Also, some private rehabs, such as Sanctuary Lodge, offer a higher standard of services like gourmet meals, a fully equipped fitness space and tranquil gardens to help with your meditation. You may have the chance to use dedicated tennis courts alongside the standard therapy and detox services, which naturally cost more money.
Whatever the cost of rehab, the financial and physical benefits of recovery far outweigh continuing the dangerous and costly behaviour of heroin abuse. Heroin is an expensive, not to mention destructive, habit and rehab is a life-changing investment for a healthier and happier heroin-free future.
Your care doesn’t end as you walk out of the door. Recovery is an ongoing process. This is why we provide free aftercare.
Heroin Rehab FAQ
(1) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin. [Accessed 12 November 2019].
(3) https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/addiction-support/heroin-get-help/ [Accessed 12 November 2019].