Heroin withdrawal symptoms are an agonizing ordeal–if you try to handle them by yourself, that is. If you’re willing to accept the help of others, your withdrawal period will be far more bearable.
If you’re wondering where to start, we can help. We’ve listed the 3 major tips for managing heroin withdrawal in detail below. Specifically, it’s a list of all the help you’ll need when recovering from a heroin addiction.
You may disagree with these steps or have your own ideas of how you’d like your treatment to go. But isn’t going it alone what got you into this in the first place?
If you truly want a successful recovery, it begins with giving up control and relying on others. Start by seeking the help you need according to this list.
1. Get Professional Help
The first thing you must do to get clean is to get an assessment by drug rehab professionals. Licensed medical professionals who specialize in drug rehab are the only ones who can prescribe a proper withdrawal management strategy.
They’ll describe your various treatment options, their predicted rates of success, and which strategies are best for your situation.
Even if you’re set on detoxing at home rather than an inpatient setting, you must still go in for an intake assessment. There you can negotiate a personalized treatment plan with the doctor.
Further, you must keep medical professionals in the loop regardless of if you decide to detox at home. You’ll still need their ongoing help as you voyage the uncharted waters of life without heroin.
Rehab professionals will track the treatment’s success, monitor your mental and physical health, and assess your fluctuating needs during this life readjustment.
It’s always best to detox in an inpatient setting.
Inpatient care provides the cleanest, safest environment for detox. You’ll have no heroin available during inpatient care so there’s no chance of relapse while detoxing. You’ll have a much higher chance of a successful detox in a professionally controlled inpatient setting.
If you do need anything at all during your debilitating withdrawal period, it will be provided for you. You’ll be offered medication that can relieve your physical symptoms and cravings. And you’ll be provided expert counseling or therapy for mental or mood-related symptoms.
Most of all, this makes inpatient care your safest option. If the mental or physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal put you in any kind of physical danger, the surrounding doctors and healthcare professionals will immediately come to your aid.
By checking into a rehab center, you acquire a team of dedicated health professionals who will monitor the progress of your treatment and offer personalized assistance through the entire process.
Most importantly, full recovery from heroin addiction takes more than detox treatment. That’s only the first week. Learning how to cope without heroin and how to prevent relapse may require additional treatment for months or years to come.
After detox, you’ll likely need training on coping strategies through cognitive behavioral therapy or other psychotherapeutic treatment. You may also benefit from long-term medication-assisted treatment with drugs like methadone or naltrexone. And most recovering addicts enjoy the understanding and encouragement that comes from engaging with a support group.
Checking into a rehab clinic links you to all the services you’ll need for ongoing recovery treatment.
2. Get Support
As we’ve just pointed out, heroin detox should never be managed alone. And, in addition to medical professionals, it’s also important to get support from more personal relationships.
When you know someone cares about you personally, you truly believe they want what’s best for you. Because of this, you’ll care about their feelings as well.
The support of such a person during your recovery adds meaning and significance to this struggle. Their love and compassion will carry more weight than the impersonal words of your physician.
Friends and Family
Ideally, the deep personal connections you’ve already made (i.e., friends and family) are the best choice for personal recovery support. Unfortunately, a history of drug abuse often makes this problematic.
It’s very often that one’s drug abuse habits have a hurtful impact on one’s family. An addict may steal from their family to pay for a fix.
They may lie to their family and say they’ve cleaned up and need a place to stay. Then they continue the abuse and bring their dangerous habit with them into the home.
Such family relationships may be too damaged for the time being to offer appropriate detox support.
Any of your friends who are still abusing heroin or other drugs are also not a suitable choice for personal support. Even if they’ve already cleaned up or are receiving detox at the same time you are, your memories of past drug use with this person can trigger cravings and make staying clean more difficult.
Like it or not, this person is now automatically associated with your past drug abuse habits in your mind. Seeing them during detox or other early stages of your recovery may make things more challenging.
But if you do have any sober friends and family you’ve never used with before, and they’re willing, invite them to support you.
If you know no one who fits the above description, there’s still hope.
Narcotics Anonymous and other support groups like it exist to help recovering addicts make new relationships that can support them. And since the members of these groups share your struggle, they may be more understanding than any of your friends or family anyway.
You will all help each other and share genuine care and compassion for one another. Together, you will belong to something significant, something even bigger than your own recovery. And that’s a big deal.
3. Assess Co-Occurring Disorders
Here’s another reason why professional help is essential to the success of your recovery. And it’s one that’s far too often overlooked.
When receiving your intake assessment, the doctors may discover an underlying mental health disorder co-occurring with your heroin addiction. This phenomenon is usually referred to as a dual diagnosis. And knowledge of any such co-occurring disorders is crucial in providing you effective treatment.
For one thing, the underlying mental health disorder could be the main reason you were self-medicating with heroin. The separate conditions of a dual diagnosis both feed off of and strengthen each other in this way.
If the addiction is treated while the other disorder remains untreated, any progress you make in addiction recovery is unlikely to last. The other condition will continue to cause cravings to self-medicate and usually result in relapse.
Secondly, certain heroin withdrawal treatments could negatively affect the other condition.
If you have or suspect you have any co-occurring disorder, make sure you get co-occurring treatment for it as well. Talk to your rehab doctor about dual diagnosis treatment.
Get Help For Heroin Withdrawal
Maybe you can detox without help. But why would you? Why wouldn’t you accept the help that’s offered you?
There are so many of us who want to help you. You have no reason to try and do this alone.
If you truly want to be clean, you’ll take any steps necessary to increase your chances of success. If you’re ready to quit, seek the above help for heroin withdrawal.
For related help, read your guide to understanding addiction treatment options.