Which Type of Drug Rehab Program is Best for Heroin Addiction?

There are a number of different types of substance abuse treatment programs. With heroin being particularly difficult to overcome, let’s take a look at the best drug rehab programs for heroin addiction.

Heroin is one of the primary drugs behind the opioid epidemic that the United States has been wrapped up in for over twenty years. In fact, evidence shows that about 80% of people who use heroin actually started out using prescription opioids, hence heroin’s connection to the opioid epidemic in the United States. 

While all mind-altering drugs are addictive to one degree or another, heroin is a highly addictive substance because of how quickly users develop a tolerance. This creates the need for more frequent usage of the drug and the development of a substance use disorder (SUD).

Like all other forms of chemical dependency, heroin addiction is treated through a combination of medicine and behavioral therapies. Generally, the consensus is that long-term in-patient care or residential care yields the best results. However, outpatient rehab or teletherapy can be productive alternatives. 

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is not commonly used for heroin addiction. Most medical professionals will only recommend outpatient rehab if they know a patient well and know that the patient has a solid support network to keep them on the path to recovery.

Outpatient programs provide access to care while allowing patients to maintain their other responsibilities.

Outpatient rehab programs can be very robust. They often include on-site care in a hospital-like setting for a week or less to assist with withdrawal symptoms. Then for the remainder of treatment, the patient comes in for treatment and goes home. Many outpatient clinics are open 24/7, giving those in need access to the care while allowing them to maintain their other responsibilities simultaneously. 

People choose outpatient rehab for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lower costs
  • Flexible schedules
  • Ability to stay at home 
  • Insurance coverage

Outpatient rehab can vary in length, focusing on medical treatment and therapeutic intervention to address the root of the addiction. It can offer more flexibility in terms of payment and schedule. 

Long-Term Inpatient Rehab: 60-90 Days

Long-term inpatient rehab programs require patients to check themselves into a treatment center where they will receive 24-hour medical and mental health support. 

Often having completed a detox treatment program, the individual enters a long-term program to receive ongoing medical treatment for the underlying causes of addiction and to address any co-occurring medical issues. 

For the first part of the program, communication with the patient’s friends, family, and co-workers will be limited so he or she can focus on recovery. However, these longer-term programs often include family therapy in an effort to repair broken relationships. 

Benefits of Long-Term Inpatient Rehab 

  1. Increased Success Rate
    With an inpatient program, one doesn’t return home each evening to face the same environment in which the addiction occurred. With separation from the people, places, and situations related to addiction, the patient is better able to achieve and sustain his or her sobriety. 
  2. Staff & Peer Support
    Support of medically-trained staff aids with all stages of the recovery process. Additionally, the patient’s peers in recovery can lend understanding to what the patient is experiencing and offer support for his or her sobriety goals. 
  3. Supervised Structure
    There is a predictable structure for each day in a long-term treatment program. With continual supervision, the patient is always able to receive the form of support needed at a given moment. 
  4. Focused Environment
    Phone calls are limited and visits are monitored. The idea is to create a distraction and stress-free environment where the patient can recover and learn tools to succeed in the outside world.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug, which is why heroin addiction has shown to be exceptionally difficult to overcome. Longer-term programs afford more time to overcome the underlying cause(s) and effects of heroin addiction, increasing the likelihood of success in recovery. 

Long-Term Residential Rehab: 6-12 Months 

Residential rehab offers a blend of both inpatient and outpatient treatment. With residential treatment, one has around-the-clock access to therapy and support in a more comfortable and home-like environment. In fact, long-term residential rehab facilities are often designed more like an apartment complex, offering individual rooms and living spaces and community spaces where residents can meet and participate in treatment. 

Long-term residential rehab programs can run for six to twelve months and use a therapeutic community (TC) model. With a therapeutic community, the focus is on relocalizing the patient with a community comprised of staff and residents taking part. This model of drug rehab program focuses on helping the individual make lifestyle changes that support his or her recovery.

5 Characteristics of Therapeutic Communities

  1. Responsibility
    Focus on taking responsibility for one’s own recovery while being a supporter of others’ recoveries. Individuals become more accountable and responsible through the recovery process.
  2. Accountability
    Focus on accepting one’s struggle and holding peers accountable for behavior and actions fosters a more socially aware community. 
  3. Structure: Programs follow specific routines with clear patient expectations, focusing on working together. 
  4. Participation
    Participation is essential in TCs, meaning patients should be participating in group meetings, socializing with peers, and learning valuable life skills. 
  5. Safe Environment
    Patients are provided with a safe environment, free of temptations. 
  6. Education
    Patients have opportunities to learn valuable life and vocational skills that will allow them to find gainful employment and take care of themselves when treatment is completed. 

Although there are pros and cons to all substance abuse treatment programs, long-term programs provide individuals suffering from heroin addiction with ample support to overcome opioid addiction. Because as research shows, the longer the individual spends in a program receiving therapeutic support, the greater his or her chance of not experiencing a relapse. 

Our sober living programs are a great follow-up to heroin addiction treatment, whether long-term or short-term, inpatient or outpatient. If you or someone you love would like more information about Silicon Beach Sober Living, then call our toll-free number for assistance.

April 30, 2022

Adam Snyder


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