Last updated: 04/30/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Rehab for heroin addiction is incredibly necessary for certain individuals who would not be able to stop abusing the drug without professional help. But who needs this treatment program really, and what about people who don’t require such an intense option?
What Does Heroin Addiction Treatment Do?
As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications).” This program (and the many treatment options that make it up) is utilized to create a number of beneficial outcomes for heroin users. Successful rehab for heroin:
- Helps the individual stop abusing the drug
- Teaches the individual how to avoid relapse and further drug abuse in the future
- Treats any additional issues associated with one’s substance use, including physical and psychological problems
- Helps reintegrate patients into society, allowing them to live their lives more effectively and beneficially
The question remains, though: who actually needs this type of help, and why? And what is there for individuals who don’t actually need a rehab program in order to stop abusing heroin?
Who Needs Heroin Addiction Treatment?
Most people know that those who become addicted to heroin need professional treatment. And, unfortunately, the number of individuals who abuse the drug and wind up needing this type of help is considerably high, as the substance is particularly addictive. According to the NIDA, “It is estimated that about 23 percent of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it.” These are the individuals who
- Experience severe withdrawal symptoms whenever they try to stop using or cannot obtain more of the drug
- Are unable to stop taking the drug, even if they want to, and will do anything to get more
- Experience terrible consequences associated with their substance abuse (losing a job, losing relationships, severe financial issues, etc.) and still cannot stop
- Abuse the drug every day and cannot function without it
These individuals obviously need addiction treatment because, without it, they would likely be unable to stop using heroin. The drug has changed the way their brain works, and what was once a voluntary decision to abuse the substance no longer is (NIDA).
If you believe this is your situation, or you know someone else living a similar life of addiction, it is important to seek safe, professional treatment that caters to the needs of the addict right away. But these are not the only individuals who could possibly benefit from heroin rehab.
- Individuals who have already attended treatment and need a booster session or a longer, more involved aftercare option may want to return to rehab. In fact, a person is much more likely to have a successful recovery, especially from a drug as severe as heroin, if they attend long-term or repeated care options rather than only one program (NIDA 3).
- Those who have extremely severe dependencies on opioids but have only abused heroin a few times will still need treatment for opioid addiction. This does occur, and whether a person is a polyopioid abuser or a polydrug user who takes many different types of substances, they will need to receive treatment that considers all their substance use problems.
- Even those who are not fully dependent on and/or addicted to heroin may need rehab. Because the drug is so severe and causes such dangerous physical and psychological problems, anyone who abuses it should probably consider why they began that abuse in the first place and, if nothing else, be treated for any underlying mental health issues and be tested and treated for any medical problems that may have been caused by their heroin abuse.
Someone who does not need heroin addiction treatment (and can stop abusing the drug on their own) is rare, but this can occur. It is important, though, and much safer to attempt this under the care of a doctor and to ask friends and family members to help you go through the process. However, the longer you have been abusing heroin, the more likely you will be to need rehab.