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Holistic treatment options for heroin addiction

Lana Bandoim's picture

Have you considered using holistic treatment options to deal with addiction and restore your health?


Heroin addiction is a problem that is rampant in the United States and around the globe. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 9.2 million people in the world use heroin, and the death toll due to this drug continues to rise every day. Once a person has experienced the high that comes from doing heroin, they can only think about doing it again.

Heroin is a narcotic drug that is similar to morphine, which is widely used as a pain reliever in hospitals. It alters the brain to produce feelings of happiness, takes away pain and makes people feel as if they are completely relaxed. It is easy to get addicted to this drug, and it can be deadly.

Every time people use heroin, they are risking their lives. This is why it is essential to get users to stop, but withdrawal can be difficult. However, a multifaceted and holistic approach to treatment can help. The two most common treatment options are behavioral and pharmacologic, so they are often used together to get the best results.

Behavioral treatment

Behavioral treatment may involve staying at a residential treatment center, such as the Newport Academy, but it can be done outside of a center. Treatments like this can be handled in multiple ways. The idea behind them is to help provide reasons for people to not use and to help change their behaviors, so they are not tempted to use heroin.

They may learn how to cope with stress or how to avoid temptation. Often, they are taught how to spot signs that could trigger cravings. They discover new skills and change their mindset, so they can handle life without heroin. In addition, they learn how to look forward to a life without drugs and find behavioral incentives to stay motivated as they change their lifestyles.

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In behavioral treatment, the person with the addiction usually works with a counselor or therapist who is specifically trained to deal with drug addiction. The professional is familiar with how addiction works and how heroin affects a person on multiple levels, so he or she is able to understand the best approach to fighting cravings and preventing relapses. The therapy is usually centered on preventing further use while also helping the person to learn why they began using in the first place.

Pharmacological treatment

Pharmacological treatment may be better accepted by someone who is not sure they are ready to quit using heroin. This is because it involves drug replacement therapy. Essentially, the person is given drugs that will mimic the effects of heroin or block the effects of the drug and help prevent withdrawal symptoms. The most common medications that are used are either agonists, partial agonists or antagonists. They can help addicts stay on course as they focus on rebuilding their lives and restoring their health.

However, pharmacological treatment can be problematic by itself, especially if there is no further follow-up with the addicted person after treatment begins. It is easy for the person to simply switch their addiction to the new medication. If at some point, they cannot get access to the treatment drug, they may simply go back to using heroin, which defeats the whole point of treatment in the first place. Although the drugs that are used are legal, they can create issues without proper guidance. This is why it is usually best to combine pharmacological treatment with behavioral treatment and rely on a holistic approach to addiction.

Finding the right balance

When it comes to treating heroin addiction, it is important to recognize the difficulties that are created by the nature of the drug. Some type of structured treatment is needed to ensure a person becomes drug-free and stays this way. Since this addiction is both psychological and physical, it helps to use multiple holistic approaches that address both sides of the addiction problem.

In addition, in order to become free from heroin, a person has to be willing to change. They have to want to stop forever. It cannot be forced on them. If they do not want to mentally commit to stopping the use of this drug, then no type of treatment can help them. However, when a person does want to quit and is willing to put effort into getting clean, the treatment can save his or her life.

Heroin is a serious, global problem. It is a struggle for many communities who are losing members every day because of heroin overdoses. However, many treatments are available, so if you know someone who is struggling with an addiction to this drug, you want to reach out to them and get help before they become another heroin death statistic.