Heroin addiction is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 5% of Americans have used heroin at least once in their lives, and 1.3 million people reported using it in 2018 alone. Heroin rehab is one of the most common treatments for those struggling with heroin addiction, but does it actually work? Let’s take a closer look.
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What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug derived from the poppy plant that is highly addictive and can have serious short-term and long-term consequences. It is one of the most dangerous drugs in existence and has a devastating impact on individuals, families, and entire communities.
Physical Dangers of Heroin Use
The immediate physical effects of heroin use can be intense. It strongly affects the central nervous system, which can lead to feelings of extreme pleasure followed by drowsiness and nausea.
Using repeatedly over time can cause irreversible damage to organs like the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. It also lowers the user’s ability to fight off infections, increasing their risk for diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C.
Mental Health Risks
Heroin use also affects mental health in a number of ways. Long-term users may suffer from depression or anxiety due to changes in brain chemistry caused by drug use. They may also experience hallucinations or delusions, which can significantly impair their ability to make rational decisions or participate in meaningful activities such as work or school.
In addition, heroin users are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex which puts them at even greater risk for adverse health outcomes.
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The Psychological Effects of Heroin Addiction
Heroin also has profound psychological effects that can linger long after a person stops using the drug. For example, users often experience depression and anxiety due to an imbalance in their brain chemistry caused by long-term heroin use.
Additionally, there are often extreme cravings for the drug, making it difficult for former users to stay away from it. Those who have used heroin over a long period of time may even experience hallucinations or delusions when they are not under the influence of the drug.
How Heroin Rehab Works
Heroin rehab is typically conducted in either an inpatient or outpatient setting, depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction and other factors such as finances and family obligations. Inpatient rehab involves staying at a dedicated treatment center where patients can receive around-the-clock care and support from medical professionals.
Outpatient rehab usually occurs at a hospital or other healthcare facility and requires patients to visit the facility for regular sessions with counselors or therapists.
Regardless of whether someone chooses an inpatient or outpatient program, they will likely go through some combination of detoxification, medication management, counseling, and 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The length of treatment depends on each individual’s needs but typically lasts anywhere from 28 days to several months or even years.
Does Heroin Rehab Work?
Yes! Studies have shown that heroin rehab can be highly effective for those who are committed to changing their behavior and overcoming their addiction. A 2019 study conducted by researchers at Duke University found that individuals who completed residential treatment programs had significantly lower rates of drug use and criminal activity than those who did not complete these programs.
Additionally, research has also found that long-term follow-up care—such as aftercare programs—can further increase an individual’s chances of long-term sobriety from heroin addiction.
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Heroin addiction is a serious problem in the United States, but there is hope for those suffering from this condition —particularly with regard to heroin rehab. Studies have shown that both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs are effective treatments for individuals struggling with heroin addiction when combined with proper follow-up care after completion of the program.
If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, consider seeking professional help as soon as possible to get them on the path toward recovery.