Heroin withdrawal can be an extremely uncomfortable experience, and attempting to detox independently can be dangerous. An inpatient medical detox at a licensed facility is much more comfortable and often safer. When you are admitted to an inpatient heroin detox, medical professionals closely monitor the process the entire time. This enables them to respond to any symptoms that arise in real time. Ache and pains, diarrhea, cramps, chills, agitation and anxiety can all be avoided or relieved with medicines that you won’t have access to outside of a medical heroin detox. This ensures that heroin withdrawal is completed safely and with minimal discomfort.
What Happens After Heroin Detox?
People addicted to heroin often have co-occurring mental health issues or physical conditions which require attention during heroin detoxification. This is why continuing addiction treatment after the medical detox is a good idea. Even if you have been to drug rehab before, your chances of staying sober increase dramatically if you complete a 30, 60 or 90-day drug rehab program versus doing the heroin detox alone. The facts and statistics don’t lie. The environment at a medical heroin detox facility is structured and supervised. This helps to reduce potential distractions or triggers that can lead to relapse. Finally, people who are addicted to heroin have access to mental health counseling or other forms of therapy while in treatment.
The Risks of Not Getting Enough Treatment for Heroin Addiction
The bottom line is heroin addiction is a serious and often life-threatening problem that requires professional treatment. No rational person would argue otherwise. Heroin detox can, and should, be the first step in recovery. But heroin detox alone is not enough to ensure successful long-term sobriety. It’s not even close to enough. Detox alone does not address the underlying causes of drug abuse, nor does it provide any coping tools necessary for preventing relapse. Without following up with a drug rehab program lasting 30 to 90 days, there are several risks associated with heroin addiction:
1. Increased risk of overdose
The longer someone has been abusing heroin the more likely they will experience an overdose when they return to their previous use pattern after completing detox. This is due to tolerance levels decreasing during detox, meaning one’s body no longer has the same level of resistance to the drug and can be susceptible to dangerous amounts of it. This is more of a danger than even now that extremely powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil are showing up more and more often in street heroin. These compounds are so potent that the people manufacturing and selling heroin often kill their customers unintentionally.
2. Higher risk of relapse
Heroin addiction is a chronic disorder that requires long-term solutions in order to achieve lasting sobriety. Although a full course of rehab will not ensure recovery, it gives the addict valuable coping skills and insight needed to move forward in their journey towards long-term recovery. A heroin detox by itself doesn’t do any of that. It’s the bare minimum to get the drug out of the body and avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. It does nothing to mitigate cravings or help release depression, anxiety or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, among other things.
3. Greater deterioration of physical health
Heroin abuse has many damaging effects on the body including weakened immunity, organ damage, malnutrition, and other serious physical problems. Without a regular treatment program that includes proper nutrition and medical care, these issues can persist as well as increase in severity over time with continued heroin use. The myths about heroin “preserving” your body are nonsense. Heroin destroys your health no matter how you consume it. Smoking, snorting or injecting. If you use heroin, you’re slowly killing yourself. Sometimes not so slowly. You owe it to yourself or the one you love to go the distance and get a full treatment program, not just heroin detox.
Get All The Help You Can For Heroin Addiction
The risks associated with not following heroin detox with a drug rehab program of 30-90 days, like ours at Better Tomorrow are significant and should be taken into consideration when seeking treatment for heroin addiction. It is important to remember that recovery is possible but it requires commitment and dedication to make lasting change. The easiest way to make those lasting changes is to ask for help and accept every bit of help you can get to conquer your heroin addiction.
There is no such thing as getting “too much help” for addiction. You can’t get too much help. But it’s easy to get too little and the price of that mistake can be very, very high. Heroin detox is just the first step in the recovery journey. All the stuff that happens after detox is what is going to help keep you from landing back in detox again a few weeks or months later. By understanding these risks, individuals struggling with heroin addiction can make an informed decision about their treatment options and take steps towards attaining a healthier, substance free life.
Overcoming the Stigma of Heroin Addiction
The reality is that absolutely anyone can become addicted to heroin. The fact that you or your loved one has become opioid dependent is nothing to be ashamed of. It isn’t a sign of weak self-control or willpower. It doesn’t make someone a bad person or immoral. It makes them human. Heroin is insidious in the way that it hijacks the brain’s reward pathways. Absolutely anyone who takes a powerful opioid like heroin for more than a week or so will become physically addicted.
No one is immune to heroin addiction and no one is so high and mighty that they should look down on someone for being addicted to heroin. It could happen to anyone and that’s a fact. Heroin doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care how good or bad your family life was. It doesn’t care how much money you have or don’t have. It will come for you just the same. We must all do our part to combat the stigma of heroin addiction. No one should ever be shamed for their addiction anymore than someone with any other disease should be shamed for their condition. You are not your disease. This is why we avoid using the term “heroin addict” and instead say “person addicted to heroin”. Let’s normalize being open and honest about addiction and make it safe for people to ask for help.
A Strong Foundation for Lasting Recovery
If you or the person you love is serious about getting heroin out of their lives for good, then the heroin detox is only the beginning. You can think of it as clearing and leveling the ground to build something upon it. What we are building is a life in recovery. A better tomorrow for you or your loved one. Like any structure, if we want it to last, even through the worst storms and challenges, we must build a strong foundation beneath it. The addiction treatment you receive after a heroin detox is where this foundation is poured and set.
If you or someone you love is ready to put heroin down for good and begin a life in recovery, call Better Tomorrow right now at (844) 989-1451 and let’s get started. Heroin addiction doesn’t sit still. Neither can we.