an opiate, coming from the same family as prescription drugs like OxyContin and Valium, which means it will have the same sedative effects.
Experts believe dependence on heroin is largely linked to prescription medications, as roughly 80% of those who become hooked on the illicit substance abused a prescription opiate prior to it. In the last reporting year, opioids were responsible for more than 50,000 overdose deaths, with heroin being the cause in over 15,000 of them.
Signs of Heroin Addiction?
Heroin addiction is becoming more prevalent in the United States, with just over 14% of all rehab admissions entering treatment for heroin addiction or dependence, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Because heroin addiction is incredibly difficult to beat, and very deadly, it’s important for anyone using the substance to get help as soon as possible. If you’re looking for signs that a loved one might be struggling with an opiate addiction, look for:
- Small pupils
- Extreme fatigue, nodding off, or sleepy eyes
- Slow breathing
- A runny nose
- Flushed skin
- Neglect of self-care (eating, hygiene, excessive scratching)
- Nausea, vomiting, or constipation
- Paraphernalia (baggies, syringes, rubber tubing, burnt spoons, glass pipes)
When is Intervention Necessary for Heroin Addiction?
Heroin addicts will often hide their addiction at all costs, and live only to fuel it, as it takes more and more of the substance to create the same feeling as time passes. Although it’s generally best to approach your loved one for a heart-to-heart talk before progressing to an intervention, it’s quite likely that the dependence will be denied. If this is the case, or the person refuses to get help, an intervention specialist should be called. This process may take weeks to set up, and generally involves having many people who care about the individual gather together and encourage him or her to get treatment. The specialist will be trained in how to handle a variety of reactions, and can help keep the intervention moving in a positive direction, ideally wrapping up with the individual agreeing to go to a predetermined treatment facility.
Choosing a Rehab for Heroin Addiction
One of the biggest determining factors for many people is the overall cost, which will be impacted by insurance. Location is also important, as some people need to stay close to home, while others do better being far away from their regular environment. Although most treatment centers can treat a variety of addictions, some cater to specific substances. For this reason, it should be verified that any centers up for consideration can treat heroin addiction, specifically. It’s also worth noting that dual diagnosis or co-current disorders affect about half of all addicts. In these cases, the individual not only must beat his or her substance abuse problem, but also an underlying condition, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, an eating disorder, or bi-polar disorder, in order for treatment to be successful. There are facilities that specialize in particular co-current disorders if one is known before seeking treatment. If not, most facilities will diagnose and treat a wide variety of issues in addition to the dependence. Lastly, facilities cater to every walk of life in order to make sure that each person can find an environment he or she can truly thrive in. As such, there are luxury, pet-friendly, gender-specific, holistic, faith-based, and other types of centers to choose from.
How is Heroin Addiction Treated?
Heroin addicts go through severe withdrawal, which usually starts 6-12 hours after the last time the drug was taken. Withdrawal tends to peak at 1-3 days, but the symptoms of withdrawal can last a week or more. Because of this, the first stage of in-patient rehab is always detoxification. Doctors will often prescribe medications to help keep a person comfortable through the transition, and the facility’s team will work with the individual to devise a custom rehabilitation plan. Various therapies, such as group, individual, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are generally included, as are fitness activities and nutritional education. In-patient treatment is usually offered in two intervals; short-term, which lasts one month, and long-term, which continues for three. Before a patient concludes the in-patient portion, a second plan for post-recovery is created, in order to ensure the person has the support he or she needs to remain successful once at home. Out-patient treatment is usually a major component, which includes therapy and medical supervision, and patients are generally encouraged to sign up for support groups, like Heroin Anonymous.
How Successful is Heroin Addiction Treatment?
- 40-60% of people who undergo drug rehabilitation treatment are successful. (NIDA)
- Commitment to a long-term treatment plan and selecting the right facility increase the odds of success. (NIDA)
- Long-term rehab has the greatest success rates, at 68-71%. (AJDAA)
Will My Insurance Cover the Cost of Heroin Addiction Treatment?
The total cost of treatment will vary based on many factors. Arguably, the biggest difference in expense will be whether a luxury or traditional facility is selected, as luxury centers can run $20,000 each month, whereas a traditional one may be more in the neighborhood of $6,000 monthly. Insurance plans often pick up some or all the costs of traditional treatments. Presently, those on Medicare and Medicaid can expect full coverage, while those with private plans may have to pay a deductible, and/or a portion of their treatment costs. If you’re not sure what your costs after insurance will be, need help understanding your benefits, or would simply like assistance selecting the right facility for your needs, please contact us at 888-327-1047.