Safe Heroin Detox Options
The decision to enter heroin detox takes tremendous resolve considering how heroin all but debilitates a person’s ability to reason and make sound decisions. As detoxing from heroin brings on its own set of risks, ensuring a person makes it through the heroin detox period safely is equally important.
Addiction in any form places significant strain on the body’s chemical functions, which can make detox a difficult experience to go through. Fortunately, years of research in the addictions field has brought about some fairly safe and effective treatment approaches. Safe heroin detox options typically involve the use of medication therapies to help reduce the risk of relapse.
Heroin Detox Treatment
Heroin, a powerful opiate drug, causes considerable damage to a person’s brain chemical functions. It can take months and even years before brain functions return to normal, which greatly affects the degree of discomfort a person will experience in recovery. Heroin detox treatment offers a safe, humane method for helping recovering addicts make it through this difficult stage of the recovery process.
For long-term heroin addicts, a detox period entails anywhere from 48 to 72 hours of acute withdrawal symptoms that persist for as long as seven to 10 days. Afterwards, recovering addicts experience overall feelings of general malaise and ongoing drug cravings on a long-term basis. While detox symptoms are not life threatening, they can quickly drive a person back to using again.
The potential for overdose increases considerably whenever a person relapses after a detox attempt. Overdose episodes place people at risk of respiratory failure, which is the number one cause of opiate-related deaths. Safe heroin detox treatment works to reduce drug cravings and withdrawal effects, thereby eliminating the risk of overdose. As relapse poses the greatest safety risk of all, the better the chance of successfully stopping heroin use, the safer the detox option.
Medical Heroin Detox Option
Medical heroin detox options make use of specialty medications designed to provide relief during the detox stage. As heroin and opiates in general interact with brain chemical functions in intricate ways, medical detox options use synthetic opiate-based medications to replace heroin’s effects.
These medications work by imitating heroin drug effects while at the same time nullifying the effects of heroin or any other type of opiate drug. While medical detox medications do produce similar effects as heroin, they’re specifically designed to not produce the typical “high” effects associated with heroin abuse. By imitating heroin’s drug effects, any drug cravings or withdrawal effects from stopping heroin are greatly reduced.
Medication Treatment Options
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, most heroin detox programs use one or more of three different drugs as medication treatments:
Each of these drugs produces different effects so treatment programs may administer one or more medication types throughout the recovery process.
Methadone, the most commonly used medication treatment, helps to reduce drug cravings and provide relief for withdrawal effects. Buprenorphine comes in two forms: Suboxone and Subutex. Suboxone has the same effects as methadone, while Subutex works more as a nullifying agent that prevents other opiate drugs from producing “high” effects. Naltrexone works as a nullifying agent only.
Through ongoing monitoring of cravings and withdrawal symptoms, recovering addicts can expect a safe heroin detox process using medication therapy treatments.