How Does a Heroin Rehab Center Medically Approach the Withdrawal and Recovery Process?

How does a heroin rehab center medically approach the withdrawal and recovery process? Rehab centers use a variety of methods for withdrawal and recovery. You must be sure to choose a facility offering the services you need. For example, not all drug rehabs also offer detox. Some rehabs may have an attached detox unit on the premises. Others may be affiliated with a detox. You will undergo detox at that location and then be transferred to the rehab after withdrawal symptoms are gone and the drug of abuse has left your system. Other rehabs offer no detox services at all. You will need to attend a detox separately and then begin recovery treatment at the rehab after you have completed detox. If you have managed to make it through the withdrawal process on your own and have abstained from all drugs of abuse for at least 10 days, you will probably not need detox services and can simply begin recovery treatment at the facility of your choice.

Different Detox Models

While many detox units offer medically-supervised drug withdrawal services, not all do. Be sure you understand the difference between a medical and a social model of drug withdrawal services. The medical model will include certain medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms and allow you to slowly and comfortably wean off your drug of choice. Social models use other methods, such as talk therapy, religious support, massage, nutritional supplements, sauna, special diets and water therapy, to treat withdrawal symptoms. Medications are not typically included in the social treatment model at all. Not everyone will be able to use the social model. For many, the withdrawal symptoms will be too severe to be endured without medical support.

Anyone with an addiction to alcohol, benzodiazepines or any kind of hypnotic drug should never attempt withdrawal without medical supervision. A social withdrawal method is never a safe option.

Although withdrawal from opioids and stimulants is typically not life-threatening and may be safe using social model methods, it may not be advisable. Statistics strongly suggest that medically-supervised withdrawal methods using medication are the most likely to succeed. There is nothing wrong with the temporary use of certain medications to ease someone through the tough withdrawal process. There is also nothing wrong with MAT or medically-assisted treatment, either. MAT uses certain medications, such as buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone to help former addicts, particularly regarding opioids and alcohol, prevent relapse.

As you decide which detox facility you would like to attend, keep the medical and social models in mind. A faith-based facility is likely to offer only the social model, although this may not be true in all cases.

The Recovery Process

Once you are through the detox portion of your treatment, the recovery process can begin. If you have chosen a recovery center open to a medical treatment approach, you can expect them to offer certain kinds of MAT for your benefit. This is particularly true for opioid users. The problem with maintaining sobriety from past opioid abuse is that stubborn drug cravings can persist for a long period of time after detox has ended. To help you better focus on your rehab and recovery, medical rehabs may offer a drug called Suboxone. This is a combination of a synthetic opioid called buprenorphine and an opioid reversal drug called naloxone. The naloxone is included to discourage intravenous abuse of the buprenorphine and has no real oral effect in the amounts present in Suboxone. Buprenorphine activates the same brain receptors as other opioids do but only partially. This partial activation is enough to suppress drug cravings and any residual withdrawal symptoms without causing s high. Suboxone typically makes a former opioid abuser just feel normal.

However, like any drug, Suboxone may not work for everyone. If this happens, methadone may be used. Although a full activator of the brain’s opioid receptors and not a partial one, methadone still typically causes little euphoria or opioid intoxication when used at an appropriate dosage. Like Suboxone, it suppresses drug cravings. However, unlike Suboxone, methadone will work for virtually everyone, regardless of their level of former opioid use, including that of fentanyl.

Your drug recovery experience will also include individual and group therapy and other recovery tools, such as CBT, DBT, EMDR and past trauma management. It may include participation in certain recovery groups, too, such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. Be sure you’re comfortable with the rehab’s recovery services and requirements before agreeing to attend.

For More Information

We’re a group of dedicated, professional drug counselors here to serve you anytime at 833-846-5669. We’ll help you sort out the confusing choices involved in selecting the right rehab for you.