Getting Help for Heroin Abuse
Detox. We’ve all heard of it, but it’s just the beginning of the journey for someone recovering from heroin abuse. The process actually begins with a medical evaluation, from there, it varies.
Erin Carroll is a Mental Health Counselor at Holyoke Medical Center. She said, “everyone is an individual and their treatment plan or road to recovery is going to be individualized.”
Detox is the first step, allowing four to five days to withdraw from the drug. Then begins in-patient rehabilitation. Depending on a patient’s insurance they may then be eligible for an IOP, or intensive out-patient therapy. That will include group therapy run by a licensed clinician.
“It also provides that peer support that’s really important to know that you’re not alone, there are other people struggling and you don’t need to do it alone,” explained Carroll.
There are also other peer run programs like NA available which offer a person in recovery a sense of security. But there are also options that include medications for those who are more chemically dependent on heroin.
Carroll says,”to reduce the likelihood of withdrawing and cravings so that you can ween yourself off of these medications and then hopefully at some point lead a sober life.”
While not every addict will relapse, Erin said that many do. But that relapse can actually be a step in the recovery process.
“Which is a misconception that I think a lot of people might have is that well when you stop you just stop and that’s done. Relapse is a part of recovery because you need to learn. You live and learn and it’s that same type of idea,” Carroll told us.
But there is no cure for addiction, just a life-long commitment to sobriety.
There are also family support groups for those whose loved ones are suffering from addiction. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon help them understand what their loved one is going through. Both are based on the 12-step program that NA and AA also use.