Heroin or any other opiates addicts go through a rough patch when they try to quit either in steps or cold turkey. Withdrawals from heroin could take an addict back to the problem unless treated carefully and wisely. It is important to keep an eye during the whole process as it effects user and helper, both emotionally and physically. Heroin treatment is based on few important steps to make sure patient quits without going through lot of pain and severity of withdrawals.
Detox is the method of removing heroin from the body. Since withdrawal can peak after a few days of the last dose. Medical detox starts before heroin completely leaves the system and usually takes between 5 and 7 days. For someone who is more heavily dependent on heroin, detox may last a little longer, up to 10 days.
Medical detox may use medications and therapy to help the body and brain recover from heroin’s effects. Blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and temperature levels are all monitored to help keep individuals safe and secure throughout the entire process. Heroin and other opioids are unique in that there are prescription medications available to assist with both withdrawal and abstinence maintenance. In the case of heroin, a person in recovery may be treated with buprenorphine (Suboxone) or methadone.
During detoxification, patient may get agitated and aggressive and medications are prescribed to keep them calm. Such medications are addictive as well, they should be monitored and as soon as withdrawals symptoms reduce, it should be stopped. If someone takes an active opioid antagonist drug while an opioid agonist, such as heroin, is still in the bloodstream, withdrawal symptoms may be more dangerous and may start suddenly, which is called precipitated withdrawal.
Heroin Treatment Drugs
Methadone is a relatively long-acting synthetic opioid agonist medication, most frequently administered for oral use, either in solution or as tablets. A single dose of methadone lasts anywhere from 24-36 hours, and facilitates the controlled stabilization of a heroin-withdrawing patient. Methadone maintenance therapy requires users to regularly visit methadone clinics for administration. Methadone is available in a number of doses, and in most cases, will be slowly tapered off as recovery progresses
Buprenorphine is another synthetic opioid, with only partial opioid receptor agonist properties. Like methadone, buprenorphine is most commonly taken orally. In the case of buprenorphine, however, it is taken sublingually (under the tongue). Buprenorphine only partially activates the brain’s opioid receptors, providing stabilizing relief from opioid withdrawal but discouraging misuse by introducing a ceiling to the euphoric effects that might otherwise be experienced with a full opioid agonist (e.g., continued heroin use)
Specifically designed to discourage misuse. When administered properly, the individual will experience the effects of buprenorphine. If crushed and injected, naloxone is released, producing significantly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
A compound that blocks opioid receptors – minimizing the risks of overdose, but potentially precipitating the sudden onset of heroin withdrawal symptoms. After heroin detox is successfully completed, naltrexone may be used in the longer-term to discourage opiate abuse by blocking the pleasurable sensations associated with them. In order for it to be effective as a preventative medication, the individual in recovery must be diligent about taking it (either daily by mouth or as a monthly intramuscular injection)
The opioid agonist treatment drugs (methadone, buprenorphine, Suboxone) will be delivered on a tapered schedule, meaning that the dosage and frequency of administration will decrease over time. The goal is to first rid the body completely of heroin, then carefully and comfortably rid it of any opioid influence over time. How long this takes depends on the user’s individual reaction to withdrawal symptoms and the tenacity of their opioid dependence.
Post Treatment Therapy
Once the withdrawal symptoms disappear, it is important to keep patient busy with post treatment therapy to reduce any further encounters with drug. The most common treatment in Pakistan for such cases would be to keep their movement limited for start and then slowly let them get involved with the positive crowd. Their old company may encourage the drug abuse again if that’s how it was started.
It is important for patient to concentrate on his life. It will be a new start and they should remember each step they been through to have full recovery from a drug that could have ended their life.