Making the decision to seek treatment for your heroin addiction is one of the hardest things to do. Many people struggle with it. There are so many theories as to which is the best type of treatment and everyone seems to have an opinion. Unfortunately, not every type of treatment works for every person and choosing the right treatment can mean the difference between success and failure. When you break this decision down it becomes a bit easier.
Inpatient versus Outpatient Treatment
One of the first things that you need to think about is whether you should go to inpatient treatment or outpatient heroin addiction treatment. Both types have benefits and drawbacks.
Inpatient treatment is an extremely effective form of treatment but you have to be away from your friends and family. Inpatient or residential treatment is treatment that takes place in a facility 24 hours a day 7 days a week until you feel you can face the outside world.
Outpatient treatment is nonresidential. You have treatment sessions during the day and go home at night to your family. In many cases, outpatient treatment can be scheduled around your work or school. A major drawback of outpatient treatment is that it is traditionally less effective due to the availability of heroin during your treatment.
Cold Turkey versus Medication Therapy
Cold turkey is by far one of the hardest choices to make. You simply stop taking heroin and go through withdrawal. Heroin is known to have some of the worst withdrawal symptoms out of any other drug. The benefit of cold turkey treatment is that you are no longer dependent on any drug when your treatment is done.
Medication therapy blocks or masks your withdrawal symptoms using methadone, Suboxone, or another opiate reduction medication. The major benefit to medication therapy is the lack of withdrawal symptoms. It is a highly effective form of treatment. Unfortunately, many of the medications used to treat heroin addiction are themselves addictive. You have to wean off these drugs or simply stay on them. This process may be extremely difficult.
Harm Reduction versus Treatment
Some people believe that harm reduction is the best course of action when it comes to addiction treatment. Harm reduction can be useful in conjunction with treatment but in some cases it is used on its own. The concept of harm reduction is almost exactly what it is called, it is reducing the amount of harm heroin does to you by allowing you to use in a safe manner or replacing heroin with a safer drug.
Although harm reduction is not popular in the United States, there are some places that practice it. Essentially during strict harm reduction, you use heroin in a safe location, with clean needles or in some cases, you exchange dirty needles for clean ones. Harm reduction does not solve your addiction it simply makes it safer.
Some forms of harm reduction include treatment options. This is similar to medication assisted therapy or weaning off heroin gradually. In both cases you wind up ending your heroin addiction through a form of heroin addiction treatment.
There are many more choices to make as your heroin addiction treatment progresses. It is important to chose the right treatment for you. If one treatment is not working, you can change the type to find the one that works the best for your needs and goals.