There are a couple of options for heroin treatment that a heroin addict might choose to use in order to get off the drug.
These options have quite a range in terms of both cost and effectiveness. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Cold turkey heroin withdrawal on your couch
It is an option to just lay on your couch for a week and ride it out. Not a great choice by any means, but some people really do not have much choice in the matter and have no other way to do it. If they want to get clean they might have to do it themselves, due to no money, no insurance, and an inability to secure any sort of funding for treatment.
If you do decide to go cold turkey, there are some things you can do that might help a bit, though they will really not make a huge difference in how you feel overall. For example, you can take Benadryl 50mg every 4 hours to help with anxiety (and also to help you sleep). And you can alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen every 4 hours for body aches and pain, which is a major complaint among opiate addicts during withdrawal. Beyond that there is not a lot you can do other than try to sleep as much as possible.
Inpatient treatment at a drug rehab
If you are stuck going through heroin withdrawal, treatment can be very helpful at easing these withdrawal symptoms and helping you to establish a few weeks clean. They do this by detoxing you in a medical area and administering medications that can help control the detox symptoms. Obviously this is preferable to detoxing cold turkey, but it is much more expensive and some people simply cannot afford it. If you can afford it, you should take full advantage of it and do whatever you can to stay clean so that you do not have to go through withdrawal again.
Usually your stay at a drug rehab will sort of be split up into 2 parts. The first part will be about 3 to 5 days of detox where you can just relax in a bed. The second part will be residential treatment where you will attend groups, lectures, and meetings in order to learn about recovery from addiction. If you do not take full advantage of both parts then it is very likely that you will find yourself eventually using heroin again. The most successful people who receive heroin treatment are the people who throw themselves into the solution with all of their effort. They completely immerse themselves in the solution and give it everything they’ve got. If you are serious about staying clean then you should do the same.
Ultra rapid detox
This is another form of heroin withdrawal treatment that is very, very expensive right now. The reason it costs so much is because insurance does not cover it yet, as it is a fairly new and experimental procedure. Basically an outpatient surgery setting puts you under and flushes your system out of all the drugs while you are out. You wake up several hours later and you are basically all through with your withdrawal, and may experience very little detox symptoms at that point, if any. Sounds pretty good, right?
This might be a viable option for some addicts but in most cases it is probably not very practical. It is just too expensive and a relapse following this procedure is particularly devastating. At least if you go to a traditional rehab you are gaining some experience and new knowledge about how to get and stay clean.
If you are not willing to go through a brief detox period of less than a week then you probably do not have the dedication needed to stay clean in the long run. Once you have truly surrendered to the disease of addiction and truly “had enough” of the drug you will be able to accept the relatively short discomfort of detox and make it through with traditional detox procedures. If you are insisting on a pain-free detox with this expensive procedure then you are probably not really committed to stopping just yet.
Drug maintenance therapy
Another form of heroin addiction treatment is to use long term drug therapy. This would be like taking Methadone or Suboxone on a daily basis in order to stay clean from heroin. This is a controversial approach and there are certainly some pros and cons here.
One of the big surprises that shocked me in witnessing this type of treatment was that it did not seem very effective to me. In other words, many of the people who were using drug therapy as a solution were constantly relapsing on their drug of choice anyway. I would have thought the success rate with this type of approach would be much higher, but apparently it is not.
I know some people who have had some success with Suboxone, but it is also an expensive solution, and not everyone can afford it.
If you can swing it, getting funded for drug rehab is probably the best option for most people.