heroin detox and rehab

Heroin Detox and Rehab: What to Expect While Inpatient

Almost 950,000 Americans said they used heroin in 2016 alone. So it should come as no surprise that heroin addiction is on the rise.

From straining relationships with loved ones to possibly suffering from an overdose, the risks associated with this drug are high. If your loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, it’s crucial to enroll them in a heroin detox and rehab center as soon as possible.

But what exactly will happen during their time in inpatient care? Will a medical professional be there to oversee their detox? What kind of therapy will they attend?

It’s natural to ask these questions when you’re researching drug rehab centers for the first time. We have all the answers you’re looking for and more. Keep reading to learn what your loved one can expect during inpatient care.

They’ll Stay in the Facility

Alright, first things first. What exactly is inpatient drug rehab?

Simply put, inpatient care is when recovering addicts stay in the facility. There are employees and medical professionals on staff at all times to offer assistance during the detox and rehab process.

The goal is to provide a comfortable and safe environment for all patients.

During outpatient care, recovering addicts stay at home and visit the rehab center a few times a week. Many people who go through inpatient care transition to an outpatient care plan to continue their journey to recovery.  

Withdrawal Starts Quickly

If you’re loved one ever went a few hours without heroin, you may have noticed that they appeared sick or agitated. That’s because heroin withdrawal doesn’t take long to start — on average symptoms appear 6 to 12 hours after last use.

Once those withdrawal symptoms start kicking in, it’ll be harder and harder for your loved one to go without heroin. Even those who are very motivated to change can crack under the pressure and use again.

For this reason, it’s important to enroll your loved one into an inpatient facility as soon as possible where they’ll have access to a trained medical staff to help them through the detox process.

It’ll Feel Like a Bad Flu

So, what exactly are the symptoms of heroin withdrawal? Well, they feel a lot like the flu.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating are all common symptoms. However, these can also be dangerous as they can lead to dehydration if not properly cared for. Anxiety, muscle aches, insomnia, and agitation are also symptoms most heroin addicts experience while detoxing.

These symptoms last for about a week, the worst of which happen around day 2 or 3.

There Are Medications to Help

One of the great advantages of doing inpatient treatment is that your loved one won’t have to suffer through withdrawal without any assistance. There are medications, like Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone, that can help reduce the above symptoms and curb cravings.

Additionally, a team of specialized medical professionals will overlook your loved one’s detox process and medication management. They’ll also ensure your loved one doesn’t suffer from dehydration or any other potentially dangerous side effect while detoxing.

There’s More to Withdrawal

You may think that your loved one is home free once their week of withdrawal symptoms ends. However, there’s a lot more to heroin withdrawal then the first week of flu-like symptoms.

Many heroin addicts also suffer from Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). Heroin can cause neurological changes when abused over time, and these changes can manifest in things like depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and fatigue.

These symptoms can continue for months after your loved one stops using. However, they can learn coping mechanisms during inpatient treatment, so they can better manage these upon release.

There Will Be a Lot of Therapy

While detoxing from heroin is a huge step, it’s really only half of inpatient treatment. Once your loved one has detoxed, they will still need to deal with the underlying causes of their addiction. Otherwise, they’re likely to use again in the future.

That’s why therapy is vital to any drug rehab program. The benefit of doing therapy at an inpatient treatment is that you know your loved one is attending therapy sessions, and they’re attending multiple a day.

Cognitive behavioral therapy will help your loved one understand their behaviors related to heroin addiction and work to change them. They’ll also learn better coping mechanisms that can help prevent them from using again.

Group therapy is also important. Your loved one will meet peers who have gone through similar struggles with drugs. Everyone in a group therapy session can feel supported, understood, and free to talk about their struggles without the fear of being judged.

They’ll Have Access to Alternative Therapy

Both cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy are important to the recovery process. But your loved one won’t be partaking in these sessions 24/7.

An inpatient facility offers alternative therapy options as a constructive way for your loved one to spend their free time. Many recovering addicts find that yoga, meditation, art therapy, journaling, and music therapy are helpful to their journey to sobriety.

Of course, sometimes just sitting in your room talking to a close friend you made is helpful. Your loved one will have the chance to pick and choose which methods alternative therapy they want to participate in. Not only can this help them recover, but most also find these activities enjoyable and relaxing.

What to Expect During Heroin Detox and Rehab

Detoxing from heroin will be a long and tough road for your loved one. But the right rehab can make it a little easier. From offering medical professionals to ensure a safe detox to teaching recovering addicts healthy coping mechanisms, a heroin detox and rehab center can really help your loved one turn their life around.

Is your loved one ready to accept help? Contact us today for more information on our various drug treatment options, including inpatient drug rehab.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.