Overcoming a heroin addiction might be one of the most difficult challenges a person can face. It is also doable and hugely rewarding, although help—in the form of treatment—is crucial for success.
The problem is bigger than just the anticipation of pain and discomfort during withdrawal, although that is a huge factor. Most addicts can, and do, quit, often on their own. Sometimes they detox in a facility; sometimes they gut it out “cold turkey,” or they medicate the symptoms of withdrawal with Suboxone or tranquilizers. The real difficulty is in staying stopped, as relapse often leads to an even more severe level of addiction.
The defenses against relapse have to come from an environment that is committed to recovery. An addict can’t learn or employ the necessary tools while alone or in the company of other active addicts. Unfortunately, most addicts have to endure a tremendous amount of loss and pain before they finally submit to the idea of accepting help. This is attributable to a number of factors, including the following:
- The temporary pleasure of the heroin high—and its anticipation—causes the addict to prioritize it over beneficial activities, including seeking treatment.
- The nature of addiction includes a tendency to rationalize drug use and minimize its negative impact. As this becomes increasingly untenable, the resulting cognitive dissonance causes stress, which in turn can only be medicated by more use of the drug.
- Quality treatment is limited in availability and often expensive. Addicts wind up employing a number of strategies to manage and control their addiction.
In most cases, in order to overcome a heroin addiction, an addict has to acknowledge the need for help. Treatment can be found, and most centers will accept medical insurance. For those without coverage, there are facilities that have county or state funding.
A good treatment center will provide a caring and compassionate environment for healing. Their staff should have extensive training in addiction, and may have personal experience with addiction and recovery. Their commitment will be to promote lasting recovery through a combination of proven therapies. The addict’s commitment should simply be to show up and take the indicated directions. Recovering addicts all over the world can testify to the benefits of overcoming heroin addiction.
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