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Heroin Treatment

There are several efficient heroin treatments available for individuals suffering from an addiction to heroin. When the abuse of heroin is detected in the early stages, it makes treatment more effective and easier. The treatments type greatly depends on the individual, however, methadone, a synthetic opiate that stops the effects of heroin and eradicates withdrawal symptoms, has proved to be successful in treating individuals addicted to heroin. Pharmaceutical treatment approaches, such as LAAM (levo-alpha-acetyl-methadol) and buprenorphine, plus several behavioral therapies have also been effective in treating heroin addicts.

The primary reason for detoxification is to ease withdrawal symptoms while the patient adapts to a drug-free state. Detoxification is not considered a treatment for addiction, but is instead a useful step when it effects long-term treatment or when medication is included as part of the treatment. Generally, the best drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community residential programs, which lasts 3- 6 months.

For more than 30 years, methadone has been used effectively and securely to treat heroin addiction. When administered correctly, methadone is not intoxicating or sedating, and its effects do not cause any interruptions in typical activities, like driving an automobile. It is taken orally and works by suppressing drug withdrawal symptoms for 24-36 hours. Most importantly, methadone alleviates the craving that is accompanied by heroin addiction; most recovering heroin addicts relapse because of craving. Among patients receiving methadone treatment, it has been discovered that regular street doses of heroin do not produce euphoria; this makes extinguishing the desire to use heroin easier.

The effects of methadone last for 24 hours, which is 4-6 times as long as heroin; individuals in treatment only need to consume it once per day. Also, it is medically safe to use methadone continuously for 10 years or more. When blended with behavioral treatment approaches or counseling plus other supportive approaches, methadone can free patients from heroin addiction so they can lead stable and progressive lives. It is important to note that to avoid possible medical interactions, methadone dosages must be carefully monitored in patients who are receiving antiviral therapy for HIV.

Like methadone, LAAM is a synthetic opiate that can be used to treat individuals addicted to heroin. When consumed orally, LAAM is effective in blocking heroin’s effects for 72 hours with minimal side effects. Another medication that blocks morphine, heroin, and other opiate’s effects is Naltrexone. It operates as an antagonist to the heroin and is particularly useful as an antidote. Depending on the dose, Naltrexone has prolonging effects, varying from 1-3 days. By blocking heroin’s pleasurable effects it is useful in treating individuals who are highly motivated in receiving heroin treatment and getting sober. Naltrexone also helps to prevent relapse by former opiate addicts who have been released from prison or are on probation.

Buprenorphine is another treatment for heroin that has had positive results. It is especially attractive because it is unlikely to cause overdose problems. Buprenorphine also provides a lower level of physical dependence; individuals who stop taking it tend to experience fewer withdrawal symptoms than those who cease taking methadone.

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