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What is a heroin addiction?

Heroin is a powerful and dangerous Class A drug. Sometimes referred to as brown, gear or smack. Heroin has been around for many years in one form or another. Due to the nature of the drug and its active ingredients, heroin is highly addictive, and it is possible to become physically dependent in under one week.

Due to the increased tolerance of the user, most people find that over a period of time, the addiction progresses, and the user requires more heroin for the same effect. As the addiction increases, most heroin addicts no longer experience a feeling of ‘being stoned’, but have to use to avoid awful withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin is addictive however the drug is ingested. Some users smoke heroin, others snort, whilst some inject. Injecting heroin is the riskiest method, but using heroin in any way is highly dangerous.

There are a range of substitute therapies available; most commonly methadone or buprenorphine. This is the most common way to treat heroin addiction in the UK. Unfortunately, this does not always lead to people getting clean and staying clean. It also doesn’t help individuals resolve the underlying or related issues.

Heroin and other drugs

There are many people who use heroin and no other illicit substances. However, many users also use other drugs for different effects. Heroin users may also use other drugs, such as crack cocaine, alcohol, benzodiazepines and prescription drugs, such as pregablin.

The chances of overdose dramatically increase when mixing drugs. The majority of overdoses recorded also involve other substances, most commonly methadone or alcohol.

As addiction progresses, many heroin users use fewer other drugs due to the financial pressure of maintaining the heroin addiction, which can range from £10 daily to £100 daily.

Heroin withdrawals

Due to the strong physical dependency associated with heroin use, the user will always experience withdrawals if they try to stop heroin use unaided. The ‘cold turkey’ approach of trying to simply stop without the correct medication or support is incredibly difficult and usually results in relapse.

Heroin withdrawals include a range of symptoms and vary from person to person but commonly include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Muscle cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Intense craving
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness

As well as heroin, these withdrawal symptoms apply to a range of other opiates too; including over the counter medication.

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Heroin detox

The first stage of any heroin rehab or heroin addiction treatment is detox. Most heroin addicts are nervous at the thought of detox due to previous negative experiences of heroin withdrawals. Many people who have been on methadone have particularly negative experiences of withdrawals and insomnia.

However, when detox is managed correctly, withdrawals are kept to a minimum. There may be some moments of discomfort, but with regular reviews and the correct medication at the correct dosage, alongside the correct psychological and emotional support, heroin detox can be a simple process.

There are a range of medications that can be used during the heroin detox including buprenorphine (subutex), methadone, clonidine and dihydrocodeine. It is generally accepted that the preferred medication is buprenorphine (subutex) for a range of reasons. At The Providence Projects, we have found that this medication is excellent in ensuring minimal withdrawals when coming off of heroin. Very often, clients may also be prescribed medication in the short term to help sleep.

Help for heroin addiction

In the UK, it is estimated that approximately £1 billion pounds a year is dedicated to drug treatment with much of this money directed towards help for heroin addiction. However, the current system is unbalanced with nearly of all this money being spent on prescribing methadone, drop in programmes and local, community based services which range in quality.

For some, these interventions are adequate. However, long term methadone use comes with its own set of problems. Local day programmes are also accessible. Whilst these can work for some, the feedback from many is that it is just too difficult to break the cycle while being surrounded in the same environment. In these day programmes, there is of course no structure at evenings or weekends either.

For these reasons, residential detox and drug rehab programmes are often more effective. Unfortunately, there is little funding available through local authorities and NHS and most people looking for a detox and rehab programme are privately funded.

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Heroin Rehab

The Providence Projects are widely accepted as leaders in the field of heroin detox and rehab programmes. The team of Doctors at The Providence Surgery are highly skilled and experienced in this area and were given special commendation in their most recent CQC Report for their work in this area.

Heroin rehab programmes can range from 28 days up to 90 days depending on your individual requirements. Generally, the first stage is detoxification. During this stage individuals are also engaging in the daily therapy programme. During detox, you will have a comprehensive 1-1 session with your focal counsellor and agree a care plan. This plan will outline identified goals during your rehab programme.

The heroin rehab programme at The Providence Projects is designed not only to help individuals stop safely and comfortably, but to help individuals address the underlying issues; gain a better understanding of their addiction; and to develop the skills and ability to maintain recovery. This is the key to a successful heroin addiction treatment.

The Providence Projects have been delivering heroin rehab programmes in our Bournemouth centre since 1996 with excellent success rates.

Heroin Rehab Admission

When the time has come, and you want help, we understand that arranging a quick admission is essential. At The Providence Projects we pride ourselves on responding immediately to your individual situation. We can arrange immediate admission into the programme here to ensure that you get help when you need it.

The admissions team at The Providence Projects will provide you with full information of what to bring, what time to arrive and what to expect. Someone from our admissions team is available from 8am until 10pm every day.

On the day of admission, you will be assessed by Dr Niman. After this assessment, a detox regime will be agreed, and you are formally admitted into the programme by the superb counselling team.

Throughout your detox regime you will be monitored on a daily basis to ensure that you are comfortable. As well as the medication to ease withdrawals (usually subutex), you will be offered medication to assist with sleep in the evening, as we understand that this is often a worry for many people.

It is perfectly normal to feel nervous about your rehab admission. We can assure you that there is nothing to be nervous about. Our environment is kind, supportive and encouraging. In fact, many of our clients don’t want to leave!

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Heroin Rehab Programme

The heroin rehab programme is designed in a way to ensure that it’s engaging, it’s fun and it’s effective. The range of therapies used during this programme include 1-1 counselling, self-esteem work, relapse prevention, group therapy, assignments, music therapy, exercise classes and alternative therapies including reiki and acupuncture.

There is specific work done on a range of issues during this programme including:

  • Addiction
  • Thinking errors
  • Self esteem
  • Stress management
  • Anger management
  • Relationships
  • Families
  • Relapse prevention
  • 12 Steps
  • Boundaries
  • Assertiveness
  • Family therapy
  • Recovery skills

It is the drug rehab programme which really helps the individual to understand their addiction, look closely at themselves and to develop the skills to maintain long term recovery without the use of any drugs.

Which heroin rehab programme is right for me?

There are a range of programmes available for heroin addiction. In our experience many people find it very difficult to overcome their addiction whilst in their home environment. They find that there are too many triggers, not enough support and that the whole detox process is just too difficult. For those that do manage to get through the detox phase, they often find that they have not developed the skills to stay clean from drugs and relapse.

At this point, you may start to explore heroin rehab programmes. Here is a guide of how to choose the best heroin rehab programme for you:

  • Affordable:
    There is often no need to spend £2,000
  • Experienced:
    Look for rehab centres that have been established for 20 years +
  • Research:
    Look up reviews and articles on line. Also speak to the places you like the look of.
  • Remember:
    Detox alone is usually not the answer. Short programmes of 14 days are mostly ineffective.

Life after heroin rehab

As you come towards the latter stages of your comprehensive rehab programme at The Providence Projects, you will work out a plan with your counsellor and with your family if appropriate. It is essential that every aftercare plan is designed to suit the individual.

Whether you are returning for work or looking to start life again; whether you are returning home or looking to relocate; whether you are looking for on-going one-one counselling or prefer attendance at group meetings, our counsellors will help designed an aftercare plan that meets your needs.

Once all of these factors are considered, you will agree a plan with your focal therapist. It is also important to remember that The Providence Projects are here for as long as the client needs us. Believe it or not, we still get calls and visits 20 years after people have left! We really are a family and are always here for our clients, ex-clients and their families.

If you or a loved one needs help to quit drugs and are looking for effect heroin or opiate addiction treatment, speak to our friendly counsellors today. We will offer you our expert advice on the best way to start your recovery.

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