Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Learn about the best types of treatment programs and methods for heroin addiction.

About Heroin

Heroin addiction is a major problem in the United States. Chronic heroin use can lead to a range of medical complications, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, and collapsed veins. The good news is that there are many different heroin addiction treatments available for those looking to obtain sobriety. From pharmacological treatment to behavioral therapies, here are the best types of treatment for heroin addiction.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction


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What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from poppy plants. It is an extremely addictive drug. Heroin became illegal in the United States in 1924 and can come as a white or brown powder or in the form of a dark brown tar-like substance.

Its production was originally limited to pharmaceutical companies, but illegal production now makes up most of the world’s supply. The heroin high is short-lived and can quickly lead to addiction. Heroin abuse carries risks such as incarceration or death due to overdose, blood-borne diseases like HIV or hepatitis, and fatal accidents because of impaired coordination and slowed reaction time.

Some Facts About Heroin Addiction

According to statistics, in 2019:1
According to statistics, in 2020:2

How To Help Someone Struggling With Addiction

Heroin addiction is characterized by compulsive heroin use despite negative consequences, such as harm to one’s health, criminal activity, and relationship problems. Heroin also leads to short-term and long-term effects on the brain, including deterioration of the brain’s white matter, affecting people’s ability to appropriately make decisions, regulate behavior, and respond to stressful situations.3

The best treatment options for heroin addiction involve a combination of medically supervised detoxification and behavioral therapy, in addition to other heroin treatments like medications and inpatient treatment at a heroin addiction rehab. All treatment options help restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior while reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin Detoxification

Detoxification is key when starting recovery. The process includes ridding the body of the chemicals and toxins from repeated heroin use, allowing the individual to begin healing and living a substance-free life.

What Is Heroin Detox?

Heroin detox is the first step in the addiction treatment process, followed by evidence-based treatment. It involves cleansing any toxins from the patient’s system under medical supervision to ensure a safe withdrawal. Heroin addiction produces severe withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and pain. This is why detoxing from this substance generally involves medications like methadone that ease cravings and other physical symptoms.

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Heroin?

Several factors determine how long it takes for a patient to detox from heroin safely. Some of those factors include the patient’s weight, age, gender, overall health, and addiction severity. In addition, patients who have been abusing the drug for months or years need to spend more time detoxing. Generally, most patients complete detox in four to ten days.

Heroin Detox Program for Addiction Treatment

Patients who suffer from heroin addiction can benefit from a medical detox program, which is the first step toward long-term sobriety. A team of medical experts keeps patients safe and secure each step of the way by monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and temperature levels.

Heroin detox programs usually last between five and seven days, depending on the severity of the addiction. More heavily dependent patients require longer detox that may last for up to ten days.

Pharmacological Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, have been found to be effective for heroin addiction treatment. They reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms that appear when a person abruptly stops taking heroin.


Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that helps treat the symptoms of heroin addiction. When taken as prescribed, methadone treatment for heroin addiction reduces withdrawal symptoms and prevents the person from feeling the high associated with heroin use. Methadone also reduces cravings for heroin by acting on opioid receptors in the brain. In order to be effective, methadone must be taken every day.


Buprenorphine is another medication for heroin addiction approved by the FDA. Unlike methadone, buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that binds to the same opioid receptors that heroin activates but activates them less intensely than full agonists. Similar to methadone, it can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in people with heroin addiction without producing feelings of euphoria.


Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the activation of opioid receptors. Unlike methadone and buprenorphine that reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, naltrexone prevents any opioids, such as heroin, from producing rewarding effects like euphoria.

Behavioral Therapy Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Various behavioral therapies have been found effective in treating heroin addiction.
Behavioral Therapy Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based type of treatment that effectively treats patients with underlying mental health conditions. It works by assisting patients in recognizing and changing negative patterns of thoughts to stop drug abuse. CBT may be beneficial as a complementary treatment for heroin addiction, used together with pharmacological treatment.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven to be effective in treating self-destructive behaviors, such as anger, impulsivity, and self-harm. It teaches patients skills to cope with and change unhealthy behaviors.

There are several types of DBT, including individual therapy, group therapy, and telephone crisis coaching. While some patients may prefer group therapy, others may find it challenging to discuss their issues in front of an audience. Individual DBT therapy typically involves weekly one-to-one sessions with a therapist. DBT sessions last between forty-five to sixty minutes.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy process that involves stimulating alternate brain pathways by directing the eye to move back and forth or in an eight-shaped figure. It is designed to help with emotionally traumatic or painful memories and replace those memories with more pleasant ones. Generally, an EMDR session lasts for about ninety minutes.

Find Help at Concise Recovery Treatment Center

Concise Recovery offers evidence-based therapies from CBT to Medication-Assisted Therapy for patients with heroin addiction.

The Most Effective Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Treatment for heroin addiction at our world-class center starts with a medically-assisted detox that takes place in luxurious facilities staffed by industry leaders and experts in addiction treatment. Immediately after a patient’s arrival, our clinical team will evaluate them to determine the severity of heroin addiction and the level of drugs in their system. We will then create a personalized detox program based on their individual needs to cleanse any toxins out of their system.

A detox program is only the first clinical phase of a multi-phase continuum of care, one that will pave the road for a successful long-term recovery journey. We believe that the best way to ensure long-term sobriety from heroin addiction is by enforcing a full continuum of care that starts with detox, moves on to inpatient rehab, and concludes with sober living or outpatient treatment.

Why Choose Concise Recovery

At Concise Recovery, we understand the harmful consequences that heroin addiction can cause. That is why we have an unwavering commitment to helping individuals start their journey to live a substance-free, healthy, and positive lifestyle. We offer safe and comprehensive heroin addiction treatment programs in California. We have years of experience serving a diverse clientele in Los Angeles, Glendale, Malibu, and more.

If you or a loved one struggles with heroin addiction, contact us at Concise Recovery today to learn more about our medically-assisted detox and comprehensive addiction treatment programs.