Thousands of people in the United States are affected by heroin addiction. And each year, tens of thousands of people seek treatment.
Beginning a rehab program for heroin addiction can be intimidating, both for those seeking treatment and their loved ones.
Knowing what to expect from a rehab program, and what types of treatment are offered, can help individuals and loved ones prepare for this early stage of the addiction recovery process.
Types Of Heroin Rehab Programs
Heroin use disorder, or heroin addiction, can be treated in various settings. Addiction to heroin can be treated with medication and counseling, or within a residential rehab program.
Types of heroin rehab programs include:
- inpatient rehab programs
- medication-assisted treatment
- day treatment programs
- intensive outpatient programs
- general outpatient programs
Rehab programs can differ in their intensity, structure, and length. Treatment for heroin addiction can involve both behavioral and pharmaceutical approaches.
The standard type of rehab program for people in the beginning of their recovery process is an inpatient or residential treatment program, which involves temporarily living in a rehab facility.
What To Expect From Heroin Rehab Programs
Many drug and alcohol rehab programs last 28 to 90 days, on average. This program length can vary depending on where you seek treatment.
Once you have selected a rehab center, the first step in the rehab process involves admitting into the treatment facility and undergoing an initial intake process.
Admission For Heroin Rehab
Checking into a rehab center is the first step of the treatment process. Upon arrival at a rehab facility, staff will check the individual in and begin an initial assessment.
This initial assessment will focus on getting more information about the patient’s medical and mental health history in order to develop an initial treatment plan.
Information gathered through this assessment might include:
- duration of heroin use
- severity of addiction
- use of other drugs
- mental health history
- medical history
- prior experience in treatment
- insurance information
With this information, rehab staff can begin developing a customized treatment plan that is suited to meet the patient’s personal needs.
Detoxing From Heroin During Rehab
One of the most difficult parts of getting off heroin is the withdrawal process. Within a rehab program, heroin withdrawal symptoms can be treated through acute detox.
What to expect during detox:
- feeling physically sick
- experiencing cravings for heroin
- medication for withdrawal symptoms
- regular check-ins from medical professionals
- fluid support for dehydration
Detox services are offered by some inpatient rehab centers. Alternatively, some rehab facilities partner with nearby detox centers to coordinate a transition from detox into a rehab program.
The acute detox program lasts five to seven days on average. After this, patients will begin their rehab program, which will involve attending treatment according to a predetermined schedule.
Treatment For Heroin Addiction
Rehab programs for heroin addiction offer a structured treatment schedule customized according to each person’s needs and goals for treatment.
What a treatment schedule may involve:
- individual counseling sessions
- behavioral therapy
- group therapy
- relapse prevention groups
- taking medication for heroin use disorder
- dual diagnosis treatment
- support groups
- holistic therapies (e.g. mindfulness, meditation)
- faith-based treatment services
- recreational and social activities
- medical care
Meals and lodging are provided during rehab. Meal plans and fitness schedules may be developed according to each person’s medical needs to support their physical recovery.
Therapy And Counseling In Rehab
Heroin addiction isn’t an illness that just affects the body. It also affects the mind, including a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Behavioral therapy and counseling are evidence-based practices that can address the effects of addiction on a person’s life and provide skills to support their lifelong recovery.
Types of behavioral therapies for heroin addiction include:
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- motivational enhancement therapy
- contingency management
- 12-step facilitation
- family behavior therapy
- motivational interviewing
Therapy and counseling sessions may be offered individually or within a group setting. Family therapy and couples counseling is also offered on a weekly basis within some rehab programs.
Group Therapy During Heroin Rehab
Group therapy can be an effective treatment for various types of addictions, including heroin addiction, in conjunction with other pharmacological and behavioral therapies.
- interpersonal process groups
- skill development groups
- addiction education groups
- dual diagnosis groups
- relapse prevention groups
- behavioral therapy groups
- expressive groups (e.g. art, music, dance)
Within a group setting, patients can learn more about themselves, how to navigate life in heroin recovery, and learn from the experiences of others.
Group therapy is a key component of many heroin rehab programs and may be offered in different formats throughout the day.
Medications For Heroin Use Disorder
Research shows that the use of certain medications for heroin addiction can be effective for reducing heroin cravings, motivating a person to stay in treatment, and preventing fatal relapse.
Medications for heroin use disorder include:
- Methadone treatment for heroin addiction: Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist that is safe and effective for long-term use when taken as directed. This is also known as methadone maintenance therapy.
- Buprenorphine (Suboxone) treatment for heroin addiction: Suboxone is a prescription medicine that can relieve heroin cravings and reduce the risk of fatal overdose in the case of relapse.
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol) treatment for heroin addiction: Vivitrol is an injectable medicine administered on a monthly basis. This can block the effects of opioids like heroin.
The types of medications offered for heroin addiction at a treatment center can vary. Not all rehab centers offer the same types of medication-assisted treatment.
Medications for heroin use disorder may be taken on a daily or monthly basis depending on the type of medication and the recommendation of clinical staff at the rehab center.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment During Heroin Rehab
Nearly 10 million people in the United States have both a substance use and mental health disorder. Mental health issues among people who are addicted to heroin is common.
Co-occurring heroin addiction and mental health disorders can be best treated through an integrated approach. This is known as dual diagnosis treatment, which is offered within some rehab facilities.
Dual diagnosis treatment may involve individual mental health counseling, dual diagnosis group therapy, and psychiatric services.
Relapse Prevention For Heroin Addiction
A core component within a rehab program for heroin addiction is planning for life outside of a treatment center, which includes preparing for triggers and other challenges.
Relapse prevention planning is a service that is often offered within rehab programs. This can teach supportive coping strategies, stress management techniques, and relapse prevention skills.
Continued Care For Heroin Addiction Recovery
The road to recovery from heroin addiction doesn’t end after completing a rehab program.
Prior to the completion of a rehab program, rehab staff will typically work with patients to develop a continued care or aftercare plan for maintaining recovery.
Continued care may involve:
- coordinating treatment with outpatient treatment providers
- connecting individuals with job or housing assistance
- finding a supportive housing program
- creating a relapse prevention plan
Continued care support is intended to help set a person up for success in their recovery, which is a long-term process of rebuilding a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.
Creating a roadmap for how to maintain abstinence from heroin following a rehab program can be beneficial both for individuals and loved ones supporting patients on this journey.
Step-Down Rehab Programs For Heroin Addiction
After completing an inpatient program, treatment professionals commonly recommend transitioning into a step-down program for continued support in early recovery.
Step-down programs for heroin addiction include:
- partial hospitalization/day treatment
- intensive outpatient programs
- general outpatient programs
Step-down rehab programs can provide structure and ongoing treatment for people who can benefit from additional support as they transition back into a normal routine.
These programs may involve attending treatment at a rehab facility each weekday or once a week for anywhere from three to eight hours a day, depending on the type of program.
Benefits Of Heroin Rehab Programs
Overcoming an addiction to heroin isn’t easy, especially for people who have been using heroin for a long time. For people with chronic addiction, a rehab program can offer many benefits.
What heroin rehab programs can offer:
- medical support for heroin withdrawal
- opportunity to develop healthy habits
- supportive coping strategies
- care coordination for long-term support
- reduced risk of relapse back into the cycle of addiction
- higher chance of achieving long-term recovery
Leaving home to begin a rehab program offers an opportunity to start afresh in a supportive environment away from potential triggers.
Within a rehab program, patients can focus full-time on their recovery and the process of healing from the effects of addiction on the mind, body, and spirit.
Heroin Rehab FAQs
It’s common to have questions about heroin rehab and what the process might look like. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about heroin treatment.
❓ How Long Do Rehab Programs For Heroin Addiction Last?
✔️ Drug rehab programs generally last 28 to 60 days, or up to 90 days for residential care. The length of a rehab program can vary depending on the type of program.
Average length of rehab programs by program types:
- Detox Program: 5 to 7 days
- Inpatient Rehab: 28 to 60 days
- Outpatient Rehab: 30 to 90 days+
- Long-Term Residential Treatment: 6 to 12 months
The length of a rehab program can also vary depending on the offerings of specific rehab centers and the needs of each individual patient.
❓ What Do I Need To Bring To A Heroin Rehab Program?
✔️ Bringing essential items and comfortable items from home can help people settle into a rehab program more easily.
Items to pack for a rehab program might include:
- personal hygiene items
- license or ID card
- health insurance card
- money (cash, debit card, credit card)
Some items, including electronic devices with WIFI capabilities, may be restricted during treatment.
Prior to beginning a rehab program, contact the rehab facility to ask which types of items are permitted.
Rehab staff should be available to answer questions about recommended items to bring during your stay.
❓ How Much Does Heroin Rehab Cost?
✔️ Rehab costs vary according to a wide range of factors, including the type of program, whether you plan to use health insurance, and the specific rehab center chosen.
Without health insurance, a 30-day inpatient rehab program can cost thousands of dollars. With insurance, inpatient rehab may be fully or partially covered under your insurance policy.
By calling our helpline, we can verify your insurance and determine how much a rehab program for heroin addiction may cost you.
❓ Are There Free Heroin Rehab Centers?
✔️ Many rehab centers across the United States offer free rehab or low-cost rehab for people who lack health insurance or are very low-income.
Not all rehab programs are free, however. If you have health insurance, the cost of rehab may be dramatically reduced if you find a rehab center that accepts your insurance.
❓ How Long Does It Take To Recover From Heroin Addiction?
✔️ Recovery from heroin addiction is not a one-size-fits-all process. Overcoming an addiction can take time. Many people consider addiction recovery a lifelong journey.
Beginning a rehab program can, for many, be the first step in that journey. The process of achieving full recovery requires ample time, patience, self-compassion, resources to support your journey, and personal motivation.
❓ Is It Possible To Recover From Heroin Addiction?
✔️ Yes. If you’re struggling with addiction or have a loved one who is addicted: no matter how impossible it might feel now, achieving recovery from heroin addiction is possible.
With time and treatment, building a happy and successful life in recovery is a reality that can be yours. One step at a time.
Call Today To Find A Heroin Rehab Program
Don’t wait to learn more about how you can help yourself or a loved one begin their path towards heroin addiction recovery.
Call our helpline to learn more about heroin addiction treatment and to find the best heroin rehab program for yourself or a loved one today.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—Medication-Assisted Treatment
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide (Third Edition)
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—Types of Treatment Programs