Updated: 18 January 2023 & medically reviewed by Dr. Lindeman
Many people find it hard to overcome an opioid addiction on their own. Seeking residential treatment from an inpatient rehab center or outpatient rehab clinic can help people overcome their addictions.
- Treatment centers offer the best environment to aid withdrawal and increase the chances of successful recovery from an opioid painkiller or heroin addiction
- Along with medical treatment, inpatient programs offer therapy, group support, and other activities to help shift focus from opioid abuse
- Some people benefit from peer-led support groups that provide a safe place for people in recovery to come together, share and discuss their addiction to opioid drugs
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Treating opioid addiction
Effective treatments for opioid addiction involve both outpatient and inpatient services. Depending on the facility, treatment may include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), supervision, support groups, and case management, or some combination of these.
Treatment centers offer the best environment to aid withdrawal and increase the chances of successful recovery from an opioid painkiller or heroin addiction. Co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety can also often be treated in an opioid addiction rehab center.
Treatment options for prescription opioid addiction
The detox process from opioids can be strenuous on the mind and body, and withdrawal symptoms can leave people feeling ill and achy for a week, or sometimes even longer. Many treatment programs offer both prescribed medication that can help the withdrawal process and group or individual therapy to teach new coping skills.
When choosing a treatment center, someone suffering from opioid addiction should consider seeking input from a licensed professional specializing in addiction. This way, they can receive clinical guidance about what options are available to them and which treatment might best meet their needs. There are numerous opioid treatment programs ready to help those struggling with opioid use disorders, including those listed below.
Some people benefit from inpatient rehab programs when they are first working to overcome a heroin addiction. Inpatient treatment centers eliminate external factors, like environmental and social triggers, and help with the detox process, making it easier to get through initial opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Along with medical treatment, inpatient programs offer therapy, group support, and other activities to help shift focus from opioid abuse. Each rehab is different and may provide specialties that others don’t. For example, some offer specialized treatments using cognitive behavioral therapy, equine therapy, or art therapy, and some even offer high-end luxury accommodations. Stays at inpatient treatment centers often last between 30 and 90 days, though some will be longer.
Outpatient treatment is recommended for those who have completed inpatient rehab to continue treatment and prevent relapse. Research shows that staying in treatment for 6 months or more helps improve long-term sobriety rates significantly.  There are many forms of outpatient treatment that are recommended for different stages of recovery from opioid addiction.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
Often classed as the most intense form of outpatient care, PHP requires patients to attend treatment most, if not all, days of the week while living at home. Treatment normally involves structured whole-day programs that may include individual and group treatment, drug screens, and meetings with a psychiatrist or prescriber (if needed). This treatment is beneficial for those who require a high level of care and support with their recovery or those who are stepping down from inpatient rehab.
Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
The step down from partial hospitalization programs (often used by PHP patients as the next step) IOP requires patients to attend treatment for three hours a day, often for five days a week but declining as recovery improves. Most IOP programs offer a mix of psychiatric medication (if needed), urine drug screens, recovery skills groups, and individual counseling or case management.
Standard outpatient treatment
Standard outpatient treatment usually only requires attendance one to two times a week and often involves individual counseling, group counseling, family therapy, or some blend of these. Those with less severe addictions or who have already established their sobriety may find this level of treatment meets their needs.
Medications for recovery from opioid addiction
Some people benefit from receiving medication that can ease the withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings during early recovery from opioid addiction. The most common forms of medication used to treat opioid addiction include :
Buprenorphine: is highly effective at helping with cravings and painful opioid withdrawal symptoms and is often used in medication-assisted therapy (MAT) as well as buprenorphine maintenance therapy.
Methadone: often known by the brand name dolophine, is an opioid that works similarly to buprenorphine, despite being stronger. This medicine has more side effects than some other medications and does carry the risk of abuse.
Naltrexone: Naltrexone blocks heroin and other opioids from reaching the opioid receptors in the brain, effectively preventing the drug from working. By blocking the euphoric effect of opioids on the limbic system, it is intended to reduce heroin dependence by making the process of abuse unfulfilling.
Suboxone: A combination of buprenorphine and Naltrexone, Suboxone helps with withdrawal symptoms and inhibits the effects of opioids on the brain. This medication is often preferred over methadone because it is thought to be non-intoxicating. It does, however, cause withdrawal symptoms when a person stops using it.
Clonidine: A medication that can help to ease many of the physical symptoms associated with heroin and other opioid withdrawals.
Support groups for recovery from opioid addiction
Some people benefit from peer-led support groups that provide a safe place for people in recovery to come together, share, and discuss their addiction to opioid drugs. These groups can be an excellent supplement for those receiving other treatment forms or those who have already completed other treatments.
While not considered a formal treatment, support groups like 12 step meetings (i.e., Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) and Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) recovery have proven success in helping people get and stay clean and sober.
Get help with opioid addiction today
Addiction to opioid painkillers and heroin can be devastating for the user and their loved ones. The pain and discomfort of withdrawal symptoms mean many addicts struggle to begin detoxification from opioids on their own. That’s why addiction treatment and rehab centers are vital resources for those looking to recover. Setting up a call or appointment with a treatment center or licensed addiction specialist can help you determine which treatment is right for you. With treatment, many people can overcome their addiction to heroin or other opioids and establish a fulfilling drug-free lifestyle.