Making the decision to seek professional treatment for heroin addiction is the first major step towards taking your life back. The next step is to find a treatment center that provides the services to match your needs. In Atlanta, heroin recovery can be done under an inpatient or outpatient program. The more comprehensive the treatment the greater the chance for recovery and sustained sobriety.

There is a general fear that outpatient treatment may not be as effective for treating heroin addiction. But studies show that it is just as effective as residential therapy. It simply comes down to which type of program is more convenient for you and the recommendation of your physician and mental health specialist at the time of intake or admission.

What is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction is the habit of compulsively seeking the drug despite the adverse effects on physical, mental, and emotional health. Heroin is an opiate and a common type of street drug processed from morphine or the seed of the opium poppy plant. This highly addictive drug is snorted, smoked or taken as an injection into a vein.

Use may start as a “one-time” experiment for recreational purposes and end up becoming a habit as the person builds up a tolerance level for the drug. People dependent on heroin may also use other opiates as an alternative when they cannot get the drug.

Addiction can destroy the person’s family, relationships or career, yet they may continue to abuse the drug. This is because heroin addiction is a disease of the brain. It doesn’t resolve on its own and needs to be treated systematically to prevent relapse.

Deciding on Outpatient or Inpatient Heroin Rehab

There are several factors to be considered in deciding on a treatment program in Atlanta. They include:

• The length of time heroin was used and how severe the addiction is
• Whether other drugs or substances, e.g., cocaine, meth or alcohol is being used
• The existence of co-occurring mental health disorders, e.g., depression
• Preexisting medical conditions, e.g., pregnancy or epilepsy
• Whether the program allows enough time for you to recover
• Your ability to afford the cost of treatment
• Your level of commitment to supervised inpatient treatment or unsupervised outpatient treatment

Outpatient Treatment Services

• Medically-supervised detox
• Individual or group counseling
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI) and holistic therapy
• Family counseling
• Participation in 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous

Like inpatient rehab, heroin rehab at an outpatient facility in Atlanta typically begins with a period of detoxification. During this time, medical professionals may administer drugs such as methadone, buprenorphine or suboxone to cleanse your body of heroin or other opiates. Due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms, supervised medical detox is safer and reduces the risk of relapse.

Outpatient detox can last for weeks, even months, and it may take additional months before you are stabilized to the point where you no longer crave heroin. During detox, you will also receive psychological and emotional support the same way inpatient clients are treated. Psychological therapy is designed to help you uncover the underlying reasons for heroin addiction and equip you with coping skills and tips to maintain sobriety after rehab.

Benefits of Outpatient Heroin Treatment

Outpatient rehab costs less than residential treatment but clients have access to similar services offered inpatient. In addition, undergoing heroin recovery outpatient allows you to remain at home and continue daily routines in an unsupervised setting.

Outpatient rehab is suitable if you need to maintain your job, attend school or care for family members. You will attend the program and meet with your therapist for a specified number of hours per week, check in with a doctor on-site, receive medication, then go home.

The difference with outpatient rehab is the client continues to be exposed to the environmental triggers of heroin abuse. As such, a person with chronic heroin addiction may have a greater chance of long-term recovery by getting treated in a supervised inpatient setting.

Making the Commitment to Long-Term Recovery

You, or your loved one, are not alone. Anyone can become addicted to heroin. Heroin addiction currently affects millions of men and women in the US who are between the ages of 18-30. Many sought treatment and recovered, and so can you.

During your intake, a medical professional will perform a physical, psychological, and emotional evaluation to determine whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is right for you. Your insurance may cover a significant portion of your treatment. Many treatment facilities offer payment plans to suit the special circumstances of each client.

Whether treatment is done inpatient or outpatient, it is important to understand that much of the results depend on your commitment to end heroin abuse and continue to live sober after rehab. Long-term recovery hinges on you making a robust relapse prevention plan which will include a social and emotional support network. This network will be made up of family, friends, community support groups, and a therapist who will help motivate and keep you accountable.