Heroin is a highly addictive opioid. The term opioid refers to a class of drugs that is chemically similar to the opium that comes from poppies. Throughout history, these drugs have been used to relieve pain, but they have also been widely misused. The misuse of heroin and other opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone can have serious health consequences. In 2011, there were more than 17,000 instances where people died due to overdosing on opioids.
Heroin can come in the form of a white powder or black, sticky goo that is called black tar heroin. Its effects include euphoria and drowsiness. Heroin is often abused by injecting, snorting or smoking it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), over 4.8 million people report that they have used heroin at some point in their lives and over 681,000 people used the drug in 2014. While the use of heroin is still small in comparison to the use of other drugs, it has risen significantly in the past 11 years.
About Heroin Addiction
The reality is that heroin addiction, as well as addiction to other drugs is treatable and people have been able to stop using drugs and resume healthy, productive lives. While addiction may not be curable in the sense that other chronic diseases are curable, treatment may be used to counteract the effect on a substance abuser’s brain and behavior.
A relapse does not necessarily indicate failure of the treatment. The reality is that addiction to any substance is a chronic disease, which makes relapses likely. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that between 40 and 60 percent of recovering drug addicts will eventually relapse. With heroin, those rates are even higher. Some experts place the rate of relapse for heroin addicts as high as 80 percent, which means that the recovery rate may be as low as 20 percent. The rates of relapse are similar to those seen in other chronic illnesses including diabetes and asthma. Relapses for recovering substance abusers mean that the therapy must be tried again, or adjusted. Relapses may also mean that another form of therapy must be tried.
About Heroin Recovery
A report from the National Institutes of Health states that at present, only approximately 20 percent of the nation’s heroin addicts have sought or received treatment for their addiction. Because heroin addiction is multidimensional and affects numerous aspects of the addict’s life, the treatment is not a simple process. The focus of addiction treatment is to get the individual to stop using and then to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
This form of therapy involves structured meetings with a mental health counselor. The focus is on helping the individual to become aware of negative thinking and to start viewing challenging situations in such a way that they are able to respond more effectively.
Why Seek Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Heroin Addiction?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can provide an addict with insights on why they started using heroin in the first place. The addict will look beyond their physical dependence and at the core problem behind their addiction. It is possible for an individual to go through withdrawal and have no physical compulsion to take heroin and yet, still relapse. This is because they have not dealt with their underlying need for the drug. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help to provide them with strategies to ensure that they remain sober. These strategies can help to reduce the potential for relapse.