Heroin Rehab Aftercare and Relapse Prevention
What is Heroin Rehab Aftercare?Aftercare helps build on the progress made in treatment. Since heroin addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, aftercare is critical to solidifying and building on gains made in the critical days of detox, early stabilization and initial treatment.
Is Heroin Rehab Aftercare Necessary?
"The longer the duration of interventions such as aftercare, the better the outcome for maintaining recovery..."
The longer the duration of interventions such as aftercare, the better the outcome for maintaining recovery.
While you may be discouraged about the rate of relapse among heroin addicts after treatment, you need to know that aftercare interventions do work.
The Benefit of Relapse Prevention
Relapse often happens, not as the result of environmental triggers—which may be encountered frequently during early recovery—but through the failure to cope adequately with negative emotions resulting from interpersonal conflicts and other problems or stressors.
Effective relapse prevention will emphasize the repair of damaged relationships, helping to form new ones, working on lingering effects of trauma, and enhancing self-esteem and self-efficacy, in addition to learning skills which can sensitize those struggling with addiction to early warning signs of relapse.
In a group setting, continuing care can be extended to a person who has relapsed on heroin. In this scenario, a compassionate group facilitator will 'model' how to overcome maladaptive thinking patterns and feelings which can trigger relapse.
Heroin Abuse is a Chronic Condition
"Chronic illnesses are treatable and people recover, but lifestyle changes and interventions will need to endure for a lifetime to avoid relapse..."
Heroin dependency can be a long-term concern, similar to any chronic illness such as diabetes or heart disease. Chronic illness differs from acute illness in the sense that the latter condition passes with time and treatment, e.g. a bad infection.
Chronic illnesses are treatable and people recover, but lifestyle changes and interventions will need to endure for a lifetime to avoid relapse.
Relapse can happen with chronic illnesses, which does not mean that the treatment has failed, or that you are a failure.
A study of relapse rates for the chronic illnesses of addiction, diabetes, asthma and hypertension found that addiction had a relapse rate of 40-60% compared to 50-70% for hypertension and asthma.
Continuing work in aftercare may include trying alternative interventions which will work for you. That may take time, so don’t get discouraged if you cannot stay off heroin on your first experience with recovery.
Continuing Care Options
Counseling Interventions / Group Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
12-Step Facilitation Treatment
Follow-up Medical Treatment
Sober Living / Therapeutic Community
Contingency Management (CM)
Supporting Family and Friends with Heroin Recovery
"Interpersonal and familial factors can contribute to the progression of addiction..."
Given the psychosocial nature of addiction, both the heroin-addicted individual as well as his/her family can benefit from focused recovery efforts.
Multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) is an empirically supported family-focused therapy which specializes in youth drug abuse and family interaction.
Interpersonal and familial factors can contribute to the progression of addiction. MDFT focuses on creating a practical and reachable alternative to drug use for the teen and enhanced emotional connection by the parent for the teen.
This in turn fosters what some parents call “soul searching” of themselves, resulting in improved family functioning and cohesion.
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