Rehab heroin addiction: When to choose inpatient vs. outpatient

Addicted to heroin? Here we discuss the treatment options for heroin. This can help you make a decision between inpatient or outpatient treatment settings. Find the best suitable option for your heroin addiction. Read more here.

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Heroin is an extremely addictive drug. With prolonged and chronic use, it’s extremely difficult to quit heroin without the help of medical professionals or a structured rehab treatment program.

But, how can you stop heroin? What is the right approach to treating heroin addiction? Should you check into an inpatient rehab, or is outpatient treatment enough?

In this article we outline the main differences between residential and outpatient heroin rehabilitation. So, continue reading before you make a final decision. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the designated section below and we will respond personally and promptly.

Why do you need heroin addiction rehab?

Repetitive and chronic heroin use leads to:

1. Tolerance, which means you need more and more of heroin to be able to get the wanted effects.
2. Physical dependence, which means your body has adapted to the presence of heroin in the system and cannot function normally without it.
3. Psychological dependence, which means you believe that you cannot function or experience satisfaction without heroin.
4. Addiction, which means you may be aware of the harm heroin is causing to you, but you feel unable to stop.

Due to the seriousness of negative consequences, heroin users are advised to seek help from a heroin detoxification facility and a rehab center to help manage all these conditions. Detox clinics can help you manage heroin withdrawal side effects and symptoms. They also provide psychological therapies and support. During heroin rehab, you will be monitored and assisted by teams of doctors, nurses, and addiction counselors.

The most important reason why you need drug addiction rehab is because the chances of relapse are very high when heroin addicts try to quit by themselves. Rehab, on the other hand, can provide a better chance for you to become heroin-free and continue to live a sober life.

Inpatient vs. outpatient heroin rehabilitation

Before you check into an inpatient or an outpatient rehab, it helps to be better informed about the structure of each. The best way you can approach treating your heroin addiction caries by individual. So, it is important to be aware of the key differences.

1. Length of the treatment program

INPATIENT: Inpatient rehab treatments lasts for an average of 28-30 DAYS. For more serious cases, individuals are asked to stay longer in rehab, for about 60-90 DAYS. These types of programs include an intake session – where you are physically examined and interview, and an individualized treatment plan is created according to the severity of your condition.

OUTPATIENT: Outpatient heroin programs usually last around 10-16 weeks, but they can last for months or even years depending on individual needs. There are also intensive outpatient heroin addiction treatments which consist of two-hour group meetings, 3-5 nights a week.Outpatient treatment includes counseling and therapy sessions which are held daily or weekly, but do not require you to live in the facility. Instead, you are expected to attend group meetings, typically in the evenings, and maybe also see a counselor a few times a week.

2. Cost of heroin rehab

INPATIENT: The average cost of inpatient heroin rehab is around $6,000 for a 30-day program. High quality residential rehabs usually cost $20,000 and can go up to $40,000 for a 30-day program. The average cost of 60 or 90 day rehab programs ranges anywhere between $12,000 to $60,000.

OUTPATIENT: On average, outpatient heroin rehab costs around $5,000 for a three (3) month program. The price tag depends on how often you visits the treatment center each week and for how long.

3. Residence

INPATIENT: In inpatient heroin rehab you are expected to completely devote yourself to your recovery for the duration of your treatment program. Inpatient treatment programs usually include medically supervised detox, medication therapy and aftercare. This type of treatment is very structured and pulls the patient completely out of their environment.

OUTPATIENT: In outpatient heroin rehab you will continue to live at home, continue to attend to your regular work, school, and family duties, but also come to the facility for treatment. Outpatient rehab settings generally grant you more freedom while allowing you to working on your addiction issues.

4. Detoxification

There are two types of medically assisted safe heroin detox treatments: The first type of detox replaces heroin with another drug and gradually decreases the amount of the replacement drug over a period of time. Another type of detox method removes all traces of heroin from your body and this type of method is also called a natural detoxification. But, what is the difference between inpatient vs. outpatient drug detox programs?

INPATIENT: Most inpatient heroin rehabs include the cost for detox in the cost of the program. Heroin is a drug with dangerous detox side effects and therefore require more careful monitoring, which eventually makes the price higher.

OUTPATIENT: Outpatient heroin detoxification ranges somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500. Outpatient clinics usually refer you out to a detox clinic, and require you to come back to the facility for treatment once detox is done.

How can I decide between inpatient and outpatient heroin rehab?

Deciding whether you should choose inpatient or outpatient drug rehab, and which treatment is appropriate will depend on:

  • the length of time you have been using heroin
  • quantities of heroin you use
  • the level of your motivation

Heroin addicts who experience intervention early – before addiction has become severe – may experience a less complicated rehabilitation process. Such individuals may benefit from outpatient rehab.

However, if you have been using heroin long-term and have developed a more serious addiction, then you require a more structured and medically supervised environment. Such individuals can benefit most from inpatient heroin rehab.

What should heroin rehab programs offer?

You can expect to go through the following stages during any rehab treatment inpatient or outpatient:

  • Assessment
  • Treatment matching
  • Planning for detox and withdrawal
  • Supportive care
  • Medication therapy

Inpatient and outpatient heroin rehab questions

Do you still have doubts about choosing an inpatient or outpatient rehab setting for heroin addiction? Please post your questions in the comments section below. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will gladly refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: NSF: Guidelines for the management of heroin withdrawal
DrugAbuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
NCBI: Inpatient vs outpatient treatment for substance dependence revisited
Herzanek, J. (2010) Why don’t they just quit. Changing Lives Fondation.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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