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Different Styles of Heroin Rehab Programs

For many, successfully recovering from heroin addiction begins with the right rehab. Depending on your needs, you can benefit from full-time inpatient rehab or a part-time outpatient setting. Other factors to consider are the cost, staff, program services, and amenities.
Determining which program is right for you can be difficult. But the following guide can help you make a decision.

Who Needs Addiction Treatment?

Are you questioning whether you or someone close to you needs addiction treatment? Maybe you’re wondering if you can just stop on your own?

Signs and symptoms of addiction include:1

  • Loss of desire to do things the person was previously interested in.
  • Using heroin in larger doses or for a longer period of time than intended.
  • Compulsively using heroin in spite of negative consequences such as debt, relationship problems, issues at school or work, or physical injury or illness.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sweating, when attempting to stop using heroin.
  • Experiencing a craving or strong desire to use heroin.
  • Needing to use a larger amount of heroin to feel the same effects.
  • Using heroin when it is physically dangerous, such as while driving a car or operating heavy machinery.
  • Inability to cut down on heroin use.
  • Spending a lot of time getting heroin and recovering from its effects.

Possible signs of drug abuse include:2
Man in withdrawal from opioids sits on bed in the dark

  • Unexplained or sudden changes in appearance or body weight.
  • Notable changes in sleep schedule or eating habits.
  • Strange odors on the person’s body or belongings.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Mood swings.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug, which can make it very difficult to quit without some form of treatment intervention. If you display several of the above signs, you may be struggling with a substance use disorder and could benefit from professional help.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Many people with heroin addictions have physical health problems that need treatment. Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and other blood-borne infections are commonly seen in people who share needles. Bacterial infections of the heart, skin, and bloodstream are common as well.3

In addition, people who are addicted to heroin have high rates of addiction to marijuana, cocaine, prescription painkillers, and alcohol.3  Many also struggle with mental health disorders such as depression, personality disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 1

When addiction exists alongside these or other disorders, the co-occurring issues are referred to as a dual diagnosis or comorbidity. Many addiction rehab programs are equipped to manage both the heroin addiction and any comorbid conditions. People with co-occurring disorders are at a high risk for relapse and need a special kind of integrative treatment that can address both conditions at the same time.4,5

What Are the Different Forms of Heroin Rehab?

Several different types of rehab programs are available to help people who are addicted to heroin. These programs vary in terms of their setting, the frequency and types of treatment methods available, the additional amenities and services offered, the locations, and the overall costs.

Common examples include:

Syringe and spoon with heroin

  • Inpatient/residential heroin rehab. Residential treatment refers to treatment that provides 24-hour care and in which person lives at the rehab facility. They have access to medical support around the clock and regularly participate in individual and group therapy, as well as other recovery activities.
  • Outpatient heroin rehab. Types of outpatient treatment include standard outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization. Both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs are relatively time-intensive treatment options. Rather than participating in treatment 1-2 hours a day every week, you would spend 3-5 or more hours a day several times a week in treatment. These programs are often sought as step-down treatment for people who have just finished inpatient rehab.
  • Holistic heroin rehab. Holistic heroin rehab combines non-traditional forms of therapy, such as art therapy, tai chi, and yoga with traditional therapies to address the person as a whole—mind, body, and spirit.
  • Teen heroin rehab. Teens who are addicted to heroin have different treatment needs than adults, such as help with self-esteem, body image issues, and peer pressure. They also experience different mental, physical, and social consequences from heroin use, such as a drop in school performance. Teen rehab is structured in a way that addresses those needs.
  • Gender-based rehab. Women and men may use drugs differently, experience different consequences of their drug use, and face different hurdles in accessing treatment.6 Gender-based rehab programs are geared toward men or women specifically, which some people may find helpful and supportive in the recovery process.
  • Special populations. Certain groups of people, such as the elderly or LGBT population, may also have different needs when it comes to rehab. Therefore, there are programs that are focused on their specific needs and allow them to work to overcome their addiction in a more comfortable setting.

Choosing a Program

To choose the right heroin rehab program for your needs, there are several factors you’ll want to consider, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:7

  • Costs can vary a great deal, especially depending on if the program accepts your insurance or not. Some programs provide a sliding fee scale or will work with you on a payment plan.
  • Credentials of staff. Whether the staff are licensed or have experience in heroin addiction treatment is very important.
  • Credentials of program. Similarly, whether the program is licensed or accredited is important.
  • Program services. Make sure the program can treat any medical or psychological problems you or your loved one has, and address legal, employment, or educational issues. Whether the program has experience treating opioid addictions is also something to ask about beforehand.
  • Ongoing care after rehab is critical to help maintain sobriety. Verify that the program helps coordinate an aftercare plan for you when you discharge.
  • Individualized treatment. Check to see if the program creates treatment plans based on the unique needs of patients and that these plans are frequently monitored and adjusted, if necessary.
  • Culturally appropriate care. If you are concerned about care specific to your gender, age, sexual orientation, or race, ensure that the program can offer it.

These are just a few of the details that you’ll want to consider when selecting a heroin rehab program. Other items that you might consider include whether the program offers medical detox—if your opioid dependence is severe and you are at risk of unpleasant withdrawal—and what kinds of amenities it provides, such as catering to dietary needs.

Heroin treatment can save lives. For anyone struggling with addiction, it is important to seek professional treatment. Use the directory on this website to find the right treatment program for your needs.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (5th Ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association Publishing.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017). Frequently Asked Questions.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Today’s Heroin Epidemic.
  4. Prodromou, M., Kyritsi, E., and Samartzis, L. (2014). Dual diagnosis affects prognosis in patients with drug dependence in integrative care setting. Health Science Journal, 8(2), 216-228.
  5. National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2017). Dual Diagnosis.
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use.
  7. (2015). A Quick Guide to Finding Effective Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment.

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