A woman sitting alone.

Heroin addiction destroys the lives of families, businesses, and individuals every year. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, social class, or even whether or not a person is good or not. Once a person becomes hooked, there is little to do but seek help. For that reason, there are heroin addiction recovery centers all across the United States, and elsewhere. These centers come in all shapes, sizes, and prices and they all rely on one key element for success – the willingness of the addict to get clean and start a whole new life.

One key element in a heroin addiction recovery center is the detox facility. Heroin and prescription opioid addicts often need to undergo medical detox before they can enter a full rehab program. That is because the withdrawal symptoms are so painful and distracting that only a medical program can get them through it successfully. The medicines that doctors use these days are often so effective that patients are able to begin work on the mental aspects of recovery while their bodies detox from the drugs.

After detox has completed, addicts can proceed straight into either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. These programs can take many forms, but they all can be effective.

Inpatient Heroin Recovery

Inpatient heroin recovery programs are perhaps the most intensive form of substance abuse therapy. They immerse patients in classes and counseling all day long. Many will also integrate physical activity and possibly meditation. Each treatment center is different from the next, and you are likely to find many different options in your search for the right program. Some of the therapies available include, but are not limited to:

  • Equine therapy
  • Yoga
  • Religious classes and services
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Couples therapy
  • Family therapy

Inpatient treatment’s key benefit is that it takes the addict out of his or her life and allows them to gain perspective on their problems without the ordinary distractions or stressors they might associate with heroin use. In an inpatient program, they will be out of touch with their normal life, and subject to a whole set of rules that they may not be prepared for.

It can be sobering for addicts to lose much of their autonomy in an inpatient program. That is, they have their bodies and belongings searched upon intake. They are unable to bring certain items, such as knives, cellphones, certain toiletry items, and sometimes certain clothing will be restricted – such as t-shirts with provocative, drug-related messages. Once in a self-contained facility, addicts will be asked to adhere to a curfew and may even be required to turn their lights out at a certain time. The morning will come at a set time, as well, and meals are often in a communal setting.

When patients see that their drug use led them to this state, their eyes may open a bit more to the reality of heroin addiction. Though they are thankfully not in prison, they are in a healthcare facility where intensive treatments are provided. Whether those treatments are used to their maximum benefit is a choice for the addict.

Outpatient Heroin Recovery

Once detoxification is complete, heroin addicts may choose to enter an outpatient recovery program. These programs can take many different forms, as they are designed to work around the lives of individuals. Some will fill up the better part of a day, while others will only be for a few hours, before or after work.

The primary benefit of outpatient therapy is that addicts can still conduct the business of life. If they have children, they can drop them at school and then spend the day learning about relapse prevention and talking to counselors about the root causes of their disease. These programs can be helpful for professionals who need long-term treatment in order to satisfy a court or a professional licensing board. Outpatient programs offer frequent, random drug testing to ensure that the patients are indeed abstaining from all mind and mood altering substances.


While undergoing treatment, one of the key benefits is finding community and support from those who have suffered many of the same things. The problems that addicts encounter are often very similar to others. For instance, over 90% of female heroin addicts have encountered some sort of abuse, often sexual. These women are able to support each other, offering understanding, advice, and an open ear.

Since addiction is often considered a disease of isolation, it can be a revelation for an addict to find others willing to listen to their problems and offer support. When using, heroin addicts are known to lie, cheat, and steal from one another. However, once they start getting sober they can turn that negativity around and begin a life of service and helpfulness.

Both inpatient and outpatient programs offer this ability to connect. Since the participants in an outpatient program are all likely in the same town or community, they can form long-term bonds that help support recovery for a lifetime. However, in this age of instant communication and global networking, inpatient bonds can persist even if the patients live a continent (or more) apart.

If you are looking for addiction recovery, there is help. From detox to a lifetime of treatment, there are options for you.

What to Look for in a Recovery Center
  • Licensed Clinical Staff
  • Accreditation
  • Detox Facility
  • Residential Options
  • Aftercare Program
  • Strong Alumni Community