Is the Opioid Crisis responsible for helping to mobilize some of the greatest new approaches to help people change? Or have these great techniques been brewing under the surface, being applied to different problems and issues, highlighted now because of the vast numbers affected by opioid addiction?

I’m not sure about this chicken and egg story, but I do know that the very numbers of people affected have helped to motivate people from parents to medical and counseling professionals to volunteers, to understand what is the best way to help their loved ones, friends, or patients stay alive, number one, and flourish in their life, number two.

How Does Someone Help a Heroin Addict Detox?

Being able to treat heroin addiction involves many forms of therapy and most importantly, a medical detox. However, for those individuals who do not perceive their addiction as a problem, the road can be a slippery slope. Fundamentally, the choice to use drugs is theirs. One specific approach that we see time and time again in rehabilitation facilities, is something called Motivational Interviewing (MI).

This approach is essentially defined as a counseling method which involves inhaling a patient's motivation to change by means of four specific guiding principles. The acronym for these principles is RULE:

  • Resisting the righting reflex
  • Understanding the patient's own motivations
  • Listening with empathy
  • Empowering the patient
  • In the end, if adhered to properly, you will know what the patient wants to do with their life and be able to determine if they themselves are willing to put the first step forward towards recovery.

    Often the best approach is to have them consider what they most value. A relationship, a job, a pet, a position, their health, etc., and consider how drug use is affecting this important aspect of their life.

    In the Contemplative or Preparation stage of change, MI can help reveal patients’ confidence at being able to make even the smallest changes in the service of what they value. Here one cannot underrate the importance of the patient to be working with someone who can guide them to the best resources for helping them where they are at the moment.

    The Action phase of behavioral change is where the patient is actually implementing their plan.

    Additional methodology around using motivational interviewing to help aid a heroin addict includes:

  • Collaboration vs. Confrontation
  • Evocation (Drawing out, rather than imposing ideas)
  • Autonomy vs. Authority
  • Expressing Empathy
  • Supporting Self-Efficacy
  • Your overall dialogue can really flow from there, and in the hand of a skilled and compassionate therapist, the patient is then respectfully guided towards looking inside and answering specific empathetic and supportive questions.

    In addition, it is important to recognize and understand that aside from the right methodology, many patients may also be experiencing physical heroin dependence which can lead an addict to believe he or she cannot function without heroin. While this may make sense to some on many levels, it can also be a new concept for many individuals to realize.


    Understanding Heroin

    Learning about heroin and addiction is always a good start to gaining further insight to how the drug can be abused and how it affects a patient. Because heroin addiction is characterized by changes in the brain and uncontrollable behaviors; the feeling while on the high is usually described as "euphoric". Because the drug can leave a patient with such strong feelings of pleasure, well-being, and joy - these strong indicators will also leave a patient wanting more and essentially lead to dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

    Heroin also enters the brain and converts back to a morphine which binds the opioid receptors that are located throughout the body and brain. These opioid receptors are primarily involved in pain perception and "reward". Hence, why using this dangerous drug increases pleasurable feelings and blurs any physical or emotional "pain". The upside to the devastating need for use of heroin, is that there are treatment methods available that can address heroin dependence in the right setting and with the right plan.

    Heroin Detox Treatment

    At the Coleman Institute, we believe in creating a comfortable way to detox quickly. And, our practice has been helping motivated patents for every twenty-five years achieve their sobriety goals. With the Coleman Method we focus on using non-addictive drugs and sedatives in order to completely remove the opiates attached to the brain receptors in the fastest means. Additionally, our Accelerated Opioid Detox takes as little as three days, which requires no hospital stay and avoids the horrible experiences of self-detox which can last for weeks and is much more dangerous on our your own. Additionally, because this treatment only takes a few days, there is little room for disruption to a patient's day-to-day life and their road to long-term recovery is more manageable.

    At the Coleman Institute, we also recognize that heroin addiction can happen to anyone and just one dose can cause dependency. That being said, our treatment also incorporates naltrexone, which can help give a patient confidence in maintaining their opioid abstinence. This also helps patients get off all opioid medications. This includes, but is not limited to: oxycodone, hydromorpone, hydrocodone, Vicodin®, Vicoprofen®, Roxicontin®, Roxicet®, Roxicodone®, Dilaudid®, heroin, fentanyl, buprenorphine, and more.

    Our head doctor, Dr. Coleman has trained doctors around the country to use his protocols for helping patients reclaim what they value most in their lives; those people and things that have been neglected and forsaken because of their Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Also, as the nation's most experienced leader in naltrexone therapy, we are well positioned to be part of your loved one's long term strategy to remain off opioids for good.

    When motivation is strong, be prepared to enhance confidence with a rapid opioid detox and long acting naltrexone therapy.

    Give us a call to see if we are a good fit for each other.

    Joan R. Shepherd, FNP