Therapies work best when combined with a pharmacologic treatment to help alleviate the drug cravings and anxiety that is part of continuing withdrawal and recovery. Exercise is an excellent tool towards recovery as well, and is strongly encouraged, as are yoga and meditation, for a whole body, mind and spirit (holistic) healing. Adding a 12-step program can also help by giving heroin addicts a voice to tell their personal stories, share their problems with other recovering addicts, and create a greater community for support, awareness and help.
The rehab process is meant to not only learn new life-coping skills, but to address the underlying causes of why the escape into heroin addiction happened in the first place. These could be rooted in childhood traumas, a specific traumatic event, or exposure to unhealthy environments where poorly formed coping skills and negative interpersonal relationships were the norm. Therapy can be continued after rehab, especially if the underlying issues have not been resolved.
New Treatment Option?
Recently, CBD (cannabidiol) oil is touted as one of this century’s best new medical discoveries. To some, CBD oil is referred to as today’s snake oil – a veritable cure-all for every known ailment under the sun. Whichever perception is taken and embraced about cannabidiol, the research on it continues. There are findings that indicate additional benefits of CBD use besides pain management and relieving chemotherapy’s discomforting side effects.
A recent study has found a promising and unexpected new use for CBD oil: for a reduction of the triggered cravings and anxiety in patients recovering from heroin use disorder. The small study, using only 42 former heroin users, was done by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. It stated that the effect of CBD on drug cravings and anxiety triggered by environmental cues was significant. This is a good thing, because most of the drug cravings from heroin addiction are environmentally triggered and can be overwhelming, putting patients at a heightened risk for relapse.
CBD oil has been shown to reduce drug cravings and anxiety and, in turn, reduces the chance of relapse and overdose risk. Although more research is needed, many health industry professionals are hopeful that further studies will confirm this and consider CBD oil as a viable option as MAT for heroin.