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Chicagoland’s Premier Heroin Treatment Center

Expert Help for Heroin Addiction in an Outpatient Setting

SunCloud Health offers Dignified, personalized treatment for heroin addiction.

“Not why the addiction but why the pain.”
― Gabor Maté

Has heroin abuse taken over your life – or the life of someone you love?

If you’re ready to get your life back, we are here for you.

There is a lot to know about these drugs and the patterns that caused you to get involved with them. But the main thing to know is that heroin recovery is possible. We have helped thousands of people overcome their dependency – and we will help you make the journey, too.

The time is NOW. Starting today, you can take back your body, mind and spirit and embrace the health and happiness you deserve. Call our heroin treatment center today.

Here are a few things to know as you, or someone you care about, begins the journey.


At SunCloud Health, we approach heroin treatment in a holistic, integrated and medically informed way. We meet you where you are and assist you in moving forward, one step at a time.

As a very wise teacher once said, “Only when compassion is present will people allow themselves to see the truth.” Your recovery begins with compassion for yourself – which empowers you to understand and even befriend the pain that underlies your addiction. When you begin to see pain as a valuable teacher, you are on the way to releasing the bonds that the drug has placed on your life.


Chris Stewart, MD. Board Certified Psychiatrist answers, does addiction treatment work?


Here are some basic facts about heroin that everyone should know. If someone you care about is struggling with heroin addiction, please take a few minutes to read these facts. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to help your loved one.

Heroin is a highly addictive substance that comes in powder form. It may look like a white or brown powder or even a sticky, black substance.

All heroin is made from morphine, a natural substance that is derived from the opium poppy. Heroin producers harvest the poppy plants and extract the resin from the plant’s seed pod, refining it to make morphine, then “cutting” (or diluting) it with various other substances to create the street drug we know as heroin.

Heroin can be mixed with water and injected into the bloodstream. It can also be snorted or even smoked. The drug is most powerful when injected, and this is why intravenous use is most popular with addicts.

Once a heroin user takes a “hit,” s/he experiences a powerful rush of dopamine, the “happiness” chemical that governs the brain. The result is a feeling of euphoria and total freedom from worry. The intensity of these feelings depends on how much heroin the user has taken in, but also depends on the purity of the drug.

The effects of this dopamine rush can be very intense, creating feelings of comfort, happiness and freedom. This effect is one of the reasons that heroin is so very addictive.


Help is one click or call away
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We often think of heroin and opioid addiction as two unique trends, recent studies show that there is a strong relationship between the two. Did you know that:

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients whose doctors prescribe opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent of these users will develop an opioid-related disorder.
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent of those who misuse prescription opioids will transition to heroin use.
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin actually began by using prescription opioids.

You may have heard news reports documenting the opioid crisis we are experiencing in the Chicago area and the Midwest. One study shows that opioid overdoses increased 70 percent from July 2016 to September 2017 – and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. In many U.S states, opioid overdoses in major cities like ours have increased by more than 50 percent.

The crisis we are facing is real. If you or someone you love is addicted, the crisis is also very personal.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


Experts don’t know exactly what causes heroin addiction. We cannot tell who will fall prey to these drugs and who will not. However, we do know that addiction is often associated with other problems. Here are some of the risk factors uncovered by research to date.

Psychological issues. Many drug users are suffering from an underlying mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety. Often, these issues go undiagnosed and untreated for years – leaving the individual in a constant state of pain and confusion. Heroin may seem like a very good way to ease the symptoms of a mental condition that the user is not fully aware of – or has not taken full responsibility for addressing.

Brain chemistry. Since heroin triggers the release of pleasurable neurotransmitters in the brain, people who have a natural deficiency of these neurotransmitters may seek out heroin or other opiates. The drug quickly becomes a way to feel better – and addiction is the result.

Early life influences. People who are raised in a home environment where parents, relatives or caregivers abuse drugs will face a much higher risk of addiction later in life. The power of example is very strong – and children who see adults using drugs will be likelier to believe that drug use is a natural part of grownup living. Studies show that those who begin to abuse drugs such as marijuana or heroin at a younger age will face higher risks for addiction down the road.

Genetic. People who have a parent, sibling or other first-degree relative who struggles with addiction are at a higher risk for becoming addicts themselves.

Do you – or someone you love – have one or more of these risk factors working against you? Don’t despair. Recovery is possible, and we are ready to help.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


You may think of heroin as your “drug of choice.” But at SunCloud Health, we consider it your “drug of NO choice.” This is because your drug use has robbed you of the understanding that you have a choice in the matter.

As addiction takes over, your ability to actually make good decisions is swiftly taken away. With the drug in command, you may feel totally powerless to regain control of your life. In helping you start on a path to wellness, we do not ask, “Why the addiction?” Instead, we’ll encourage you to ask yourself, “Why the pain?”

In our experience, heroin addiction is driven by deeper causes that typically involve physical, spiritual or emotional pain. By dealing with the underlying pain, we will help you exchange unhealthy addictive behaviors for healthier ones – leading to a balanced, peaceful, more abundant life.


Emily Long discusses how patients benefit from an integrative treatment approach and how that contributes to a more effective treatment experience at SunCloud Health.


The signs and effects of heroin use will vary, based on the person’s family background, frequency of use and the intensity of their addiction. If you or someone you love is addicted to heroin, you may see some of the symptoms listed below.

Mood symptoms

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Euphoria or mania

Behavioral symptoms

  • Lying to cover up drug use
  • Sudden or constant need for money
  • Problems with the law
  • Inability to fulfill obligations at work, home, or school
  • Increased risky behavior
  • Increased or decreased libido
Physical symptoms

  • Growing tolerance to the drug
  • Increased lung infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Heaviness or swelling in hands and feet
  • Slow, unsteady gait
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Physical dependence, marked by deep craving for the drug

Psychological symptoms

  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Psychosis


Heroin abuse generally leads to physical addiction, which can cause severe withdrawal symptoms when the user tries to stop.

Withdrawal symptoms tend to appear within a few hours after the last dosage and peak within 48 to 72 hours after the last dose. This is why it is so crucial for those struggling with heroin addiction to enter a medically monitored treatment program where dangerous side effects can be addressed.

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin include:

  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goose bumps
  • Involuntary kicking movements
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Strong drug cravings
  • Risk of death

Remember – you don’t have to do it alone. Take the first step toward recovery by sending a confidential message now, our heroin treatment center is a renowned in the Chicagoland & Midwest.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


People who struggle with heroin addiction often suffer from one or more forms of mental illness. This is known as a co-occurring condition. Here are some of the most common conditions seen in tandem with heroin use:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs such as opioids

When these conditions go untreated, they often lead the person who is suffering to search for something that will make them feel better. This sets the stage for drug or alcohol use and often, addiction.


If you are using heroin and you can’t stop, take heart. Recovery is possible. The right combination of medication, detox, rehab, and focused therapies can help you create a happy, healthy, and sober life.

Heroin rehab typically involves drugs like methadone, naloxone or other medications, which will help you to manage the severe withdrawal symptoms that can happen when you stop using. Inpatient programs at residential treatment centers are one of the most effective options, since medical supervision can be helpful in managing symptoms. In some cases, a comprehensive outpatient program can also be a good solution.

The first step in recovery is detoxification – the process of allowing the body to endure the symptoms of withdrawal and return to steady functioning.

The balance of treatment will involve a combination of medical monitoring, medications and counseling.

The experienced team at SunCloud understands that treating heroin addiction requires a blend of compassion with advanced medical and psychotherapeutic skill.

In caring for those facing drug addiction, we dig deep on all fronts. We understand that other sources of emotional pain, and even other addictive behaviors, may have led to your problems with heroin. Therefore, we will help you address all of these related factors as you enter treatment.

We also realize that psychiatric conditions such as depression, trauma or anxiety may have played a role in your drug use. You may even be abusing other substances to cope with the side effects of your addiction.

The SunCloud Health team offers a full range of effective treatment options for men and women who are struggling with addiction. The therapy that will work best for you will be determined after we’ve talked with you and learned more about your unique needs.

The following are types of therapy we provide for the treatment of heroin addiction:

  • Expressive and experiential therapy
  • Skills-based therapy such as DBT, ACT and CBT
  • 12-step recovery programs and facilitation
  • Education about the disease, its effects on you, your mind, your soul and your body
  • Group sessions teaching healthy interpersonal and relationship management
  • Regular psychiatric consultations
  • Family therapy, including family participation if appropriate
  • Yoga and body image therapy, when appropriate
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

The first step is to ask for help. We are ready to help you move toward a healthy, satisfying life. Click below to send a confidential message.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


As an outpatient treatment center, SunCloud Health is in an ideal position to support you for as long as you agree our services are useful to you. With multiple levels of outpatient care, you may decide to stay connected through one of our aftercare outpatient groups – or you may want to continue seeing one of our individual therapists.  We are here to provide continuous, caring support for your recovery journey.

Though we understand fully that you don’t want to spend your life in treatment, we also know from experience that a lifetime commitment to wellness is the foundation of your well-being over the long term. We will work with you to maintain a healthy outlook, which means achieving balance, honesty, and health — physical, emotional and spiritual. Our goal is to create a care plan that you can take with you forever, wherever you may go.


Dr. Marcia Nickow, Psy.D., CADC, CGP shares her thoughts on hope for recovery at SunCloud Health.


Chris Stewart, MD. Board Certified Psychiatrist answers, does addiction treatment work?

The treatment team at SunCloud gets it. They practice what they preach, they are compassionate and they are true professionals.  They all understand what I am going through and they have guided me from a hopeless place of disease to recovery and a life worth living.  Most importantly they have helped me realize that I am worth something and that I don’t have to use in order to cope with life and all that comes with it.  Recovery can be amazing. Trust me.  The work is not easy and it is totally worth it!   Today I am alive.

~ SCH patient


Reviewed by: Dr. Kimberly Dennis, MD
Date Reviewed: December 2019

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