Original Articles

Heroin Dependence Recovery

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 2, 2008 , pages: 327–337
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820206
Author(s): Monika dos SantosUniversity of South Africa,, Fred van StadenUniversity of South Africa,


The consequences of heroin dependence can be extremely difficult to escape from, resulting in unpleasant and potentially terrifying experiences. This descriptive study explores the factors which are important in achieving abstinence, in allowing recovery to be maintained in the longer term, and in potentially allowing an eventual exit from heroin dependence, from the experiences and suggestions of 40 long-term voluntarily abstinent heroin dependents. Findings revealed that behaviour modification and the promotion of recovery occurred mostly through interventions, producing a range of positive effects that facilitated natural recovery processes. Clear support was obtained for the ‘maturing out’ hypothesis of heroin dependence.

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