Along with its use as an opiate addiction treatment, methadone produces pain-relieving effects which make for an effective pain management treatment. As with any other type of prescription opiate, long-term or chronic methadone use places users at risk of physical dependency and addiction. These risks increase substantially when using methadone for recreational purposes.
Withdrawal treatment becomes the first step towards breaking a dependency or addiction regardless of the type of drug involved. Methadone is no different. People who’ve made several attempts to stop using and/or been through multiple rounds of drug treatment may well benefit from the comprehensive approach provided through inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment.
With so many inpatient programs to choose from, finding the best inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment program can be a challenge, but it can be done. Understanding your specific treatment needs, and knowing what to look for in a treatment program makes the task much easier.
As a synthetic opiate drug, methadone works in much the same way as any other opiate, binding to opiate cell receptor sites throughout the body while stimulating the release of the body’s natural endorphin chemicals. In the case of pain treatment, the body can develop a tolerance to methadone’s effects, which sets the stage for the cycle of physical dependency and addiction to take root.
Even when used as an opiate addiction treatment, the risk for addiction remains considering methadone’s use as a replacement drug. Improper dosing on the part of healthcare providers or abusing the drug can place a person at increased risk of dependency and addiction.
Compared to other opiates, methadone produces long-acting effects, with one dose lasting anywhere from 24 to 36 hours. While this works well for treating pain or treating addiction, this mechanism of action makes it especially difficult to stop using the drug after prolonged use, according to Columbia University.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Inpatient Methadone Withdrawal Treatment Program
Addiction affects different people in different ways, so no one program approach will work for everyone. While different programs can vary in terms of quality of services offered, identifying your specific treatment needs can help narrow down the search considerably.
Factors to consider when choosing an inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment program include:
- Addiction severity
- Physical health
- Psychological functioning
- Program specialties
- Program specifics
Someone who’s been on methadone for several years will likely be struggling with a more severe addiction problem than someone who’s only been on the drug for six months to a year. In effect, the more severe the addiction the more comprehensive the treatment approach should be. Inpatient programs do provide the most intensive form of treatment, though programs can still vary when it comes to depth of treatment approach.
Failing to get the level of treatment most needed can cause more harm than good as methadone withdrawal and recovery comes with a high relapse rate. Ultimately, the severity of withdrawal effects a person experiences best point to the level of addiction treatment needed, according to Maine.gov.
Over time, chronic opiate use impairs the brain’s ability to regulate bodily functions. For this reason, many people entering inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment have developed other serious medical conditions as a result of long-term drug use.
Medical conditions commonly associated with chronic methadone abuse include:
- Seizure disorder
In effect, a chronic medical condition can aggravate methadone withdrawal, increasing symptom severity while increasing the risk for relapse. A quality methadone withdrawal treatment program addresses any and all conditions that complicate drug treatment outcomes.
Like other forms of opiate abuse, methadone changes the brain’s chemical pathways and essentially changes how the brain works over time. These effects leave addicts at high risk of developing co-occurring psychological disorders.
According to Florida Gulf Coast University, an estimated 47.7 percent of substance abusers also suffer from personality disorders, such as bipolar and antisocial disorders. The presence of a psychological disorder only works to aggravate chemical imbalances brought on by long-term methadone abuse.
In order to treat the addiction, symptoms of psychological disorder must be treated as well or else addicts remain highly susceptible to relapse. The best inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment programs make it a point to get symptoms of a co-occurring condition under control as part of the overall drug treatment process.
Methadone addictions affect people from all walks of life as well as people living under special circumstances. Many inpatient methadone withdrawal programs cater to certain populations who face unique challenges in recovery.
Specialty programs may be set up to treat:
- Pregnant women
- Dual diagnosis conditions
While not everyone will require this type of treatment approach, those who do can greatly benefit from the emphasis placed on the unique challenges they face in recovery.
The best inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment programs use evidence-based treatment interventions that have been researched and shown to produce successful treatment outcomes in the past. Quality treatment programs also meet their state’s licensing and accreditation requirements. In turn, fully accredited programs employ licensed professionals who have experience in addiction treatment. Lastly, the very best programs will be able to produce proof of their treatment success rates from a third-party ratings agency.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Inpatient Methadone Withdrawal Treatment
Inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment programs can vary in duration, running anywhere from 14 days to several months in length. Short-term programs, such as those running from 14 to 30 days in length primarily deal with the detox and withdrawal stages of recovery.
As program lengths increase, the emphasis on addiction treatment increases accordingly, allowing residents to work through the underlying issues that drive addiction behaviors. In general, people struggling with severe forms of methadone addiction will require the longer treatment stays.
As with any other form of addiction, an addiction to methadone has more to do with how a person thinks than the body’s need for the drug. Most everyone who completes inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment will require ongoing treatment to work through addiction’s effects on their thinking, emotions and behaviors.
A quality inpatient methadone withdrawal treatment program will draw up an aftercare plan that addresses a person’s ongoing treatment needs. This may include residential or outpatient treatment, psychotherapy and/or support group participation. Following through on aftercare planning recommendations is essential to a person’s ongoing success in recovery.