Alternatives to Methadone for MAT and Chronic Pain
Although methadone is highly effective for getting people off opiates, there are a lot of things that people do not like about it. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to methadone treatment available.
What’s Wrong with Methadone?
Since methadone is a very successful medication, you might be asking yourself why choose an alternative treatment. There are several things that people dislike about methadone treatment. These usually are:
- the side effects
- going places for daily doses
- the stigma behind it
- its reputation for being worse than opiates
- the long term of methadone maintenance
Some people find methadone intolerable in general. To find an alternative to methadone for opiate treatment, call 800-530-0431Who Answers?.
Medication Assisted Treatment without Methadone
There are alternative medications that can help with treating opiate withdrawal that are not methadone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these medications are:
- Buprenorphine – a medication similar to methadone but in a take home form.
- Naltrexone – not particularly good for withdrawal but can help maintain sobriety without a replacement medication.
- Suboxone – an advanced form of buprenorphine and naloxone, that prevents withdrawal and opiate abuse.
These medications are generally most successful when combined with other types of treatments. Which medication you choose depends on your individual needs.
Chronic Pain Treatment with Other Medications
Many people use methadone due to a chronic pain condition. Fortunately there are many other pain medications to treat chronic pain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many researchers are attempting to develop both new medications and alternative treatments for chronic pain that do not involve opiates.
Counseling and Behavioral Therapies
Although counseling and behavioral therapies are able to work on their own, the work best in conjunction with medication assisted therapy. Some of the counseling types and behavioral therapies that are effective for opiate withdrawal are:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy
- individual counseling
- group therapies
- motivational incentives
- contingency management
- 12 step programs
Many of these therapies are combined in order to provide a more complete approach to opiate treatment.
Slow Tapering from Opiates
Although not nearly as effective, slow tapering programs do work when combined with other types of treatment. Tapering means reducing the dose of the opiate that you take slowly week by week. This is an excellent inpatient strategy because the staff controls your daily dose of medication.
In outpatient treatment this doesn’t work nearly as well because either you have to go to a treatment center daily (like methadone) or control your own tapering. Controlling your own tapering is extremely difficult to do when you begin going through withdrawal symptoms.
The cold turkey approach is an extreme approach to opiate withdrawal. Like tapering, it is much easier to do in an inpatient environment than in an outpatient environment. You have to remember that you will be facing serious withdrawal symptoms.
Where to Find Alternatives to Methadone Treatment
You can find alternatives to methadone treatment simply by calling 800-530-0431Who Answers?. We can help you find the methadone alternative that will work best for you.