Choosing Between Inpatient and Outpatient Methadone Treatment Programs

Methadone treatment is one of the oldest and most trusted treatment types for opioid addiction syndromes. Though there is no one amount of time that individuals on methadone maintenance treatment must stay on the medication, there are two ways in which they may receive it: through an inpatient center or an outpatient center. Choosing between inpatient and outpatient methadone treatment programs should be done based on your specific needs as well as a number of other factors.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Methadone Centers

Inpatient Methadone treatment

Inpatient Methadone treatment offers constant care.

The difference between these two types of centers is important to know, especially if you are in need of immediate opioid addiction treatment. Inpatient programs allow patients to stay at the facility for a specific amount of time based on their treatment needs and provide meals, sleeping accommodations, and other necessities to patients. These programs can range from providing long-term care, something many methadone patients often need, or short-term care. Generally, inpatient treatment takes place in a non-hospital setting, but some centers provide hospital care when it is necessary to the patient.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Outpatient treatment varies in the types and intensity of services offered,” but one of the main differences is that it does not offer accommodations to patients in the way inpatient care does. Patients visit the center, usually daily at first, receive their methadone, and attend any other treatments that are part of their individualized recovery program. Some outpatient centers provide more options than others, as certain facilities “may offer little more than drug education” if they are more low-intensity.

The differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are more than merely the presence or lack of housing for patients. However, these main contrasts will inform much of your ability to discern which treatment type will be most beneficial to you.

Your Support Network at Home

One of the strongest reasons why a person should consider attending inpatient treatment is if they have no strong social support network at home. Family members, significant others, friends, and coworkers are all incredibly beneficial to have during this time, and those who don’t have a strong network of loved ones while going through recovery often struggle more. Having people surrounding you who want you to succeed and care about your recovery will help you stay positive and continue to make beneficial choices.

Therefore, if you do not have this type of close, support network, you may want to consider attending inpatient care for methadone maintenance. This way, you will still be surrounded by people who care about your recovery and want to help you succeed: nurses, doctors, therapists, other patients, and volunteers. If you do have a small number of individuals in your life who want to see you and help with your progress, they can visit you often while you are in treatment, but it is much safer for you to be in a place where multiple people are helping you get through your recovery.

Without this kind of strong, social network around, a person is much more likely to relapse back to drug abuse or become very depressed. And because one or two people cannot be there for you all the time, it may be very important for you to attend inpatient methadone treatment. As the National Library of Medicine states, people going through opioid withdrawal and addiction treatment have a high risk of overdose and death in the event of a relapse, and inpatient care can help protect you from this possibility if you do not have a strong social network to support you.

Your Mental Health

According to a study published by Psychiatr Q, “Patients with high psychiatric severity‚Ķ are predicted to have a better outcome in inpatient treatment.” Therefore, individuals suffering from opioid addiction and another mental disorder simultaneously, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, etc., should consider attending an inpatient methadone treatment program. And because “many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders and vice versa,” there is a high chance of two or more disorders co-occurring in one individual (NIDA).

For someone who does not have another type of mental disorder or high psychiatric severity, outpatient treatment can often be beneficial, but those who need help for multiple mental health issues will often not receive it in an outpatient center. In addition, these individuals could more likely end up in a dangerous situation, feeling alone or depressed without the proper help. If you have been diagnosed with or believe that you have one or more co-occurring mental disorders in addition to your addiction, you should choose inpatient care for your methadone maintenance.

Other Deciding Factors for Methadone Treatment Programs

There are other reasons why you may want to choose one program type or the other. It is important, however, to always consider every angle and to make sure that you are not avoiding the type of treatment you truly need.

  • Cost: If you are not in need of inpatient treatment specifically, you may want to choose an outpatient program, as they normally cost less.
  • Severity of Your Addiction: If you have attempted to quit abusing opioids many times and have not been successful, you may need to consider inpatient treatment. The intensity of your cravings and whether or not you feel that you could stay away from opioids if you were receiving outpatient treatment is important as well.
  • Need for Self-Reflection: Some individuals choose inpatient treatment because they need a time of self-reflection, away from their day-to-day lives, to work on their recoveries. However, if you prefer the idea of continuing on with your life as you receive methadone and other treatments, outpatient care could be beneficial.
  • More Treatment Options: In general, inpatient programs have more treatment options for patients. Sometimes these are holistic methods, like yoga and art therapy, but many inpatient programs also offer family therapy and other methods. Because outpatient programs are often less expensive and less intensive, it is not as likely that they will provide these types of treatments.

Inpatient or Outpatient Methadone Treatment?

If you are still wondering whether inpatient or outpatient methadone treatment is right for you call us today at 866-312-5827Who Answers?. We will help you find the perfect program that caters to your needs and provides you exactly what is necessary for your unique situation.

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