Choosing Methadone Maintenance Treatment for Yourself or a Loved One
According to the Centers for Disease Control, prescription painkiller overdose is one of the most common issues when it comes to drug related deaths. One of the best options for preventing overdose is to seek treatment for an opiate problem. Methadone is an approved treatment for opiate withdrawal and cravings but choosing the right treatment for you is one of the hardest decisions you will make when it comes to drug rehab.
Decide if you have a Problem
Deciding whether you have a problem that is treatable by methadone maintenance is very difficult. You need to recognize the distinction between dependence and addiction. If you are dependent on a drug, you need the drug to function. If you are addicted to the drug, you can function without it but it might feel as if you cannot. Methadone may be right for you if you are on opiates and have:
- A chronic pain disorder,
- Tried to quit before without methadone and failed,
- Tried drugs like Suboxone and failed,
- Doctor shopped for your drug of choice,
- Taken more of the drug than prescribed,
- Developed a tolerance for the drug,
- Stolen other peoples prescriptions,
- Stolen money to purchase the drug illegally, and
- Done things out of character to get the drug.
These behaviors all indicate that methadone treatment might be an option for you. Doctors do not usually prescribe methadone unless you have tried other options. Many physicians have specific criteria for methadone maintenance treatment.
Examine your Treatment Options
When deciding on methadone maintenance it is important to examine all of your treatment options. You need to choose the one that works best for you and your circumstances.
Inpatient treatment is a residential program that allows you to stay at a treatment facility while you recover from your addiction. Some of the reasons that you might want to use inpatient treatment are:
- you have tried other treatment methods and failed,
- you have a medical condition that will need to be treated at the same time as the addiction,
- you have overdosed or are likely to overdose,
- you have a mental illness that is underlying your opiate addiction,
- you are homeless or your home is unstable or violent, and
- the people in your home use opiates.
It is much easier to monitor your methadone use in an inpatient treatment center. In an inpatient treatment center, it is easier for doctors to monitor and adjust your dose. In order to keep you from feeling withdrawal symptoms doctors might have to adjust your dose frequently. It takes a while for them to get the dose right. Doctors are available 24 hours a day to make these adjustments.
Methadone is also available when you are in outpatient treatment. It is more difficult to monitor during outpatient treatment but with daily visits to a clinic, it is possible. Good candidates for outpatient treatment are people who:
- have a job or go to school that they need to maintain during rehab,
- they have helpful and supportive friends and family,
- have a stable home life, that is nonviolent and drug free,
- their triggers are not in their neighborhood or home environment,
- have a manageable addiction but need help dealing with it,
- are mentally and physically stable, and
- are unlikely to overdose.
Decide whether Methadone is Right for You
In order to decide wither methadone is right for you, you will need to know what other treatments are available. There are many alternatives to methadone including:
- holistic medicine – holistic medicine is the science of treating the whole person rather than just the addiction. Practitioners of holistic medicine often use a variety of treatments such as:
o herbal remedies,
o eastern medicine, and
o alternative therapies.
- cold turkey – this involves quitting without any replacement medications. You go through the withdrawal using counseling and will. This practice is ideal for those who want to be completely off all drugs.
- Suboxone – Suboxone is another opiate replacement medication. It is less addictive and people are less likely to overdose on it. Unfortunately, it is said to be not as effective as methadone for keeping the withdrawal symptoms at bay.
These are just a few of the alternatives to methadone.
Decide on a Type of Treatment Center
The next step in choosing a methadone maintenance treatment is to choose the type of treatment center. Most centers offer inpatient, outpatient, and alternative therapies. There are three main types of treatment centers available. These are:
- luxury rehabs – high end rehabs that offer all of the amenities including:
o onsite gyms,
o 24 hour support and
o unfortunately, a high price tag.
- private rehabs – these are midrange rehab facilities. They offer some of the amenities but are not as comprehensive or high end as the luxury forms. The biggest benefit to these rehabs is the lower cost. In addition, more they accept more insurance carries than the higher end luxury rehabs.
- government funded rehabs – these are the most basic rehab facilities. They offer counseling and medication management. Other therapies are sometimes offered ala carte in the publicly funded rehab organizations. They are however, lower cost or free than the other types of rehab facilities.
Before you decide on a methadone maintenance treatment, be sure to consider all of the options you have available. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the best treatment is a comprehensive one. For more information on methadone maintenance give us a call at, 1-800-530-0431.