Choosing the Best Inpatient Treatment Centers for Opiate Addiction

Anyone struggling with opiate addiction should know they’re not alone. Opiate addiction has become a global epidemic, with scores of people falling prey to the harmful effects of these drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, anywhere between 26.4 and 36 million people worldwide abuse opiate drugs, which includes both heroin and prescription pain pills.

It’s not uncommon for long-time opiate users to go through multiple rounds of treatment before seeing any real benefits. At this point, addicts have likely developed a range of physical and psychological problems on top of the addiction. Inpatient treatment centers specialize in treating the most severe forms of addiction while helping long-time addicts gain a solid foundation in the recovery process.

Opiate Addictions

Opiate addictions run the gamut with scores of prescription pain medications and illicit drugs from which to choose. An opiate addiction happens gradually, often without a person knowing it placing recreational drug users as well as people who use them for pain relief at risk.

Opiates work with the body’s own endorphin system, forcing the release of large amounts of endorphin chemicals with each dose. Before long, users start taking increasingly larger doses as the body becomes physically dependent on the drug’s effects. With continued use, the mind comes to rely on the drug to cope with daily life at which point addiction has set in.

Inpatient Treatment

As the most intensive level of residential care, inpatient treatment centers provide 24-hour care and monitoring within a highly structured treatment environment. Patients live at the facility for the duration of the program, allowing residents to make a full break from the addiction lifestyle while focusing all their time and efforts on getting well.

The best inpatient programs assign a team of specialists who work together to devise an individualized treatment plan that addresses each person’s specific treatment needs. As the most likely candidates for inpatient treatment typically have extensive histories of drug abuse, it’s essential that any form of treatment offered consider a person’s specific needs in order to be effective.

Types of Inpatient Treatment Centers

28- or 30-Day Programs

Considering the high costs of healthcare and the intensive level of care provided by inpatient programs, the majority of inpatient treatment centers operate as 28- or 30-day programs. While short in duration, these programs typically offer detox treatment as well as drug education training and counseling.

These programs work well for someone who’s suffered a relapse episode, but is still highly motivated to continue on in treatment. Since the body’s tolerance levels drop considerably during periods of abstinence, someone who relapses can experience dangerous, and even life threatening withdrawal symptoms. These conditions may well warrant inpatient care, especially when other chronic medical conditions exist.

60-Day Programs

Compared to 28- to 30-day centers, 60-day inpatient treatment programs allow more time for addressing addiction-specific issues. During the first 30 days, residents spend much of their time working through the detox and withdrawal process. The remaining 30 days allow time for addressing the underlying issues that drive drug-using behaviors. With the longer program duration, residents actually have an opportunity to establish (or re-establish) a sober lifestyle during the course of treatment.

90-Day Programs

inpatient centers for opiate addiction

Some inpatient centers for opiate addiction offer group therapy.

People struggling with chronic medical and/or psychological conditions on top of opiate addiction not only require more in-depth treatment, but also longer-term treatment stays. Ninety-day programs encompass a range of treatment services to better address this complex set of needs.

Services offered include:

  • Detox treatments
  • Drug education and counseling
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Support group work
  • Vocational assistance
  • Linkage with community-based assistance agencies

These programs work well for people struggling with a range of mental and physical problems, though, in general, the longer the treatment stay the better the chance of a successful recovery regardless of a person’s condition.

Hospitalization Programs

Someone admitted to a hospital-based inpatient program has likely experienced a crisis or medical emergency that warrants hospitalization. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, hospitalization programs are brief in duration, usually running anywhere from seven to 14 days.

Situations that warrant hospitalization include:

  • Overdose episodes
  • Acute and/or chronic medical conditions that aggravate the withdrawal process
  • Someone with a history of unsuccessful drug treatment attempts
  • Abuse of other drugs along with opiates
  • Someone with a history of delirium tremens episodes

Hospital-based inpatient treatment centers specialize in treating and managing medical complications during the detox/withdrawal process.

Program Specifics to Look For

Program Credentials

While ensuring an inpatient treatment center can address your specific treatment needs is important, a program’s credentials say a lot about their ability to deliver effective treatment. Each state within the U. S. issues some form of licensing and accreditation to programs that meet state requirements. This means program staff should be licensed and have specialized training within the addictions field. Authorized inpatient treatment centers should also be able to provide some form of proof of their success rates, preferably through a third-party ratings agency.

How is the Program Structured?

Personal preferences can factor into how effective a program will be for any one person. Whereas some inpatient treatment centers may follow a religious-based emphasis, others may adhere to a standard treatment philosophy.

Other types of programs may place a heavy emphasis on luxury and relaxation offering any number of amenities from scenic locales. Luxury-based programs also tend to take a more holistic treatment approach in terms of offering alternative forms of treatment, such as energy healing, meditation practice and massage therapy.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Options

The aftereffects of opiate addiction can persist long after a person stops using. More often than not, people coming off long-term chronic opiate addictions require some form of medication-assisted treatment to combat distressing withdrawal effects, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine.

Medication-assisted treatment use drugs such as methadone and naltrexone to help restore a normal chemical balance in the brain. A quality inpatient treatment center will have this treatment option available.


While inpatient treatment centers do a good job at addressing severe forms of addiction, a person will require ongoing care after completing inpatient treatment. Quality inpatient treatment centers offer aftercare planning services as part of their overall treatment approach. Aftercare planning entails referring a person to local area doctors, agencies and and/or treatment centers depending on his or her ongoing treatment needs.

Overall, choosing the best inpatient treatment center for opiate addiction depends as much on your particular treatment needs as it does any one program’s services and credentials.

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