Choosing the Best Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program for Yourself or a Loved One
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are many types of treatment for opiate addiction. Methadone is one of the more popular treatment types since it replaces the opiate in your system and makes withdrawal tolerable. There are two types of treatment with methadone and a few types of treatment centers to choose from.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is an opiate derivative that allows you to get off an opiate without suffering through the main stages of withdrawal. It blocks opiates and takes its place at the opioid receptors. This stops the opiate from binding to the receptor sites and producing many of the desired opiate effects. Since it is bound to the receptor sites, it also blocks the withdrawal symptoms that opiates are known for.
What is Methadone Assisted Treatment?
Methadone assisted treatment is a form of methadone treatment for the detox portion of your recovery. It stops the withdrawal symptoms and allows the doctor to taper you off the methadone slowly, thus avoiding the withdrawal. Once you are tapered off the methadone, you are addiction and symptom free.
Doctors or certified personnel at a clinic normally do this type of treatment very carefully. Since methadone itself is addictive, it is possible to have issues if it is not tapered correctly.
What is Methadone Maintenance Treatment?
Methadone maintenance treatment is slightly different from methadone assisted treatment. In maintenance treatment instead of tapering you off the methadone, once your dose becomes stable the doctor keeps you on the methadone after the normal withdrawal period. Methadone is an excellent treatment for chronic pain and other disorders. Many people, who are addicted to opiates, use methadone to treat the chronic pain once they leave the opiate addiction behind. This practice is known as methadone maintenance.
Outpatient treatment is a method of methadone treatment that requires you to visit a treatment center daily, weekly, or monthly. You go there to receive and evaluation and your dose of methadone. At first, these visits are almost always daily. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to outpatient treatment. The advantages of outpatient methadone treatment are:
- you remain at home while you are in treatment,
- you can still work or go to school,
- you can use your family and friends as a support network,
- you have more options when it comes to supplemental treatment like counseling and holistic practices,
As always, there are disadvantages to outpatient treatment. These disadvantages are:
- you are near your triggers,
- relapse is more likely in outpatient treatment than in other forms of treatment,
- if you used in your neighborhood or acquired drugs illegally there you might be tempted to relapse,
- doctors are unable to monitor you as closely as they would during inpatient treatment, and
- outpatient treatment might not be appropriate if you have underlying mental or medical conditions.
Many people have reasons for choosing outpatient care over the other types available. Some of these reasons are:
- they have a job or school that they cannot take time from,
- they have family obligations such as a child or elder dependent, or
- they have other obligations that require them to only be at rehab for short periods.
Inpatient methadone treatment is a residential treatment. You stay at the facility instead of just visiting the clinic. When you are at the facility, they provide you with food and a bed as well as medical care and counseling. As with outpatient care there are advantages and disadvantages to inpatient care. Some of the advantages are:
- you receive comprehensive 24 hour care,
- you are away from your triggers,
- there is only a slim chance of relapse when you are in treatment,
- you do not have to worry about common stressors while you are at the inpatient treatment facility,
- you can meet with people who suffer the same addiction as you,
- you can detox in a controlled environment,
- you have a place to stay if your home contains triggers, is violent, or if you lost it due to your addiction, and
- you can detox in a very controlled environment.
Of course, there are disadvantages to inpatient treatment. These disadvantages are:
- the environment is very restrictive,
- you cannot work or go to school while you are in treatment,
- if you have children, childcare is a problem, and
- if you do not have insurance, it can be extremely expensive.
Combined treatment offers the best of both worlds. In combined treatment, you detox in an inpatient environment allowing you to receive the medical attention that you need. Then you move to an outpatient rehab program, where you continue counseling and other treatments such as methadone maintenance.
The inpatient part of the program allows you to get the methadone regulated and the outpatient portion allows you to continue the methadone maintenance or taper off the methadone while remaining in your home.
Parts of the Treatment Program
According to the National Library of Medicine, a methadone maintenance program should include both detoxification and counseling. Detoxification is physically getting over the opiate you are addicted to and counseling is dealing with the consequences of that addiction.
Counseling ordinarily includes individual and group aspects. Individual counseling is one on one with a therapist. This is to help you discover the cause of your addiction as well as deal with the consequences. Group counseling involves sharing with a group and a counselor. Group treatment helps you to realize that you are not alone in the struggle with addiction.
If you need help choosing from the many methadone maintenance options, call us at 1-800-530-0431Who Answers?. We can help you navigate through the myriad of choices.