What Happens After Inpatient Methadone Treatment?

Long-term opiate abuse can greatly compromise a person’s physical and mental well-being for months, or even years into the recovery process. While detox and inpatient methadone treatment often becomes necessary during the early stages of addiction recovery, most if not all addicts require ongoing treatment help to lessen the risk of relapse.

Methadone acts as a replacement therapy that helps reduce the degree of withdrawal and cravings addicts experience in recovery, according to the U. S. National Institute of Justice. Whether taking the drug during detox or inpatient methadone treatment, treating the psychological aspects of addiction is equally important to a person’s long-term recovery.

While inpatient methadone treatment does provide a person with needed coping skills for dealing with everyday life, dealing with daily life pressures outside of an inpatient methadone treatment environment requires ongoing treatment support. For continued success in recovery, ongoing outpatient treatment care and regular attendance at support group meetings provides a person with the supports and guidance needed to maintain abstinence outside the inpatient methadone treatment environment.

Inpatient Methadone Treatment

It’s not uncommon for people coming off long-term, chronic opiate addictions to make multiple attempts to stop using, whether on one’s own or through drug treatment programs. Inpatient treatment provides the most intensive level of care in terms of requiring a person to live at the facility for the duration of the program.

The use of methadone within an inpatient setting combines the ongoing monitoring and structure of an inpatient program with the therapeutic effects of methadone. While outpatient programs can also administer methadone as part of a treatment plan, methadone administered through inpatient programs works best for people who’ve made several unsuccessful attempts at abstinence, according to the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services.

Psychosocial Treatment


Counseling and other psychosocial treatments often continue in an outpatient setting once inpatient treatment is over.

Many who enter inpatient methadone treatment continue taking methadone after completing the program. Methadone’s ability to support weakened brain chemical processes allows a person to function normally in everyday life; however, methadone’s effects do not address his or her psychological dependency on the drug’s effects.

According to the University of Maryland, psychosocial treatment interventions enable recovering addicts to work through the underlying issues that drive the psychological dependency on the drug’s effects. Psychosocial treatment interventions may include one or more of the following –

  • Drug education training
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Vocational training
  • Job placement assistance
  • Housing assistance

In effect, psychosocial treatment provides recovering addicts with relapse prevention strategies, skills for coping with everyday life pressures and daily living supports in terms of employment and essential daily living needs. These services can be accessed through outpatient methadone programs.

12-Step Support Groups

The 12-Step support group model plays a vital role in keeping a person engaged with the recovery process. Many 12-Step groups operate within community-based agencies and entail little to no cost to attend meetings as often as needed.

The 12-Step model works in much the same way as group therapy in terms of participants sharing daily experiences and offering support and guidance to one another. Twelve-step support groups can offer a long-term source of ongoing addiction treatment for people who’ve completed inpatient methadone treatment.

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