Is Inpatient Methadone Treatment Right for Me?

Anyone who’s lived with an opiate addiction for any length of time understands how these drugs can overpower one’s desire to stop using. Before long, a person’s daily routine centers around getting and using more drugs.

Addiction, in general, works in much the same way as any other type of chronic medical condition, according to the New York State Department of Health. This means, after a certain point, drug addiction takes on a life of its own within the addict’s mind and body not unlike how asthma, diabetes and hypertension do.

Inpatient methadone treatment programs take an in-depth approach to treating long-term or chronic opiate addiction problems. Whether or not inpatient methadone treatment is right for you depends on a number of factors, many of which have to do with your level of addiction.

Opiates can have long-term effects on overall brain function, especially for people with long histories of drug abuse. Once addicted opiate’s effects not only impair a person’s physical health, but also his or her psychological well-being.

These effects can linger for months into the recovery process making it all the more difficult for a person to maintain abstinence. Inpatient methadone treatment works to address both the physical and psychological effects of opiate addiction within an intensive, highly structured treatment environment.

Inpatient Methadone Treatment

inpatient methadone treatment

An inpatient environment allows for support during methadone treatment.

Methadone, a synthetic opiate agent, has a long history as an effective opiate addiction treatment medication. In effect, methadone’s mechanism of action picks up where the damaging effects of opiate addiction leave off in terms of supporting damaged brain functions. Inpatient methadone treatment programs administer methadone based on the severity of a person’s addiction.

While prescription opiates do a good job at relieving pain symptoms in general, their long-term use produces adverse effects that worsen over time. When first taking opiates, the drug stimulates the production of endorphin chemicals in the brain from certain brain cell sites.

As high levels of endorphins flood the brain and central nervous system, any pain signals from the body are blocked. These interactions place excess strain on endorphin-secreting cell sites.

With continued use, cell site structures start to deteriorate from overwork making them less sensitive to opiate drug effects and less able to carry out normal chemical processes. In the process, the brain becomes dependent on the effects of opiates to function normally. These conditions account for the tremendous difficulty long-time addicts experience when trying to stop drug use.

Inpatient methadone treatment programs use methadone’s opiate-like effects as a type of replacement therapy since methadone can relieve much of the discomfort experienced during and after detox. Methadone’s effects can also provide long-term relief from the types of withdrawal “aftereffects” and drug cravings people coming off long-term addictions so often experience.

The inpatient methadone treatment approach combines the therapeutic benefits afforded by methadone with an intensive behavioral-based treatment program. As a result, patients are in a better state of mind and health to fully participate in the treatment process. On average, an inpatient methadone treatment program can run anywhere from one to six months in duration.

Addiction Severity

More oftentimes than not, addiction severity becomes the deciding factor in terms of whether inpatient methadone treatment will best meet a person’s treatment needs. Inpatient treatment, in general, offers round-the-clock care and monitoring with highly structured daily routines.

In the case of chronic, long-term addictions, this level of care works to ensure a patient’s overall safety during detox while providing a much needed level of structure in the addict’s life. Chronic addictions not only diminish a person’s physical health, but can also bring on dangerous withdrawal effects. Inpatient methadone treatment programs have ample experience in managing opiate withdrawal effects.

Past Attempts at Abstinence

The damaging effects of opiate addiction on the mind and body make it especially difficult for people in recovery to maintain abstinence on an ongoing basis. Consequently, opiate addictions carry a high relapse rate.

For many, withdrawal aftereffects can persist long after a person stops using. According to Harvard Health Publications, withdrawal aftereffects may take the form of –

  • Extreme depression
  • Bouts of anxiety
  • Inability to experience any form of emotion

These effects can drive a person to relapse in the absence of needed supports. Anyone who’s made two or more failed attempts at abstinence will likely require the level of care offered by inpatient methadone treatment programs.

Mental Health Problems

Any substance capable of altering the brain’s natural chemical processes can set the stage for psychological disorders to develop. For this reason, people coming off long-time opiate addictions often struggle with co-occurring mental health problems as a result of drug use.

Inpatient methadone treatment programs offer treatment for co-occurring psychological disorders as a part of the overall treatment process. Since both addiction and psychological dysfunction stem from serious brain chemical imbalances, treating one condition and not the other leaves a person at risk of relapse.

If you’re experiencing ongoing feelings of depression and/or anxiety along with an addiction problem, inpatient methadone treatment can treat and address any problems associated with these conditions.

Other Considerations

Chronic opiate addictions can wreak havoc in a person’s life to the point of job loss, divorce and bankruptcy. While helping addicts maintain abstinence remains the number one priority, ensuring a person has the needed supports for maintaining abstinence is equally important. Inpatient methadone programs help connect those in recovery with available community resources so they can take steps towards rebuilding their lives.

Chronic opiate addictions also leave a person susceptible to developing other serious medical problems, such as hypertension and diabetes as a result of drug abuse. Under these conditions, inpatient methadone treatment programs treat any existing medical conditions alongside a person’s addiction. Otherwise, any addiction recovery efforts made will likely be diminished by declining health factors.

Lifestyle Issues

Maintaining an opiate addiction requires a certain type of lifestyle that supports ongoing drug use. The more severe the addiction, the more a person’s lifestyle will center around getting and using drugs.

In effect, the highly structured environment found in inpatient methadone treatment programs enables recovering addicts to develop drug-free lifestyles. Through ongoing psychotherapy, support group work and fun, healthy activities a person learns how to live a full life without the need for drugs.

If addiction-based behaviors have become a “normal” part of your daily living routine, inpatient methadone treatment is right for you.

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