Choosing Methadone vs Rehab… What’s Right for You?
If you are struggling with opioid dependence, you may be wondering about methadone vs rehab and whether your path to recovery will involve one or both. Read on to find out more about both treatments and how they can work together to address this exceptionally dangerous substance problem.
From 1999–2018, almost 450,000 people died from an overdose involving opioids, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because opioids include a range of legal and nonlegal substances, addiction affects a huge swath of people in the U.S. Opioid addiction is found in a wide demographic of Americans with over 10 million people over the age of 12 have misused an opioid in 2018.
Opioids include prescription drugs like oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone. However, as opioid abuse has risen, so has the number of people seeking treatment for their addictions. There are many types of opioid addiction treatments available including residential stays, behavioral therapy, and medication.
If you find yourself wondering about methadone vs rehab, we can help you explore all your options to find the right treatment. Call 405-583-4309 today for more information about opioid addiction recovery.
Jump to a section below to learn more about methadone vs rehab. Our treatment experts would be happy to assist you, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Methadone Makes It Easier
Methadone treatment centers use methadone as a replacement for heroin or prescription pills. This remains one of the most popular methods of managing opioid withdrawal.
Methadone is technically an opioid itself, but it does not work the same way as other drugs in the category. Instead, it mimics some of their effects while blocking others. Most notably, it does not create a high and is thus much less addictive than its counterparts.
Methadone treatment centers control the amount of medication that is dispensed in order to avoid both overdose and the withdrawal symptoms that come with stopping too suddenly.
How Methadone Helps
Methadone, a synthetic opioid drug, has been prescribed for decades for the treatment of opioid addiction. This medication affects how your brain and central nervous system react to pain. It dulls the painful physical reaction that the body has to substance withdrawal and also quiets psychological symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. It also helps to control cravings.
This combination treatment of withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings allows the addict to focus on their recovery efforts and the rebuilding of relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
As long as methadone is taken in proper dosages, it causes no harm to vital organs. Even pregnant women can take it! Although most recovering opioid addicts will need to continue to take methadone for a year or more, the potential benefits far outweigh any potential consequences.
Explore Payment Options
It’s important to learn how to get into a methadone clinic and to find a clinic that you can afford. When you go to a methadone clinic, you will first talk with a professional about your opioid abuse history and frequency in order to determine whether methadone is a viable option for treatment. If you are approved for methadone treatment, the next step will be setting up a payment plan.
If one of the questions on your mind is “is methadone free,” the answer is no in most cases. However, some insurance companies do cover methadone, and some methadone treatment centers offer their own payment plans. Depending on where you live, you may even have access to state-run or nonprofit clinics that offer free treatment.
It is recommended that patients continue to take methadone for a minimum of one year.
Sometimes Methadone is not the Answer
Methadone does carry risks if taken in inappropriate amounts or illicitly. Overdose remains a possible hazard of any type of drug use, especially if you are exceeding the recommended dosage. It’s important to be honest with healthcare professionals about any other medications or drugs that you take due to a risk for unsafe interactions. For example, methadone patients who take Xanax for anxiety may experience breathing difficulties, severe lethargy, coma, or even death.
Risks and Side Effects
Because methadone is an opiate, withdrawal symptoms can develop when you stop after using it regularly. Therefore, doctors will wean patients off of methadone by tapering its use across many months.
Some methadone programs let patients take doses home during later stages of treatment. Thus, there is a risk of accidental ingestion by children or pets. Additionally, sometimes methadone users give or sell their medication to other users, which could contribute to an overdose and is also liable to get you kicked out of your treatment program.
As with any medication, new patients will experience many common side effects. Each person’s body works differently, and it’s normal for trial and error to be involved in finding the correct dosage. Doctors closely monitor and document this process in order to keep patients healthy and safe.
Typical side effects that patients may experience include:
- Abdominal issues such as cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Psychological problems like delusions, confusion, and vivid hallucinations.
- Accelerated heart rate, chest pains, and uncontrollable body tremors.
- Dizziness and shallowed breath.
When Not to Take Methadone
There are some people who should avoid taking methadone for opioid treatment altogether. Interactions of methadone with common drugs can cause severe physical reactions in some people. Additionally, methadone can exacerbate certain medical conditions. Always let rehab treatment staff know which other medications you take and how much.
It is best to explore opioid addiction treatment options other than methadone if you:
- Have been diagnosed with low blood pressure.
- Take sleeping pills, antihistamines, or antidepressants.
- Experience breathing disorders such as COPD, asthma, or sleep apnea.
- Have sustained repeated head injuries.
- Are on heart arrhythmia medication.
- Have problems with your thyroid, gallbladder, liver, prostate, or kidneys.
Rehab to the Rescue
Addiction, just like other chronic disorders such as diabetes and arthritis, is a treatable illness. Rehabilitation treatment addresses the many aspects of opioid abuse without the use of medication.
Most types of rehab treatment use talk therapy to help drug users explore the reasons behind their drug abuse and what motivations they have to get and stay sober. Rehab often takes drug users through many tiers of introspection and healing, from monitored stays at a clinic to monthly check-ins with successfully recovered addicts.
How Inpatient Rehab Works
When considering methadone vs rehab, you will want to find out exactly what rehabilitation is. For the inpatient variety, rehab patients move into a residential facility and live among other recovering addicts. Residents are given addiction support first through counseling that addresses the immediate drug abuse, then later with programs that develop coping methods and modify negative behavior.
Inpatient rehab programs last anywhere from six to 12 weeks, after which a patient will move on to a supported living situation such as a sober living house. Patients receive job training, life skills development, and ongoing therapy to maintain their sobriety. Since most rehab centers work with the surrounding communities, they often refer patients to local services.
Different Treatments for Different People
There are many different models for rehabilitation, but the main six approaches remain the most recommended types by far.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This treatment is psychologically based and is effective in treating addiction coupled with mental illness. The main idea is that psychological problems and subsequent drug abuse are part of unhealthy thinking and behavior patterns that can be unlearned.
- Family Therapy and Counseling: Treatment must address not only the patient but also their families in order to heal relationships scarred by addiction. This treatment is particularly effective for teens.
- Contingency Management: This treatment uses incentives to motivate clients to stay off drugs, attend counseling, and stay active in the program.
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy: Treatment sometimes asks the patient to look inward for self-motivation. A therapist will help to identify and fortify positive motives to live by.
The Real Challenges of Rehab
Though inpatient rehab provides many obvious benefits, patients do report some drawbacks. Leaving normal life behind to live in a completely controlled environment can be a shock for anyone. The physical effects of withdrawal sickness can be difficult to bear in a strange new place without any familiar faces. Additionally, many drug users often view authority figures with disdain and distrust that can be counterproductive to recovery efforts. Always make sure to thoroughly research a rehab center and it’s recovery methods before making a commitment to receive treatment there.
Rules to Live By in Rehab
Inpatient rehab centers are very structured. Patients must adhere to a strict schedule that controls when they wake up, eat, have free time, and attend counseling. Additionally, patients cannot come and go as they please; they must stick to a curfew.
It can also be very difficult to adjust to a residential setting and have to live with other patients. Direct contact with patients who may be experiencing mental issues or relapse can sometimes create a negative environment for recovery.
After transitioning to inpatient rehab, many patients carry a feeling of detachment toward counselors, therapists, and staff. Inpatient rehab may also disrupt your life as you will need to take an extended leave from your job or may need to find long-term child care. Lastly, most insurance companies only cover outpatient rehabilitation services.
Dealing with Life after Rehab
Outpatient rehabilitation is the next step after inpatient treatment. At this point, patients have moved back home but continue weekly visits to the clinic for counseling sessions. Though this is usually an exciting and freeing time for patients, it still presents its own difficulties. Because they are back in their old environments where opioids may be easier to get, some patients run the risk of falling back into previous addictive behaviors.
Patients who are returning from rehab will also be returning to daily life stressors that may interfere with their focus on recovery. Moreover, many patients create strong friendships with other people that they met in inpatient rehab. When patients get to outpatient rehabilitation, they spend much less time with other recovering addicts and can end up feeling less supported. More alarmingly, patients are also now free to visit another doctor for opioid medication if cravings become too powerful.
Find Both Methadone and Rehabilitation Treatment
For those struggling with opioid addiction, finding treatment is paramount. Many different options are available for you and your family to find relief from opioid abuse.
Although choosing a treatment program can be a daunting task, do not let it deter you. The real answer to methadone vs rehab is that they work best together.
We can help you to find the right type of opioid treatment for yourself, a family member, or a friend. For more information on opioid addiction, methadone, or rehabilitation, please reach out to our experts today at 405-583-4309.
Written By Dani Horn
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