Choosing an Inpatient Alternative to Methadone Treatment

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When you are addicted to opiates, it might not seem like there are many treatment options available. Some people believe that methadone is the only treatment that allows you to avoid withdrawal. Just because it is the most popular, does not mean that it is the only one. There are a variety of other treatments, some of which allow you to avoid withdrawal and others the help you through the withdrawal without using possibly dangerous medications.

What is Inpatient Methadone Treatment?

Inpatient methadone treatment is a type of detox treatment where methadone replaces the opiate in your system. The doctor will start you off on a moderate dose of methadone. Then they will titrate the dose according to your symptoms.

In inpatient care, you are monitored very closely. This is to prevent both overdose and addiction to the methadone. Methadone has some side effects including:

  • addiction,
  • blurred vision,
  • vomiting,
  • nausea,
  • headaches,
  • flushing,
  • dizziness and fainting,
  • dry mouth, and
  • constipation.

These side effects range from mild to severe. Most people who take methadone are concerned about becoming addicted to it. After taking methadone for a while, it is possible to be dependent on the drug. The doctors will have to taper you off it, so you can quit taking it safely.

What is Inpatient Suboxone Treatment?


Subutex is a safe alternative to Methadone.

Suboxone is made from a drug called Buprenorphine and Naloxone. According to the National Library of Medicine, buprenorphine is a safe alternative to methadone for patients who cannot take methadone for medical reasons. Suboxone treatment starts immediately after entering inpatient rehab. It works the same way that methadone treatment does but with less of a chance of becoming addicted to it. Most people who choose Suboxone do so because they do not want to experience the issues that come with methadone yet they also do not want to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

There are also reasons why some patients need Suboxone to withdrawal from an opiate. These reasons are:

  • they tried and failed at quitting on their own,
  • they become addicted to substances easily,
  • they suffer from multiple addictions,
  • they have a medical condition that makes withdrawal dangerous,
  • they have a psychiatric condition that makes withdrawal dangerous, and
  • they are unlikely to succeed using traditional withdrawal methods.

These are the same patients that are not ordinarily candidates for methadone treatment.

What is Inpatient Detox and Counseling?

Inpatient detox and counseling is a type of treatment that many inpatient rehabs offer. This is detoxing from an opiate without medications to prevent withdrawal. Some people choose this type of detox when they cannot take methadone or another replacement drugs. These people have:

  • serious addiction issues,
  • medical problems that prevent the use of Suboxone and methadone,
  • allergies to the ingredients in either of these drugs,
  • the desire to not replace one medication with another, and
  • those participating in a community program such as Narcotics Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous does not strictly forbid methadone but it is a clean organization that believes that no one should be on any drug including a replacement drug like Methadone.

Regardless of the reason, detox and counseling works for many people because of the inpatient setting. The restrictive environment does not allow a person to relapse when their withdrawal symptoms are at their worst. They have access to counselors 24 hours a day and can talk through their symptoms or at the very least distract themselves from the physical issues it creates.

Some people choose to use over the counter medications to reduce the symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. These are provided by the rehab facility.

What other Treatments are Available?

There are many other treatments available as an alternative to methadone treatment. One of the most popular rising treatments is holistic therapy. This is a combination of treatments that are designed to help the whole person rather than just cure the addiction. Holist therapy usually includes:

  • counseling – almost all treatment methods use some form of counseling. Holistic counseling does not only focus on the addiction. It focuses on the whole person and overcoming all of the problems in someone’s life.
  • meditation – meditation is one of the most common holistic practices. It allows you to clear your mind to overcome the symptoms of withdrawal by using the power of the mind.
  • yoga – a popular form of exercise, yoga is known to help with chronic pain, other illnesses, and the symptoms of withdrawal. It helps people by both occupying their mind and their body.
  • massage – massage and body manipulation has long been used as a way to overcome the different aspects of addiction withdrawal. It is also a popular practice for relieving tension and chronic pain.
  • herbal therapies – many of the medications we currently use to treat addiction have a herbal base. Herbal medications can help you overcome withdrawal symptoms and learn to deal with addiction without methadone.

Although methadone is a popular therapy there are many alternatives offered as part of an inpatient treatment plan. It is possible to start using methadone, taper off, and engage in other forms of therapy as the withdrawal symptoms abate. The best way to choose an alternative to methadone treatment is to speak with one of our addiction counselors at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? . We can help you go over all of your options, the alternatives to methadone, and help you make an informed decision about opiate addiction treatment.

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