When Is Inpatient Methadone Treatment Necessary?

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With the advent of methadone, people struggling with chronic opiate addiction can benefit from its therapeutic effects in their efforts to stop using drugs. As a heavily controlled substance, methadone clinics normally administer the drug on an outpatient basis to people who qualify for treatment. Under these conditions, methadone is used as a long-term maintenance therapy; however, this drug’s effects can also be used within an inpatient methadone treatment setting.

Inpatient methadone treatment combines the intensive level of care characteristic of inpatient programs with methadone’s therapeutic effects. Since clinic settings operate as primary, authorized methadone providers, certain extenuating circumstances must be present in order for a person to receive inpatient methadone treatment care.

Inpatient Treatment Settings

Inpatient program provide round-the-clock care to individuals struggling with the most severe forms of addiction. According Mount Sinai Hospital, once a person completes the detoxification stage, inpatient treatment becomes the next step in the recovery process.

Inpatient Methadone Treatment

Inpatient methadone treatment addresses residual withdrawal symptoms.

With chronic opiate addictions, withdrawal effects persist long after the initial detoxification stage ends. In effect, detoxification treatment takes place during the acute withdrawal stage during which the most uncomfortable symptoms appear. Inpatient treatment picks up where detoxification leaves off in terms of providing relief for residual withdrawal effects, such as:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Anxiety

In the absence of intensive treatment care, chronic addicts can easily slip back into drug-using behaviors in an attempt to gain relief from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

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Inpatient Methadone Treatment Scenarios

According to Stony Brook University Medical Center, inpatient methadone treatment services can be provided in two scenarios: for people who are currently in an approved methadone clinic program and for people who are active opiate users.

While methadone clinic programs do provide a range of services in addition to methadone treatment in an outpatient setting, people battling severe addiction problems face an incredibly high risk of relapse due to the brain and body’s heavy dependence on opiates. Under these conditions, the close confines of an inpatient methadone treatment program offers the level of support and monitoring needed for a person to maintain continued abstinence.

In the case of active opiate users, chronic opiate use comes with a high risk of overdose as well as medical and/or psychological complications. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for chronic users to be admitted to the emergency room as result of drug use. Within this scenario, a person can be admitted to inpatient methadone treatment provided he or she desires to stop using drugs.

Choosing an Inpatient Alternative to Methadone Treatment


If you’re currently receiving treatment from an authorized methadone clinic program and still have difficulty abstaining from drug use, inpatient methadone treatment may well provide the level of care most needed to ensure your ongoing abstinence from drug use.

If you’re currently engaging in chronic, frequent opiate use and need help overcoming opiate addiction, a methadone treatment program may be a good first step towards taking back your life from addiction.

If you or someone you know are considering inpatient methadone treatment and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

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