Treatment & Rehab for Methadone Addiction
Methadone is one of the medications most commonly used in the treatment of opioid – including heroin – addiction in the UK. Unfortunately, however, methadone is also a highly addictive opioid in its own right and is commonly abused, including alongside other opioids. Many people in Britain are now addicted to methadone, either as a result of opioid addiction treatment or after consuming it recreationally; fortunately various options now exist for anyone struggling with methadone addiction who wants to defeat the condition and return to a healthy and productive life.
Where to Get Help for Methadone Addiction/Substance Abuse
If you have a methadone addiction, regardless of how it first developed, and wish to overcome it, it can be very hard – if not impossible – to defeat it without professional help. Therefore your first port of call should always be your GP; tell them about your situation and they will be able to assess you and if necessary refer you for treatment.
Because of the complexity of the addiction treatment landscape in the UK, you may also benefit from speaking with an addiction specialist who can help you navigate your way through the many choices which will lie before you when you first decide to get help for your methadone addiction.
Importance of treating methadone addiction & when to seek treatment
Methadone, like any opioid, is an extremely harmful substance of abuse which can cause permanent damage and even death from overdose, and can expose you to numerous other dangers. Each day you labour under the burden of a methadone addiction is another day in which you are damaging your physical and mental health, and potentially impairing your life circumstances and future prospects. Therefore, the sooner you can get help, the less likely you are to suffer permanent harm – or worse.
As soon as you are able to admit to yourself that you have a methadone addiction, and decide to seek treatment, get in touch with your doctor and/or an addiction specialist to discuss your situation and find out about the numerous different treatment options of which you may be able to take advantage. It is especially important to act promptly if you have already tried and failed to stop taking methadone, and even more so if your methadone habit has already begun to cause harm to you or anyone around you.
Understanding methadone addiction treatment and rehab options
The treatment of methadone addiction in Britain has become quite a sophisticate practice in recent years as the number of addicts has grown (in large part because of the increased use of methadone in the treatment of heroin addiction). As part of this development, the number of treatment facilities operating around the country has also grown, and when you decide to seek help you may find the sheer range of choices available to you to be quite intimidating – especially because your best option for treatment will be determined by a host of factors including your location, professional and financial circumstances, the state of your health and the extent and duration of your addiction.
Not every methadone addiction treatment programme or clinic will be appropriate for you; however, whether you opt for NHS treatment or that provided by a charity or a private health organisation, the important thing is that you do get into treatment; failing to do so could cost you your life.
- NHS Options
- Private Rehab
- Residential Care
Private rehab vs free treatment options for methadone addiction
There are a range of organisations in Britain providing free methadone addiction treatment, including the NHS and various local and national charities, and you may wish first to explore free treatment options. Sadly, however, places in free treatment service are frequently very limited and waiting times are often protracted – which in some cases means it is too late for addicts to get the help they need.
In order to get prompt treatment for your methadone addiction you may wish to explore private treatment options, of which there are now many across the country. Of course, private methadone addiction treatment is not free, but some clinics now offer credit and/or easy payment terms, while many addicts are able to fund treatment via private health insurance.
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Executive/luxury rehab programmes for methadone addiction
If you are a senior executive, you may feel reluctant to take the time away from your office and career which methadone addiction treatment entails; however, your treatment needs to take priority. A number of treatment organisations now provide executive rehab options to allow methadone addicts to get the help they need without taking them away entirely from their professional obligations; executive rehabs offer facilities such as videoconferencing and secure internet which will allow you to keep on top of work while still receiving potentially life-saving treatment.
Meanwhile, if you are a high net worth individual and want to get treatment in the most comfortable environment possible you may wish to explore luxury rehab options, in which treatment is provided in settings akin to high-end hotels or holiday resorts. In luxury rehab you will be able to relax fully in the style to which you are accustomed, and to receive treatment with the minimum of stress and discomfort.
What Happens in Methadone Rehab
If you have been receiving methadone because of a previous opioid addiction, you may already be familiar with the rehab process. If not, however, you should always remember that no two addicts’ experiences of treatment will be the same; one clinic differs from the next, and even within the same clinic individual addiction treatment programmes may vary considerably. However, that said, it is possible to provide at least a rough guide to the kind of treatment and process you may expect once you enter rehab.
Methadone rehab admission process
Many methadone addicts are extremely vulnerable and in a good deal of distress when they reach the point of requesting help; because of this, it is a priority for addiction treatment clinics to ensure that their admissions processes are as simple as possible to avoid causing further psychological harm (and potentially driving addicts into relapse and away from their commitment to seek help). When you first speak with an addiction treatment organisation, you will be asked to provide some basic details about your situation, following which you will then be recommended a particular clinic.
Private treatment organisations will require a deposit to be paid at this point. Once that has been received, you will have a place in treatment confirmed and will be able to travel to the clinic to begin your methadone addiction treatment; some rehabs will be able to provide you with transport at this point.
Methadone addiction assessment
Upon arrival at the clinic, the first thing to expect is a medical assessment designed to allow doctors to get the necessary understanding of your condition and your medical history. This assessment will form the basis of the addiction treatment plan which your doctors will give you and which will govern how you are treated during the remainder of your stay in the facility (though it will be flexible to a degree to take into account any unforeseen developments as you move through treatment).
You will need to be fully honest with your doctors in your assessment because providing them with inaccurate or incomplete information will jeopardise the eventual success of your treatment and could also prove dangerous in you are to be prescribed with any medication. This means being totally open about not only your methadone abuse but any other substance abuse, including opioid abuse, you may have engaged in. Your doctors are not there to judge you, but to help you, so do not conceal any relevant information even if you fear it may not paint you in the best light.
Acceptance of the problem
One important aspect of your assessment will be whether or not you are fully accepting that you have a methadone problem. If doctors do not believe you have reached the point where you can admit to your methadone addiction and can devote yourself fully to your recovery, they will be concerned that you may not engage fully with your treatment plan and could even be a negative influence on other addicts in treatment, and could even suggest you seek methadone addiction treatment elsewhere.
Medically assisted/controlled detoxification
Following your assessment you will proceed through to the detoxification (detox) phase, which will cleanse your system of methadone and other substances of abuse ahead of your entry into subsequent phases of treatment. Methadone addiction almost invariably includes methadone dependence, and opioid withdrawal symptoms are extremely likely to manifest during your detox; because of this, doctors will be on hand 24/7 to ensure your optimal comfort and safety, and may well prescribe you with medication (potentially as early as immediately following your assessment) aimed at keeping the distress and discomfort caused by withdrawal to a minimum.
Not every client entering rehab requires medically assisted detox, and the degree to which medication plays a role in your treatment will depend upon your initial assessment. However, if you have been abusing methadone for some time, dependence is almost assured, and therefore a pharmaceutical component to your treatment is very likely; again, be sure to give full details to your doctors regarding any other medication or substances of abuse you may have been taking.
The next phase of treatment after detox is sometimes known as rehabilitation (confusingly, “rehab” is also a term used to describe addiction treatment itself as well as any facility in which such treatment is provided), and once you have completed a detox period and your withdrawal symptoms have either disappeared completely or subsided to a tolerable level you will proceed into rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is founded upon therapy aimed at uncovering the root psychological causes of your methadone abuse and addiction and at giving you a range of defence mechanisms against relapse and other coping strategies which you will be able to call upon once you leave the clinic. Alongside therapy you will be provided with fitness and dietary schedules tailored to you, as well as having access to any facilities such as gyms or pools which your clinic may offer.
At the end of your methadone addiction treatment programme you will have achieved abstinence and may feel greatly empowered by the new tools and techniques given to you in therapy, and may re-enter the outside world with confidence and optimism. However, it is vital not to become overconfident as in some ways the hardest part of your journey has only just begun: recovery is a gradual process (indeed, some addicts find it beneficial to think of it as a life-long one) with numerous pitfalls lying in wait, and the more support you can get through that process the more likely it is to result in permanent abstinence. Because of this, good rehabs often provide up to a year’s free aftercare once you complete methadone addiction treatment.
What is an Inpatient Rehab Programme?
Inpatient – or residential – methadone rehab sees clients receiving treatment onsite in a dedicated facility; a typical stay in rehab will last between 30 and 90 days, during which time you will benefit from 24/7 medical access and the presence of other recovering addicts who know the highs and lows of addiction and can provide you with vital support and companionship as you go through treatment. Rehabs are secure, friendly, substance-free, confidential and calm environments in which you can focus wholly upon treatment and recovery and prepare yourself for an abstinent life once you leave the clinic.
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What is Outpatient Rehab?
For anyone who needs treatment for their methadone addiction but does not feel able to take the time away from family or professional obligations which residential rehab requires, outpatient treatment options may be worth investigating. In outpatient methadone addiction treatment you will be required to visit the clinic for some appointments – for example, therapy sessions and the prescription of medication – but other aspects of your addiction treatment plan will need to be carried out independently.
Outpatient rehab can be an excellent option but is not entirely non-problematic, as it does not remove you entirely from your daily environment in which methadone addiction has taken hold.
Intensive outpatient programmes
The demands of modern life have given rise to the development of more intensive versions of standard outpatient care. Intensive outpatient programmes typically involve the client visiting the clinic four or more times per week for sessions usually lasting between three and five hours; outside those sessions, the client can return to a comparatively normal life (including going to work if that can be arranged around treatment). Because of the amount of time a client in intensive outpatient rehab is able to spend away from the clinic, frequent drug tests are usually required.
Some clinics provide day programmes, in which treatment is given at the clinic during daytimes (for between one and seven days per week depending on the programme) with the client returning home or to other accommodation at night. Day programmes can be especially beneficial for anyone living close to the clinic; who has certain obligations such as a young baby at home which would make overnight stays challenging; who has a particularly strong support network; and/or who has been through treatment but would benefit from supplementary care. On the flipside, day programmes would not be recommended for anyone without strong external support; anyone with a cooccurring health disorder; or anyone who lives more than an hour’s drive from the clinic.
Ongoing care – more often referred to as “aftercare” – is treatment which clinics give to clients who have completed a full methadone addiction treatment plan, in order to give them the firmest possible foundations for their recovery. Good rehabs usually offer up to a year’s free aftercare, with some appointments being carried out at the clinic and others conducted over email. The schedule of an aftercare plan will usually decrease in frequency over the course of the plan as you become stronger and more confident in your recovery. Aftercare plans can vary significantly from one rehab to the next, so when doing your research into treatment options make sure you request full details of any aftercare which may be provided.
How is Medication Used to Treat Addiction?
Medication plays numerous roles in addiction treatment; indeed, methadone itself is primarily used in the treatment of opioid addiction, and you may well already be familiar with certain aspects of the pharmaceutical treatment of addiction. Methadone and some other medicines are sometimes given as a legal alternative to more dangerous illegal drugs; other medications may be used to suppress cravings, or to disincentivise substance abuse itself. In rehab, medication is most commonly prescribed in order to alleviate the worst symptoms of withdrawal syndrome.
Medications used in addiction treatment & rehab
Numerous medications have been approved by UK authorities for use in addiction treatment – but not all such medications are relevant to every case of substance use disorder, and indeed it may be inappropriate or even dangerous to administer some medications in certain cases (for example if they will exacerbate existing mental health disorders and/or interact dangerously with other medications or substances of abuse). It is imperative that you never take any medication for your methadone addiction which has not been prescribed to you by a qualified doctor familiar with your case.
It is very likely that you will be prescribed medication to alleviate any withdrawal symptoms you may experience whilst going through detox as part of your methadone addiction treatment; however, not every client is provided with medication and if you are not you should not conclude that this makes your situation any less serious, nor that your treatment is therefore doomed to failure: doctors work on a case by case basis and it may not be appropriate to prescribe any medication in your case.
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
- Buprenorphine (Buprenex)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Acamprosate (Campral)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Modafinil (Provigil)
- Desipramine (Norpramin)
- Mirtazapine (Remeron)
- Bupropion (Buproban)
- Gabapentin (Fanatrex)
- Vigabatrin (Sabril)
- Baclofen (Kemstro)
- Topiramate (Topamax)
Psychotherapy for Methadone Addiction Treatment
As is the case with all addiction treatment, treating methadone addiction is based on therapy which seeks to get to the bottom of the psychological causes of the client’s methadone abuse, and to remediate the negative thinking and behaviour which have contributed to the development of addiction. Because addiction is basically a disorder of the mind, simply treating the physical aspects of the condition via detox will do nothing to correct the underlying issues; nor will it give the addict the necessary coping mechanisms which will enable them to stay abstinent once they leave the clinic.
In psychology “coping” is considered to be the placing of conscious effort into resolving significant personal and interpersonal challenges (such as may either cause or result from substance abuse and addiction) in order to minimise, defeat or tolerate stress and conflict. Coping-focused psychotherapy methodologies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) are commonplace in addiction treatment and seek to teach clients more positive and effective ways to deal with the problems they face, which previously they may have sought to cope with via substance abuse.
Coping strategies are normally developed as an individual matures, but some people are unable to build effective coping mechanisms and adopt damaging strategies (including substance abuse). Coping-focused psychotherapists enable clients to come to recognise the flaws in the coping mechanisms they have developed and to formulate new and less harmful strategies (and more positive perspectives on themselves and the world).
Social skills/interpersonal/growth psychotherapy
Inadequate social and interpersonal skills are a prominent driver of addiction. People who find important relationships (such as romantic or professional ones) difficult to build and sustain frequently turn to substance abuse as a way of dealing with the psychological and emotional challenges which can result. This substance abuse can lead to addiction, which can in turn further impair interpersonal activity as the addict grows more isolated and distant from those relationships they do possess.
In interpersonal psychotherapy, a client will work with the therapist to improve existing social skills and develop new ones, which can boost their levels of happiness and general wellbeing by enabling more fulfilling relationships to be achieved. This can also have a pronounced positive impact on other areas of addiction treatment as the client becomes increasingly able to articulate their thoughts and emotions.
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Exploratory psychotherapy –also known as psychodynamic psychotherapy – examines how past events and experiences have affected the client and contributed to the development of substance abuse (including methadone abuse) and addiction. Trauma is a common driver of addiction and certain experiences can be extremely difficult and distressing to address; exploratory therapists must therefore tread extremely gently in their work with clients and the process can be a long one. However, the work can bring great benefits – especially in areas including mood regulation, self-esteem, and self-awareness – and clients who have gone through exploratory psychotherapy as part of the treatment of their addictions often choose to continue engaging in such therapy long after they complete an addiction treatment plan.
Types of psychotherapy used in methadone addiction treatment
Numerous types of therapy have been developed and/or refined for use in the treatment of addiction. It is practically impossible for any one clinic to offer more than a limited selection of therapy models, and if you are keen on receiving a specific type of therapy (for example, if you have gone through therapy as part of previous addiction treatment) you may wish to seek out a clinic where that methodology is provided; if that is the case, speak with an addiction specialist about which clinics offer which therapy formats.
If you are unfamiliar with therapy you might want to experiment with a variety of models before settling on one which is especially beneficial to you. Bear in mind, though, that not all clinics will allow you such experimentation, so ask staff at any clinic you may be contemplating attending how much leeway you will have when it comes to trying out different therapy methodologies.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
- Art therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Dialectical behavioural therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Family therapy
- Fitness therapy
- Group therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Individual therapy
- Music therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
The Recovery Process
You should always see recovery as a long-term process; no matter how confident you may feel when you leave the clinic, there will be many obstacles ahead of you and the danger of relapse and return to addiction will never be too far away. Many addicts prefer to consider recovery as something which will last a lifetime, as this mindset can encourage them to remain constantly vigilant and dedicated to the ongoing maintenance of hard-won abstinence. Remember that once you leave the clinic you will have access to a variety of different resources which can help you sustain your recovery, including any aftercare provided by your facility.
Elements of recovery
It can sometimes be useful to break the recovery process down into a number of distinct components, each of which you can address independently during therapy (indeed, some therapy models are designed to boost specific elements of recovery). Everyone has different skills and abilities and if you find yourself doing better with some of the elements of recovery than with others, do not despair nor conclude that your treatment is failing; instead, simply view this as an opportunity to focus your efforts most effectively.
- Developing hope
- Secure base
- Sense of self
- Supportive relationships
- Social inclusion
- Coping skills
- Giving meaning
How Long are Methadone Rehab Programmes?
There is no hard and fast rule as to how long you will need to remain in treatment for your methadone addiction. Residential rehab programmes typically last between one and three months (though some clinics offer shorter and more intensive, or longer, treatment plans) while outpatient treatment is usually of a significantly longer duration; however, the length of your treatment will be determined by numerous factors including the severity of your addiction, your physical and psychological condition, the type of treatment with which you are provided and how you respond to treatment. You may embark upon treatment with a particular duration in mind but subsequently need to adjust that duration (for example if you respond better than expected to treatment and complete your plan more quickly that scheduled; or on the other hand if you encounter unexpected problems and decide that more protracted treatment is required).
What does Methadone Rehab Cost in the UK?
It can be very difficult to give an estimated cost for treatment as so many different things can impact upon it: where you go to get treatment, the nature of that treatment, and the standard of the clinic you attend can all affect costs very significantly, and it is vital that you get precise costings from any clinic you may be thinking of visiting before making a final assessment regarding whether or not you can afford the treatment you desire. Roughly speaking, methadone rehab in Britain costs between £4,000 and £15,000 per month; speak with an addiction specialist to get more information, and potentially to find out about more affordable options.
Methadone Addiction Recovery and Aftercare
You should see aftercare as an indispensable element of your treatment and of your recovery process, and take full advantage of any aftercare plan which your clinic may offer. Many people find it difficult to go back to their clinics for aftercare appointments as they do not wish to be reminded of their recent struggles, but it is important to overcome any such reluctance you may feel as your recovery will be greatly enhanced by the supplementary support which aftercare entails. Make sure that during your research into treatment you get full information about any aftercare programme which a clinic provides.
Recovery and community
Your support network will play a key role in your recovery. However, do not limit your support network to loved ones and friends; there is a very significant community of recovering addicts in the UK, many of whom are highly active in helping fellow addicts move through recovery. You may also find substantial therapeutic benefit from becoming similarly active and assisting others in their own recovery journeys (and this can also help you address any ongoing issues with which you may continue to struggle, possibly for a long time after you leave treatment).
There are a number of support group organisations and fellowships, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), now operating across Britain which give support, advice and much-needed companionship to recovering methadone addicts. Support groups typically meet weekly, and there is usually no charge for attending: the only criterion is an ongoing commitment to leading a life free of substance abuse.To learn more about support groups, including details of meetings in your area, speak with an addiction specialist.
Several support group organisations including NA operate the 12-step methodology initially developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The 12-step model is not appropriate for every recovering addict (some find certain steps to be incompatible with their personal beliefs) but it may be that you could benefit very significantly from enrolling in a 12-step programme. Reach out to an addiction specialist to get more information on the 12-step process.
Ready to Start Rehab?
Abusing methadone is extremely dangerous and if you have a methadone addiction you are risking everything. It is imperative that you beat your addiction – but that almost certainly means getting professional help. If you are ready to admit to your methadone addiction and request that help, do so as soon as possible: every day that passes in which you continue to abuse methadone is another day in which you are endangering our future prospects, your physical and mental health, and even your life.
Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery
A methadone addiction can make you feel you have totally lost control of your life. However, with the right help you can take back that control; no matter how enslaved you may feel to methadone there are facilities across the country which can set you free. Get in touch with your GP and/or an addiction specialist today to request help: the sooner you can make that call, the sooner you can set out on the road to recovery and begin working towards recapturing the happiness you want and deserve.
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