In recent years, the addiction treatment community has been doing more to embrace outpatient treatment as a viable alternative. This may have been necessitated by the opiate epidemic that is negatively impacting the treatment capacity of residential treatment centers all over the country.
To be clear, residential treatment is always the preferred treatment option for addiction sufferers who have a significant addiction problem. These are people who need time and a secure environment to help them arrest their addictions. They need a controlled environment and professional counselors to help guide them through the entire treatment process all the way to recovery.
There are three reasons why residential treatment might not be an alternative for clients with significant opiate or meth/cocaine addiction issues. First, it’s quite possible a client won’t be willing to submit to residential treatment for personal reasons. It’s possible some people can’t submit to residential treatment because of family or economic concerns. Finally, there will be people excluded from residential treatment due to the lack of rehab bed space.
Of course, there are questions that addiction treatment professionals need to answer about the viability of outpatient treatment for someone with a severe addiction to hardcore substances like heroin, meth, fentanyl, and crack cocaine. Remember, the answer to this question is less relevant if a client won’t or can’t submit to residential treatment. In such cases, outpatient care becomes the only alternative.
The first such question about the viability of outpatient care has to do with the detox process. Under normal circumstances, clients will go through a detox program that lasts for five to seven days. As long as everything goes as planned, clients can then move on to therapy. But what happens if someone has to go through a tapering detox program as an outpatient client?
In the next section, we want to focus on this very important question.
Can Maintenance Drugs be Prescribed as Ongoing Treatment at an Outpatient Drug Rehab Center?
In a standard inpatient detox program, medical professionals are responsible for monitoring the progress and wellbeing of the clients under their care. If a client experience difficulties, a doctor is standing by to help deal with the issue. That process is compromised when handled on an outpatient basis.
How bad can things get? Take a look at this partial list of opiate withdrawal symptoms:
- Severe breathing problems
- High blood pressure and increase heart rate
- Tramtic hallucinations and nightmares
- Body convulsions and tremors in the extremities
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Inability to concentrate on basic tasks
A standard outpatient detox program requires a lot of monitoring on the part of the client and their external support resources (family and friends). The extra scrutiny is necessary to ensure things don’t go wrong. Where things can get dicey is if a client needs detox support in the form of a tapering program.
Tapering programs include the use of tapering or maintenance drugs like suboxone or methadone. It’s important to remember that these are narcotics. As such, using them also come with certain health risks.
To better explain this, we want to focus on suboxone. Suboxone is commonly prescribed for opioid detox programs. The substance uses opiates as its primary active ingredient. Where suboxone differs from other opioids is the chemical structure of the drug makes it less likely to promote addiction. The premise behind using it is the suboxone satisfies the brain’s need for opiates, allowing detox specialists to slowly decrease the dosage. The tapering effect serves to create a detox process that is slower but much safer for the client.
To answer the titled question, yes, medical staffers can and do prescribe maintenance drugs as part of the rehab’s outpatient services. While they do on occasion do so, there is a reluctance due to the dangers associated with the maintenance drugs themselves. By agreeing to allow a client to go through a maintenance program as an outpatient client, the client must be able to represent responsible behavior and the existence of solid support resources.
At this point, your focus should be on getting yourself help for your addiction. After contacting our rehab facility at 833-610-1174, we will be in a position to start discussing the treatment process. If you believe outpatient care would be your best option, we’ll work with you in that regard. That could include an outpatient detox maintenance program should we mutually decide that’s the best course of action.