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Types of Opiate Addiction Treatment

Opiate addiction treatment is necessary for someone who has become addicted to opiate drugs. Here are some of the different types of opiate addiction treatment.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment

The CDC describes methadone maintenance treatment as “a program in which addicted individuals receive daily doses of methadone… as part of a broad, multicomponent treatment program that also emphasize[s] resocialization and vocational training.” Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat those who abuse heroin and other opiate-based drugs. Individuals are given small doses of methadone which:

  • “Does not cause euphoria or intoxication itself (with stable dosing)”
  • Blocks the sedating effects that opiate drugs cause
  • Helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms
  • Can be excreted slowly so that the person only has to take it once a day
  • Relieves opiate cravings

Methadone maintenance treatment often lasts for a while, usually a year or more. Someone who needs this type of treatment has likely been addicted to opiates for a long time and is in need of a slow treatment process. Sometimes, methadone maintenance will last several years or more if the patient needs it. It is usually available in an outpatient setting so the person can receive methadone as part of their daily life.


The use of buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, is a relatively new maintenance treatment that helps patients detox from opiates and also work through their addictions while taking the drug. It is combined with naloxone, a short-acting opiate antagonist, in order to lower the risk of abuse. According to Harvard Medical School, “the main advantage of this combination, sold under the name Suboxone, is that patients do not have to come to clinics to take it.”

Patients can receive buprenorphine from their personal doctors, if the doctor has the “proper training and certification.” This can be useful for those who do not want to attend methadone maintenance, or who have been doing so for a while with success.

Behavioral Therapy

opiate abuse help

Methadone or another medication may be prescribed during opiate rehab.

As stated by the NIDA, “Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies.” While medications are a part of opiate addiction treatment, they work much better when paired with behavioral therapy. Some of the types of behavioral counseling that are often successful with opiate addicts are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
    • CBT is incredibly beneficial to opiate addicts. They learn to identify their specific triggers and cravings and how to change the way they react to them. CBT teaches patients how to change the way they think about opiates and their addictions to them.
  • Group therapy
    • Harvard Medical School states, “Group treatment is often preferred for addicts.” It helps them meet other people who are going through the same issues and gives them a sense of connection and belonging. Group therapy can be very beneficial to opiate addicts.

There are other behavioral therapies, but these are two of the most popular. However, like all treatments, the one that is best for and most beneficial to the patient is the one which should be used.