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What Is the Best Choice for Addiction Treatment?

answered 10:18 AM EST, Sat March 23, 2013
anonymous anonymous
What is better using Suboxone or just detoxing and going to rehab. I am addicted to vicodin or basically any opiate I can get my hands on. I have even done heroin a few times but I try not to. I have considered fast opiate detox but it seems like it does not work as well as they say it does. Do you recommend fast opiate detox instead of drug rehab or not? Thank you for helping me to understand the best way to go, I am very confused with all the choices.

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds
MSED, NCC, LPC

Thank you for your question. I think the best choice for addiction treatment depends on your individual situation. If you have never been to rehab, I recommend it as a first choice. People who are early in their addiction need intensive treatment to learn the basics of addiction.

Rehab will teach you about the disease of addiction, how to manage cravings, what your triggers are, how to get support and why you need it plus so much more. Plus, the rewards of being completely drug free are worth the extra effort.

I always recommend complete abstinence as a first choice because you will feel better physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. There is nothing better than the pride you will feel being completely clean.

I would also encourage someone new to treatment to follow up rehab with an aftercare program. Addiction is a lifelong disease and cannot be properly treated in only 28 days of rehab. There are many halfway and recovery houses available that will help you learn how to live without drugs and return to being a productive member of society. In a halfway or recovery house, you can work on education, employment and legal issues. You can start to build your self-esteem back up and repair the damage to family relationships. You can also become involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous which will help you get the support you need to succeed at recovery. 

As far as the fast opiate detox, it may be useful to get the drugs out of your system but the drugs are only part of the problem. Addiction is a physical, psychological and spiritual disease. A fast detox only treats the physical part. The same is true for medication assisted treatment such as Suboxone or methadone. These treatments only keep you from having withdrawal and need to be combined with counseling to be effective.

I only recommend Suboxone or methadone for addicts who have been to rehab, halfway houses, recovery houses, etc and have not succeeded. I believe medication assisted treatment should be a last resort for older addicts who have been addicted for many years and have been unable to stop. These types of treatment are considered harm reduction. This means they reduce drug use, disease and crime. The programs do not often aim to help addicts reach abstinence. However, this does not mean it is not possible to become abstinent with Suboxone or methadone. You can use them as a tool to stabilize your health and then slowly reduce your dose until you complete treatment. To do this, you need a lot of counseling and support. 

I hope this answers your question and I wish you good luck with your recovery. 

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Page last updated Mar 24, 2013

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