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Inpatient Drug Rehab vs. Suboxone Maintenance

Chronic opiate addiction leaves a shell of a person in its wake, making it difficult to live a normal life, let alone manage the affairs of everyday living. By the time long-time addicts enter the treatment process, a range of other problems may well have developed as a result of the addiction.

Compared to other forms of drug treatment, inpatient drug rehab utilizes the most structured, intensive treatment approach, providing round-the-clock monitoring and support for the duration of the program. People coming off chronic, long-term opiate addictions stand to benefit from the structure and support offered by inpatient drug rehab.

Suboxone, one of a handful of drugs used to treat opiate addiction, offers a range of benefits in terms of helping addicts overcome the effects of addiction. Though effective at managing the physical aftereffects of opiate abuse, Suboxone falls short in addressing the psychological aftereffects of addiction in a person’s daily life; however, Suboxone’s therapeutic effects can still go a long way towards enhancing a person’s recovery efforts.

Chronic Addiction and It’s Effects

The effects of chronic drug use can persist for months or years, even in cases where a person has stopped using drugs. While different types of drugs produce varying effects, addictive drugs in general tend to act on similar brain and body processes.

Depending on a person’s age, health and psychological status, the effects of chronic drug use may take the form of:

  • Fatigue
  • Flat affect or an inability to feel emotion
  • Muddled thinking, confusion
  • Drug cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Bouts of anxiety

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, these effects coupled with daily life stressors leave those in recovery at high risk of relapse and an eventual return to drug-using behaviors. Considering the effects long-term opiate abuse can have, traditional drug treatment program will likely fall short in meeting a person’s treatment needs. Someone in this state requires the level of treatment afforded through inpatient drug rehab programs.

The Need for Inpatient Drug Rehab

Who’s Most Needs Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Even in cases of mild addiction, the effects of frequent drug use offset the delicate chemical required for normal brain function, creating a diseased chemical environment in the brain. In effect, the “disease” aspect of addiction functions in much the same way as any other type of chronic medical condition, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Drugs abuse creates a self-perpetuating cycle of continued drug use through its damaging effects on brain chemical pathways. For people who’ve abused drugs for years at a time, these effects greatly diminish their ability to stop using, which accounts for the high relapse rates associated with addiction and recovery.

In light of these effects, the best candidates for inpatient drug rehab treatment include:

  • People who’ve made multiple failed attempts to stop using
  • People who’ve gone through two or more rounds of traditional drug treatment with little to no results to show for it
  • People who’ve developed chronic medical conditions as a result of drug abuse
  • People who’ve developed psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders as result of chronic drug use

Treatment Interventions

Inpatient drug rehab programs employ a multi-pronged approach for treating chronic addiction starting with a comprehensive screening and evaluation process to identify a person’s specific treatment needs. Information gathered at this initial stage forms the basis for any treatment interventions administered throughout the course of a person’s stay.

These programs have ample experience in addressing the widespread effects of long-term drug use, treating both the physical and psychological effects of addiction. Services offered through inpatient drug rehab include:

  • Treatment for chronic medical conditions
  • Treatment for psychological disorders
  • Detox treatment
  • Behavioral therapies
  • 12-Step support group work

Suboxone Medication Therapy



Suboxone is a synthetic opiate.

Suboxone Effects

Suboxone, a synthetic opiate drug, works in much the same way as methadone. Both drugs occupy the same brain cell receptor sites as addictive opiates thereby preventing a person from getting “high” should a relapse episode occur.

Like methadone, Suboxone helps stabilize damaged brain chemical functions by helping cells produce needed neurotransmitter chemicals. In the process, addicts gain relief from uncomfortable withdrawal effects and drug cravings. Suboxone differs from methadone in that it also contains naloxone, an ingredient that blocks Suboxone’s opiate effects should a person try to snort or inject the drug.


According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, as of 2002, Suboxone received FDA approval as a doctor-administered opiate addiction treatment. Whereas methadone can only be administered through authorized treatment clinics or programs, Suboxone can be prescribed through a physician’s office provided he or she has the required certifications to distribute the drug. This provision makes for a more convenient treatment option than methadone as patients don’t have to frequent clinic facilities on a daily basis to receive daily doses of the drug.

Suboxone Uses

Like methadone, Suboxone uses include both detox and long-term maintenance treatment of opiate addiction. As a detox agent, Suboxone enables the body to transition from a state of physical dependence to normal functioning in the absence of addictive opiates.

As a maintenance treatment, Suboxone provides ongoing relief from withdrawal and cravings through its stabilizing effects on brain chemical processes.

Risks Associated with Suboxone Maintenance

While Suboxone offers much needed relief from addiction’s aftereffects (withdrawal and drug cravings), the drug’s effects only address the physical challenges addicts face in recovery, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. In effect, addiction has more to do with the psychological dysfunction brought on by damaged brain chemical pathways than the actual damage itself.

Without ongoing behavioral treatment interventions, a person will likely fall back into the old thinking patterns and behaviors that drive drug-using behaviors. Addicts remain at high risk of relapse unless the psychological underpinnings of addiction are resolved.

The Best of Both Worlds: Inpatient Suboxone Drug Rehab

While someone receiving doctor-prescribed Suboxone treatment does have access to needed behavioral treatment interventions, it’s up to him or her to follow through in terms of actually attending treatment sessions. This leaves recovering addicts in a precarious position as the inclinations that come with addiction’s aftereffects can quickly steer them away from following though.

Fortunately, many inpatient drug rehab programs also offer Suboxone treatment for both detox and long-term, maintenance purposes. These programs offer the best of both worlds, providing the behavioral treatment interventions needed to undo addiction’s psychological aftereffects while providing ongoing direction and support along the way.

Ultimately, addressing both the physical and psychological damage left in addiction’s wake offers the only chance of maintaining ongoing abstinence and living a drug-free life.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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