Methadone maintenance is a polarizing treatment option that most people either champion or oppose. However, methadone maintenance treatment is actually incredibly beneficial, especially when used by the right individual. It can be hard to know for sure if methadone maintenance is right for you, especially if you have never attended opioid addiction treatment before. If you are wondering if this treatment could work for you, look for these five signs that methadone maintenance could be extremely helpful to you.
You Need a Well-Rounded, Multicomponent Treatment Program.
If you are looking for a rehab program that contains more than just medication or one type of therapeutic treatment, methadone maintenance could be the program for you. Methadone maintenance usually starts out with the essential treatment of methadone use for opioid addicted individuals. These patients are given methadone because
- It “blocks the euphoric and sedating effects of opiates” (CDC).
- It doesn’t cause the euphoria, intense pain relief, extreme drowsiness, or intoxication that are caused by other opioids as long as it is given to the patient in stable doses.
- It relieves withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings for opioids.
- It can be taken once a day.
- It is dispensed safely by certified opioid addiction treatment centers (methadone maintenance clinics).
However, this is not the only treatment available to patients of methadone maintenance clinics. These facilities, which according to the CDC have been treating opioid addiction since the 1960s, actually provide many other treatment types as well, including:
- Group therapy
- Individualized therapy
- Vocational counseling
- Mandatory drug tests
- Medical treatment for opioid addiction-based problems
Certain facilities may provide different treatments so it is important to find out which are provided by the facility of your choosing. While many people believe that methadone maintenance treatment is just handing out pills to patients, it couldn’t be further from the truth; the program is actually extremely developed and offers many other treatments as well to help patients get back on their feet.
You Have Been Abusing Opioids for a Long Time.
Often those who have been abusing opioid drugs for a very long time, sometimes for years or longer, feel that they will never be able to stop abusing these drugs. They feel trapped by their addictions and that they will not be able to end the behavior that has caused so many issues in their lives.
According to Harvard Medical School, “Since the 1970s, professionals who care for opiate addicts have reluctantly recognized that many of them will not or cannot stop taking the drug. The solution is maintenance––dispensing opiates under medical supervision.” While many individuals may feel that they cannot stop taking opioids, they can stop abusing them and take them in a way that is safe, manageable, and doesn’t cause the issues caused by opioid abuse.
Methadone maintenance does not ask people to stop taking opioids; it helps them to stop abusing them. If you feel that this treatment could be more helpful to you than trying to quit cold turkey, methadone maintenance may be right for you.
If you have experienced several instances of relapse throughout your life, you may want to ask yourself why that is. Is it because you attended an inpatient clinic where it was much easier to stay away from opioids until you left the clinic? Or is there another reason why you have experienced relapse so many times? With methadone maintenance, relapse can still occur but there are many ways that it can be fought. Also, with methadone maintenance, relapse can be more of a small setback instead of an extreme issue that leads back to dangerous and problematic behavior.
- Many methadone clinics can help individuals who are receiving treatment by using random and mandatory drug tests as an incentive for staying clean. In many instances, patients are not able to receive their medication if they do not comply with the drug test.
- Methadone treatment reduces “risk of overdose” and “use of injection drugs” (CDC).
- According to the NIJ, “Sees and colleagues (2000) found that treatment group members who received methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) remained in treatment significantly longer than comparison group members who received psychosocially enriched 180-day methadone-assisted… detoxification.”
- Patients have to go to their treatment clinic every day in order to receive their medication, making their recovery stay constantly on their mind and remaining incredibly important from day to day.
3. You are Looking for a Community-Based Treatment Experience.
Methadone maintenance provides the community-based treatment experience by allowing you to receive treatment every day from the same doctors and nurses and to attend therapy with the same counselors. Also methadone maintenance almost always utilizes some type of group therapy treatment which allows individuals attending the program to get to know one another, share their stories, and help each other in and out of treatment.
Many people like this community aspect that they experience while in inpatient treatment but, eventually, they have to leave the facility and go back to their regular lives. With methadone maintenance, because it is usually an outpatient-based, long-term program, you never need to leave the treatment as long as it is still helping you and providing you with the tools you need to succeed in your recovery.
4. You are Looking for a Cost-Effective Way to Receive Long-term Addiction Treatment.
Methadone maintenance is cost-effective in more ways than one. For many individuals, the cost of their methadone medication itself can be very little when compared to other pharmacological treatments, and patients also have access to therapy as well as vocational, educational, and medical treatment in many cases. This can be extremely cost-effective for those patients who are looking for good treatment at an affordable price.
Methadone maintenance may be right for you if you have had experience with any of the signs listed above. If you are interested in methadone maintenance, look for a facility near you and call before attending treatment to ask any questions you may have.