Opiate addictions cause considerable damage to essential chemical processes throughout the body. As any recovering addict well knows, the effects of an opiate addiction can last long after a person stops using. For these reasons, methadone maintenance treatment must often address a host of physical and psychological issues in order to be effective.
As no two people experience opiate addiction in the same way, an effective methadone maintenance treatment approach takes each person’s individual circumstances under consideration. While some people may require the type of close monitoring and support offered through residential programs, others may benefit from a less structured treatment environment. Ultimately, effective methadone maintenance treatment uses a combination of different treatment options to best address a person’s individual needs.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment Approach
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the potential for relapse remains an ongoing problem for recovering opiate addicts. More oftentimes than not, an opiate addiction takes the form of a chronic disorder wrought with various difficulties and challenges regardless of how long a person remains abstinent. Compared to other forms of drug addiction, opiate drug rehab requires unique treatment approaches for helping recovering addicts regain control of their lives.
Methadone maintenance treatment is designed to play an integral part within a person’s recovery process. As a drug treatment, methadone makes it possible for recovering addicts to function in everyday life while at the same time receiving needed treatment services. Methadone acts as a replacement drug designed to mimic the effects of opiates without actually producing a “high.” In the process, recovering addicts find relief from withdrawal symptoms and ongoing cravings for opiate drugs.
Methadone maintenance treatment also offers counseling and support group services, which are essential parts of the recovery process. Treating the psychological aspects of addiction enables participants to learn the coping skills needed to function in everyday life without the need for drugs.
Residential & Outpatient Treatment Programs
Residential and outpatient treatment programs provide different levels of care. Residential programs offer a tightly structured treatment environment where recovering addicts live for the duration of the program. During this time, participants receive methadone maintenance treatment, psychotherapy and needed medical care to treat conditions resulting from opiate use. These programs work best for people who have a long-term history of opiate abuse.
Outpatient treatment programs provide a less structured treatment approach in terms of allowing participants to attend scheduled treatment sessions rather than living on-the-grounds. While these programs offer the same services as inpatient care – methadone maintenance treatment included – the effectiveness of these programs depends on how motivated participants are to get well.
Methadone maintenance treatment programs may administer methadone as a short-term or long-term treatment. Short-term methadone treatments entail a one to two year period where participants remain on the drug. This two year period also includes a tapering stage, which enables participants to wean off the drug rather than stopping it abruptly.
Long-term methadone maintenance treatment entails remaining on methadone indefinitely. For people who’ve been addicted to opiates for years, long-term methadone treatment is often the only way they can remain in recovery for any length of time.