According to the NIJ, methadone maintenance treatment “is one of the most monitored and regulated medical treatments in the country” and can only be dispensed in specific opioid treatment programs. This means as well that the medical professionals there must be trained and helpful in order to be a part of the program. But what are the qualities of a good methadone doctor?
Often, patients in methadone maintenance treatment will work with the same medical team, even the same doctor, for months or years at a time. This means that compatibility between you and your physician is very important and a quality of a good methadone doctor. You will want to search for someone who:
- Makes you feel comfortable
- Listens to you
- Is on the same page when it comes to your treatment
- Allows you to be part of the decision-making process when it comes to your treatment
Compatibility between methadone doctors and patients is extremely necessary due to the usual length of the relationship.
Especially in addiction situations, doctors must be constantly reassessing the needs of the patient and their treatment plan. According to the NIDA, “An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.” This means that you will want a doctor who is asking after your needs and attempting to determine whether or not the current treatment should be modified in order to work better for you. You can help with this by answering questions accurately whenever asked.
Drug addiction is a delicate, complex issue, and recovery from it can be just as painful and is it difficult. A compassionate methadone doctor will be beneficial to your recovery as you will need someone who understands the issues that you are facing. While there still needs to be an understanding between the patient and doctor that dosages, other treatments, etc. must be followed, knowing that you have a caring, compassionate doctor will help you get farther in your treatment. In fact, doctors who create a good bond with their patients are usually able to help them stay in treatment longer than those doctors who do not.
Doctors who have been working with methadone maintenance patients for a long time will know that precision and attention to detail are important to qualities to being able to help their patients. The NIDA states, “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.” This is why doctors must be precise with each case, each individual person, and take into account all of their particular patient’s needs, even those which do not relate to their drug abuse. If they lump together all of their patients, putting them on the same dosage of methadone for example, they will not get strong results because each patient is different. According to the CDC, “Most patients require a dose of 60-120 mg/day to achieve optimum therapeutic effects of methadone” but “some patients need even higher doses for fully effective treatment.”
There are several qualities to look for in a good methadone doctor. Make sure that you are comfortable with whomever you choose and that your doctor is caring for your needs in particular whenever you receive treatment.