Many individuals consider methadone treatment programs when they decide to seek help for their opioid addictions. Whether someone is heavily abusing heroin or a type of prescription opioid, methadone treatment programs are a great choice to find the kind of solid, beneficial treatment many individuals need.
But what makes methadone treatment better for you than buprenorphine treatment or naltrexone treatment? Why would you choose a methadone treatment program over a mutual-help or 12 step group? There are many signs that will help you realize when a methadone treatment program is right for your recovery; just consider your situation and your needs.
You Need Long-Term Treatment.
Methadone maintenance is the most used treatment for long-term maintenance of opioid dependence in the country. For individuals who need treatment that will last a long time instead of a quick detox, methadone treatment is very beneficial. While you can still attend a methadone treatment program for a gradual detox and addiction treatment, a fantastic long-term treatment program is one of the best aspects of methadone treatment.
According to Harvard Medical School, “Methadone can be continued indefinitely.” While many individuals may want to stop taking methadone after a year or even longer, some will plan to stay on the program for the rest of their lives. This is common in methadone treatment and well-tolerated by those patients who need it. Attending methadone treatment will be very beneficial to you if you are hoping to be maintained on a substance for a long time or even for the rest of your life.
You Need Controlled, Well-Regulated Treatment.
Many individuals attend inpatient treatment because they need to be in a controlled environment for their treatment and away from the temptations and stresses of their regular life. Most methadone treatment programs are outpatient-based; however, some are not. But the program itself, no matter what the facility is like, must always be extremely well-regulated.
The NIJ states, methadone treatment “is one of the most monitored and regulated medical treatments in the country.” This is because methadone has a high potential for abuse on its own and there is a large amount of it being rerouted to the black market. However, in methadone treatment, “methadone… can only be dispensed by federally licensed opioid treatment program” which must meet the standards of the DEA and SAMHSA. If you want to make sure that your treatment program is well-managed because you are in need of very controlled treatment, methadone programs are exactly this. Because of the risk of mismanagement, they are highly regulated to avoid this kind of issue.
You are Still Dependent on Opioids.
Obviously, someone who is not dependent on opioids is going to benefit less from this program than someone who is. Methadone programs can wean patients off opioid drugs and will usually take as long as the individual patient needs to do so. If you are currently dependent on opioids, this program could be for you.
Methadone has many benefits as a treatment for those who are both dependent on and addicted to opioids. The CDC states, “Methadone is a synthetic agent that works by ‘occupying’ the brain receptor sites affected by heroin and other opiates.” It also states that methadone as a substance has many different beneficial properties such as:
- Blocking the euphoric effects that can be caused by opioids
- Being able to be taken only once a day by patients and still provide relief
- Relieving the symptoms of opioid withdrawal so a patient can focus on their own life as well as their recovery instead of the pain and frustration associated with opioid withdrawal
- Relieving cravings for opioids, a symptom which can often cause relapse
- Its ability to be dosed stably so that it does not cause euphoria, intoxication, extreme drowsiness, or respiratory depression like opioids often do in high doses
You are Pregnant.
According to an NCBI study, “methadone has been accepted since the late 1970s to treat opioid addiction during pregnancy… In 1998, a National Institutes of Health consensus panel recommended methadone maintenance as the standard of care for pregnant women with opioid addiction.” If you are pregnant and addicted to opioids, a methadone treatment program could be the right course of action for you in order to ensure that both you and your child are protected from the effects of opioid abuse.
Because it has been proven that methadone treatment is actually better for pregnant women than detox and a slow tapering of the opioid drug (because this can be dangerous and lead to withdrawal during pregnancy and relapse), methadone treatment is a very helpful program for women who are pregnant and trying to do what is best for both them and their baby.
Buprenorphine is also emerging as a potential treatment for pregnant women who are addicted to opioids, but if you want a tried-and-true treatment program that has been used for at least forty years, consider a methadone program for your recovery help.
You are in Need of Cost-Effective Treatment.
One of the first benefits listed for methadone treatment programs by the NIDA is “cost-effectiveness.” When you are concerned about the cost of your treatment program, methadone treatment may be the perfect program for you. Most methadone treatment programs are in outpatient facilities which already makes them cheaper, and the medication itself is not very expensive when compared with others. Methadone treatment also often provides other options like vocational help and counseling, interview and resume-based classes, and other non-medical treatments that can actually help you find a new job in the event of having lost your old one during your opioid addiction.
Methadone treatment programs are very inexpensive when compared to other treatment programs, and this can be a great help to patients who need their treatment to be easily affordable.
There are many signs that a methadone treatment program is right for you, but make sure it simply feels right as well. If you are comfortable in your treatment program, the outcome of your treatment will certainly be much better.