Perhaps more so than with any other healthcare professional you will encounter on your addiction recovery journey, it is extremely important to have a good relationship with your methadone doctor.
The Length of Treatment
According to the National Institute of Justice, the amount of time you will spend in methadone treatment will depend on you and your specific needs, but the minimum length, 12 months, is much longer than the minimum 90 days expected for patients in other treatment programs. “Some patients may [even] require continuous treatment that lasts over a period of several years.”
Because of this, you will be interacting with your methadone center doctor for a long period of time and, usually, every day for at least the first six months or more. Therefore, you will need to be comfortable with your doctor as well as trusting of their methods and able to get along with them. Feeling a sense of discomfort, dread, or even distaste whenever you need to go see your physician will make you less likely to go, and in methadone maintenance, this is not an option.
Intimacy and Comfort Level
This treatment is not easy; you will need to confront your past in many ways and allow someone to monitor your recovery during what will be one of the hardest times of your life. Methadone maintenance requires a level of intimacy between patient and physician that can only be achieved safely and easily when you have a good relationship with your doctor.
In addition, you will need to feel comfortable enough with your doctor to share all of this information, as well as any new issues you encounter. If you feel comfortable with your physician, you will be more likely to open up to them, which will allow them in turn to provide you with better care that is more accurate to your needs.
Making Changes to Your Treatment
It will be much easier to make any changes necessary to your treatment if you have a good relationship with your doctor and feel comfortable discussing your needs. For example, it can be a daunting task to tell your physician that you believe your methadone dosage isn’t high enough currently. But if you feel your doctor will genuinely listen to your needs and then that the two of you can come up with a solution together, you will be more likely to speak up about your feelings.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “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.” While your doctor may understand this, if you are not able to communicate what you believe you need in a clear fashion or if your relationship isn’t conducive to this type of open communication, you may not receive the treatment that is best for you.
Your Methadone Doctor Should Support Your Recovery
And as such, they should be part of your support network, making you feel strong and able to continue through your journey of recovery safely. If you have more questions about the importance of the relationship between methadone doctors and their patients, call 800-530-0431.