12 Ways Methadone Maintenance Treatment Can Help You Avoid Relapse

Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has been proven to be extremely effective in helping patients avoid the potential of relapse. Below are 12 ways how it may be able to help you. Call 800-994-1867Who Answers? now if you want to find a rehab program that suits your current situation.

1. Blocking Opioid Receptors

Many people believe methadone, when used in MMT, is the same as opioid abuse. This is untrue. When compared to heroin use, “in contrast, methadone and buprenorphine have gradual onsets of action and produce stable levels of the drug in the brain” (National Institute on Drug Abuse). As a result, the drug blocks the opioid receptors in the brain slowly and steadily so that an individual is receiving stable doses without getting high.

2. Providing Stability

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MMT will help improve your self-esteem.

Because patients do not get high while on methadone, they will be able to feel stable, which decreases the chances of relapse. For the first time since they started using, many patients are able to experience life without the highs and lows of opioid abuse, and this can be extremely refreshing.

3. Minimizing Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid drugs are not usually life threatening, but they can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Often, the severity of these symptoms can lead a person to relapse. With the help of MMT, though, patients experience extremely weak symptoms or no withdrawal symptoms at all.

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4. Reducing Cravings

Cravings for opioids can be severe, especially if an individual has been abusing these drugs for a long time. Fortunately, though, methadone also helps to reduce these cravings because the body is receiving a steady dose of opioids without the euphoric high.

5. Reducing Stress

With the reduction in cravings and withdrawal symptoms––and with the help of behavioral therapies that teach patients better coping mechanisms––individuals in MMT often experience a reduction in stress compared to those who are not in some sort of treatment program. Since stress is such a strong factor in relapse for many individuals, this is a very helpful effect for patients (NIDA Archives).

6. Monitoring and Regulating

Methadone itself can be abused and may become addictive to those who abuse it. However, according to the National Institute of Justice, “MMT is one of the most monitored and regulated medical treatments in the country.” It must be in order to avoid major issues with abuse and diversion of the medication, but the constant monitoring and regulation does minimize one’s chances of relapse, especially with the drug itself.


7. Improving Social Health

Both family relationships and other social functions are often improved in those who seek MMT (NIDA). As a result, the individual often feels more included and happier as well as a more productive part of society, minimizing their chance of relapse.

8. Improving Self-esteem

Admitting that you need treatment for opioid abuse can at first seem like a hit to your self-esteem, but over time, you will learn to feel more positively about yourself and to realize that you do not need drugs to feel happy.

9. Treating Depression

Depression is another strong factor in relapse for many opioid addicts. However, MMT can treat this issue with medications and therapies, which a person can sometimes receive through the clinic itself and sometimes through a referral to another program.

10. Providing Education

Many people receive drug education as a part of MMT, and while this may seem unnecessary, it can actually be very helpful. Often, those who become addicted to opioids do not realize why their substance abuse became compulsive, and once they do, their ability to stay sober strengthens considerably.

11. Getting to the Root of the Problem

In behavioral therapies, which most MMT programs provide, patients can delve into the reasons they began abusing drugs in the first place, which may be associated with trauma, co-occurring disorders, or other issues that require additional treatment. Making sure these issues are addressed and treated will strongly improve the strength of one’s recovery.


12. Providing Daily Care

Most MMT clinics ask patients to make trips once a day to the facility in order to receive their medication. This type of consistent, daily care can help keep a person on the right path and allow them to avoid relapse, which can often occur between treatment sessions.

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