Finding Out if Methadone Maintenance is Right for You
Methadone maintenance treatment isn’t right for everyone, but many individuals do benefit from this program. According to the CDC, “It is estimated that at least 980,000 people in the United States are currently addicted to heroin and other opiates (such as OxyContin, Dilaudid, and hydrocodone),” and many of these individuals could potentially recover with the help of methadone maintenance. But how do you know if this program is right for you?
Consider Your Addiction Syndrome
Ask yourself some of the most important questions about your personal addiction syndrome, and use your answers to decide whether or not methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is right for you. These questions include:
- Have I been abusing drugs for a long time?
- Am I looking for a longer treatment length?
- Will I take the responsibility of this treatment seriously?
- Can I commit to a full, well-rounded treatment?
Once you have answered these questions, you can more easily determine whether or not MMT is right for you.
Your Ideal Treatment Length
Individuals who benefit from methadone maintenance often do so the most when they need a long-term treatment plan. These patients usually have been abusing drugs for a very long time, and as part of their treatment, take methadone once a day for months or even years. This program is set up for those who will use it for a long period of time, so if you believe you will need long-term treatment, MMT will likely be very beneficial to you. However, if you have only been abusing opioids for a few months or weeks, you may want to consider using naltrexone or buprenorphine instead.
Taking It Seriously
According to the NIJ, “One limitation to MMT is the possibility of patients abusing and overdosing on methadone.” This is a dangerous possible side effect, so it is important that individuals who decide to attend a methadone maintenance program understand the responsibility they are taking on and that they must be very careful not to abuse the medication.
If you decide to attend MMT, you must agree to follow your doctor’s orders and to not deviate from your prescription. If you do feel that your dosage does need to be changed (either decreased or increased), talk to your doctor about it first. Taking MMT seriously is about being responsible while knowing (and avoiding) the possible issues associated with the treatment.
A Multicomponent Program
According to the CDC, MMT “was initially developed during the 1960s as part of a broad, multicomponent treatment program that also emphasized resocialization and vocational training.” Today, it is still a program that encompasses other types of treatments. These may include:
- Therapy (both group and individual)
- Vocational, educational, and/or family counseling
- Holistic treatments
- Drug testing
- HIV prevention education
- Physical and mental health treatment
The fact that the MMT program is more than just the dispensing of methadone is important, and many individuals do not realize this. However, it is also so much more beneficial when a patient is able to attend a well-rounded treatment program, and if you feel ready for this, then MMT is a good fit for you.
If you answered yes to the four questions above and if these descriptions fit your needs, then MMT could be a fantastic fit for you.