How Does Methadone Maintenance Work?
Methadone’s usefulness is its long acting pharmacological properties that help correct neurological imbalances that lead to compulsive drug seeking and abuse of opioids. In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine (US), “studies have shown that once the daily dose of methadone has been stabilized, tolerance does not develop to the essential effects of methadone (prevention of opiate abstinence symptoms and prevention of drug hunger or craving) as used in maintenance treatment. Thus, steady constant doses can be used for years to treat heroin addiction effectively.”
Methadone is used in the maintenance programs along with comprehensive assessments, referrals, counseling, and support services for medical, mental health, and psychosocial support in a broad range of areas. Opioid dependents are more likely to be involved with the injection of drugs, share needles and paraphernalia, disregard health concerns, or engage in activities where communicable diseases and infections are spread. Education, counseling, testing, and treatments are primary services to reduce harms to the addict as well as to the public.
Compliance regimens very, but, most people find that the recovery plans they make with the clinicians and other service providers are geared to offer them the best possible outcomes in recovery and control of their daily lives. It’s not all about the methadone, but, about getting to the resources and life saving services that sustain abstinence when other treatments are less
Benefits of Methadone
The benefits of methadone maintenance go far beyond the scope of the traditional opiate addiction treatment as it provides the missing link to what many addicts truly need to get and stay well by stabilizing their minds, emotions, and overall functioning so they can safely drive, work, and take care of themselves and their obligations to their families and in their community.
Methadone’s prolonged duration of action and oral administration makes it useful to treat the long term effects of opiate addictions effectively when combined with counseling, medical, and psychosocial support to address those issues that are most concerning to the individual’s health and wellbeing. Proven benefits of methadone maintenance include:
- Reductions in illicit opioid abuse, overdoses, relapses, and deaths
- Reduction in crimes, prostitution, arrests, or other adverse behaviors that may be linked to the opioid addiction
- Education, testing, counseling, and medical support for the reduction in the spread of illness or diseases such as HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, or tuberculosis so common among this population and affecting even those who are not opioid dependents.
- Addressing co-occurring mental health disorders and poly-substance abuse
- Addressing dysfunctions within families or regarding housing, legal, environmental, vocational, and other psychosocial issues
- Treating pregnant women addicted to opioids and helping to prevent miscarriages, low birth weights, prenatal withdrawals, infancy disorders, and premature infant deaths