Is Methadone Treatment for Life?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “For methadone maintenance, 12 months is considered the minimum,” and patients are expected to stay in the program for at least this amount of time to receive the full benefits of the treatment.
After this first year, though, patients may choose if they would like to end their methadone maintenance through medically assisted withdrawal, continue to receive the medication for a longer amount of time (sometimes months or even years), or stay on it indefinitely. Therefore, methadone treatment doesn’t have to be for life, but it can if a certain patient needs it to be.
There are many maintenance programs all across the country. To find one in your area and begin your recovery from opioid abuse today, call 800-530-0431Who Answers? now.
Can I Choose When I Want My Methadone Treatment to End?
You can decide when––or if––you would like to go off of methadone and to no longer be maintained on the drug. However, you will also need to discuss this change with your doctor and make sure they approve your decision. Then, together, you can either begin to minimize your dependence on the drug through tapering or continue to treat your symptoms by staying on it for as long as necessary.
A slow tapering of methadone is performed once you and your doctor decide to end treatment in order to minimize the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. Making sure that you gradually withdraw from methadone after being maintained on it will also reduce your chances of relapse.
If you decide to stay on methadone, you may do so as long as you and your doctor both feel it is still beneficial to you, even for the rest of your life. No severe side effects associated with prolonged methadone use in a maintenance program have been found, and the program can continue for as long as necessary.
How Do I Know If I Need Methadone for Life?
As stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “The length of time in methadone treatment varies from person to person.” How long someone will stay in the program truly depends on their individual needs and whether or not the drug is continuing to help them year after year.
You may feel now that you will not need methadone in two years, but after this time passes, you and your doctor will decide together if continued maintenance is necessary.
You may not know now if you will require methadone treatment for life, but the important thing to remember is that the program is flexible and can end when it is no longer beneficial to you or when you and your doctor decide that transitioning out of maintenance is beneficial.
The withdrawal period can take some time, but it is absolutely necessary that anyone ending methadone maintenance be weaned off it slowly to prevent painful withdrawal symptoms from occurring.
Seek Methadone Maintenance Treatment Now
If you are looking for a rehab program that will provide methadone, call 800-530-0431Who Answers?. We can help you find clinics in your area and answer any questions you have about the medication and how it works.