Methadone Maintenance in the Long Term
Methadone maintenance treatment (or MMT) is one of the most viable treatment options for patients who need long-term maintenance for their opioid addiction syndrome. In some cases, it can be very hard for certain individuals to stop abusing opioids, and being maintained on methadone can often be the best solution. If you believe that you will likely benefit from an extended treatment regimen with MMT, it is important that you understand the way the treatment works as well as how a long-term program may benefit you.
How Does the Program Work?
According to the National Institute of Justice, “In general, MMT takes a minimum of 12 months, but some patients may require continuous treatment that lasts over a period of several years.” Others still may decide to stay in the program for the rest of their lives, feeling the only way they can avoid relapse and further opioid abuse is to be maintained on methadone. Each individual receives their own dosage based on the severity of their symptoms, and patients often visit the clinic every day in order to get their dose.
More Than the Medication
MMT is not just the dispensing of methadone to patients in treatment. In fact, it is one of the most well rounded options available for opioid addiction, especially for those in need of long-term treatment. The program provides patients with “comprehensive rehabilitation services,” including:
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Medical services
- HIV prevention and risk education
- Drug/HIV testing
- Referrals for programs that provide physical and mental health treatment, housing help, vocational guidance, etc.
These programs provide much more than just the medication patients receive, and they truly give patients the tools they need to get back on their feet and recover, one step at a time.
Changing a Treatment Regimen
If you have been in MMT for a long time and decide that you are ready to be weaned off the medication, this can be done easily and slowly, so as to spare you from experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. You do not have to stay on the medication for the rest of your life, and if you change your mind about being maintained on the drug, it is easy to slowly reduce your dosage under the prescription and supervision of a doctor. According to Harvard Medical School, “It has been estimated that about 25% of patients eventually become abstinent, 25% continue to take the drug, and 50% go on and off methadone repeatedly.”
Benefits of MMT for Long-term Patients
MMT in the long-term is extremely beneficial for certain patients, especially those with severe addictions. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, methadone is a better option for “patients with high levels of physical dependency” than buprenorphine, and these individuals often require a longer term treatment in order to help them slowly become accustomed to living without opioid drug abuse. Over time, this may eventually lead to a slow detox, but it doesn’t have to, making it a great choice for those who need serious, long-term treatment on their terms.
Want to Attend MMT Treatment?
Find a program near you by calling 800-994-1867Who Answers?. We will help you find a rehab center that provides methadone maintenance treatment for patients in need of long-term care.