Is Methadone Maintenance Right for My Spouse?

Watching a spouse struggle with opiate addiction can be a heart-wrenching experience. Living with a spouse battling an opiate addiction problem can, likewise be unbearable at times. Opiate addiction treatment offers many different options designed to help recovering addicts cope with addiction’s effects, but not every treatment is right for every person.

Methadone maintenance has been used for decades on end as an opiate addiction treatment. For addicts who’ve reached the end of their rope, methadone maintenance provides the types of physical and social supports needed to overcome opiate’s effects in their lives.

Whether or not methadone maintenance is right for your spouse depends on his or her individual circumstances and experiences with addiction. As with any type of treatment approach, this form of treatment offers certain benefits and drawbacks as well.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment Programs

Methadone, as a treatment drug, was first develop in the 1960’s to help treat the large numbers of heroin-addicted war veterans coming out of the service. The drug’s ability to alleviate withdrawal effects and reduce persistent drug cravings made for a fairly effective opiate addiction treatment solution.

methadone safety

Methadone helps people manage and overcome opiate addiction. It could help your spouse, too.

While initially used as a medication-only treatment approach, ongoing research soon revealed the benefits of combining methadone with psychological and psychosocial-based treatments to better address the long-term effects of opiate addiction. Methadone maintenance treatment (also known as MMT) is based on this multi-pronged treatment approach.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment Benefits

Even after recovering addicts complete detox, inpatient and outpatient treatment, it’s not uncommon for people to experience a persistent, overall state of discontent as an aftereffect of long-term opiate use. This all-encompassing sense of “dis-ease” accounts for why so many recovering addicts struggle in recovery and relapse multiple times.

Methadone helps alleviate some of this discomfort, though old habits and routines can still leave those in recovery at risk of relapse. Methadone maintenance treatment’s use of ongoing psychotherapy and 12-Step group support work helps recovering addicts develop productive lifestyles, which increases a person’s chance of a successful recovery.


Opiate addiction affects different people in different ways. Likewise, a person’s medical condition as well as the severity of his or her addiction may well determine how effective methadone maintenance treatment will be.

Methadone is not without its side effects, which may or may not be a factor for some people. Side effects from methadone can include –

  • Increases in weight
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Frequent urination

If your spouse already experiences problems in any one of these areas, methadone can potentially worsen an already existing condition.

Addiction Risks

As a treatment medication, methadone is also a type of opiate drug, though synthetically made. As with any opiate-based drug, the potential for methadone addiction remains. If your spouse is highly motivated to stop using opiates, methadone maintenance treatment can be of great help.

For people who have little to no real motivation to stop using, the potential for addiction increases considerably as addicts can easily combine methadone doses with other opiates as a way to get “high.” Under these conditions, the high risk of overdose also becomes yet another cause for concern and caution.

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