5 Benefits of Methadone Maintenance
1) Stable Functioning
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that lasts for 24 hours or more and because it is metabolized differently than opioids, it can actually build up the person’s body to last longer. For most people undergoing methadone maintenance treatment, this is beneficial because methadone is used to block the effects of other opioids, deterring their use, and reduces the cravings and withdrawals that an opioid addict has to overcome daily because of those drugs.
An opioid addict typically uses opioids several times a day with a buildup of tolerance increasing the frequency and dosage needs. In general, they get high and then their moods and functional state declines and they begin to get sick, so they use again. Since they need to keep repeating the process, their whole life begins to revolve around being able to obtain and use the opioid drugs. Methadone breaks this cycle, giving the person time to focus on other activities and they are able to engage in relationships, work, and society in a more productive and beneficial way.
2.) Improved Physical Health
Methadone maintenance strategies are successful in preventing and treating serious, chronic medical conditions, such as hepatitis B or C, HIV, AIDS, and tuberculosis which is common among opioid addicts, either because they use the drugs intravenously or because they are exposed to those environments where this type of drug abuse is rampant. Also, without the anxiety and depression that comes from the ups and downs of repeat use daily, eating habits and other healthy habits improve with an overall positive effect on health.
3.) Improved Psychological Health
A big part of methadone maintenance combines psychotherapy and counseling with the methadone doses to improve psychological health and behaviors. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Drug addiction is a brain disease that affects behavior.” The improvement of behaviors can be seen in the reduction of:
- Illicit drug use
- Criminal activity
- Needle sharing
- HIV infection rates and transmission
- Commercial sex work
- Number of reports of multiple sex partners
- Suicide attempts
- Lethal opioid overdoses
Education, resources, referrals, and access to various support groups helps the addict to find alternatives to negative environment issues involving housing, medical, familial, social, judicial, financial, and employment or education. Support from others is the backbone of addiction recovery and also makes a huge difference in the lives of their families and loved ones.
5.) Structured Living
Drug monitoring and other interventions guide the addict through the programs as a reasonable part of their eligibility to participate. They are required to refrain from using opioids and other drugs and are subject to other evaluations on a day to day basis. In some programs the addict must remain openly involved in order to achieve the benefits which helps them to learn to be accountable for their actions and encourages advancement in their lives.