Counseling and Methadone Maintenance: A Strong Treatment Combination
Methadone maintenance is a very beneficial treatment option for those addicted to opioids. Those who do receive methadone as a part of their treatment will experience a decrease in withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and other issues that often lead to relapse. However, methadone maintenance alone is not as strong as a program that combines counseling and medication.
Why Do I Need Two Types of Treatment for Addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Because they work on different aspects of addiction, combinations of behavioral therapies and medications (when available) generally appear to be more effective than either approach used alone.” Medication can be used to minimize withdrawal symptoms and repair brain functions while behavioral therapies and other types of counseling can be used to modify an individual’s beliefs about addiction, teach them better coping skills, and improve their behavior in many ways.
Having more than one type of treatment often benefits the patient by reinforcing their decision to stop drug abuse and recover from addiction in different ways. Also, treatment often takes more than one program to be effective, so starting off early with different methods can be very beneficial. Finally, methadone, while very helpful to those patients who use it correctly can be addictive if misused, so patients should have another line of defense in their treatment, helping to modify their beliefs and behavior toward drugs to keep them from misusing their methadone.
How is Counseling Helpful?
Not only does counseling change a person’s behavior toward drugs, it also helps them in many other ways as well.
- Behavioral therapy increases life skills that are healthy for the individual (NIDA). Patients are often taught how to cope with their triggers, cravings, stresses, and other issues that may have led to their drug abuse in the first place as well as how to better interact with others, how to manage their lives successfully, etc.
- There are many different types of counseling that exist for addiction patients, and sometimes, more than one can be used at once. It can be very beneficial for a patient who is attending individualized counseling sessions to also attend group therapy.
- Each counseling program focuses on a different skill set and a different side of addiction.
- It can be continued alongside medication with no repercussions whatsoever.
Methadone on its own often isn’t enough to truly change how someone acts or feels toward their opioid abuse. Yes, it can make it much easier for the individual to attend treatment and avoid relapse, but if the person believes their drug abuse is valid or that they cannot live without opioids, this attitude is difficult to break without the proper treatment. Counseling helps people actually change the way they look at their addictions and their lives, helping them create a new perspective for the better.
Seek Methadone Maintenance Treatment Now
Most methadone treatment programs utilize counseling, either individualized, group, or both, to supplement methadone treatment and to give patients a well-rounded recovery program. If you would like to find methadone clinics in your area or learn more about the treatment in general, call 800-891-9360.