How Do I Explain Methadone Maintenance to My Family?
Because there is a good deal of controversy surrounding methadone maintenance even now and especially in the public eye, it can be difficult to tell your loved ones that you have decided to attend treatment at a methadone clinic. However, there are several ways in which you can help them understand this treatment and to explain its benefits so everyone in your life is on the same page with your recovery.
Methadone Treatment is Not Addiction
Many individuals unfortunately view methadone maintenance as a way of replacing one addiction for another or the treatment of choice for weaker individuals who simply are not strong enough to give up the opioid abuse completely. This is attitude is untrue and damaging to the culture of recovery.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Maintenance treatments save lives–they help to stabilize individuals, allowing treatment of their medical, psychological, and other problems so they can contribute effectively as members of families and of society.” The drug, when dosed correctly, does not cause euphoria, intoxication, or any of the other effects associated with opioid abuse and instead minimizes withdrawal symptoms and blocks the effects of opioids so the individuals maintained on it can live their daily lives.
Methadone treatment is not simply replacing one addiction for another but allowing a person to stabilize their drug use and in a safe way that reduces the chance of further substance abuse. It may be difficult at first, but your main focus should be on ensuring that your family understands this.
Methadone Maintenance is a Well-rounded Program
Another important point to mention to your family is that methadone treatment programs don’t just provide medication and nothing else. According to the National Institute of Justice, “In addition to administering medication, [methadone maintenance treatment] also involves providing patients with comprehensive rehabilitation services,” such as:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Drug education
- HIV prevention and testing
- Housing help
- Vocational counseling
- Medical services
- Education help
- Mutual-help group meetings
- And many others
If a certain program does not provide a treatment option that is needed by the patient, referrals are usually given for community programs that do provide the necessary treatment. Methadone maintenance is much more than just the medication itself; it provides patients with a well-rounded treatment program that is conducive to a full recovery.
Seek Help from a Professional
You may decide to have your family members visit the methadone clinic with you before you begin treatment to speak with a physician there. This will allow them to ask questions of a professional and to learn more about the program from someone who truly understands how it works. In addition, there are also interventionists and drug counselors who would often be happy to help with this sort of conversation as well. By talking to these professionals, your family members can get an outline of what your treatment will be like and also learn how to better help you as you recover.
Do You Have More Questions About Methadone Maintenance?
Explaining this treatment program to your loved ones can be difficult, but we can help. Call 800-891-9360 with any questions you or your loved ones may have about methadone maintenance and we will provide answers.