How Long Will It Take to Get Stabilized on Methadone?
Methadone maintenance is a program that requires a different treatment length for every patient; while some individuals withdraw from the drug after a year or two, others may stay on the medication for the rest of their lives. This timeline also depends on how long it takes for the person to become stabilized on the drug, which, although there is still no one length of time for every patient, can take less time than the full program itself.
Methadone Maintenance Length
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone maintenance treatment usually takes longer than the 90 days recommended for most treatment programs. “12 months is considered the minimum, and some opioid-addicted individuals continue to benefit from methadone maintenance for many years.”
Part of the reason 12 months is considered to be the minimum for anyone in methadone maintenance treatment is because this is usually about the time it takes for one to become stabilized on methadone. In some cases, it may take less or more time for this to occur, but it isn’t likely that a doctor will begin to consider whether or not a person is stable in their treatment until they have been in the program for a year.
Why Does It Take So Long to Become Stable on Methadone?
It can take a long time to become stable on the medication for several reasons:
- Doctors may need to experiment with different doses for patients over the course of several months. Patients must keep an open communication with their methadone doctors in order to make sure that the dosage can be adjusted to better fit their needs.
- Many people need to become used to taking methadone every day in the appropriate dosage. They will likely have been more used to taking opioid drugs constantly and in high doses, and they will need to feel comfortable with their new routine before they begin withdrawing from the drug.
- They will also need to become used to visiting the clinic every day in order to receive their medication and fitting these visits into their daily schedule.
- In many cases, the longer a person is on methadone and does not experience relapse or other issues associated with their opioid addiction, the better their chances are of being able to successfully recover from addiction and, eventually, withdraw from methadone.
It can be a considerable amount of time before someone feels secure with their methadone dosage. This is why it is important for doctors and patients to work together as long as necessary in order to ensure that the individual feels comfortable with their medication and their recovery in general before they start to withdraw from methadone.
How Long Does Stabilization with MMT Take?
Usually, it takes about a year for someone to feel stable enough on their methadone maintenance treatment to either withdraw from it or to just stay stabilized on it for an indefinite amount of time. Remember, just because you feel stable on methadone does not mean you need to immediately move into the medically assisted withdrawal phase. If you want to learn more about methadone maintenance, call 800-891-9360 today.