The Importance of Your Support Network in Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Methadone maintenance treatment encompasses an array of treatment interventions, each one working towards the overall goal of long-term abstinence from opiate use. Developing a support network along the way becomes an essential part of this recovery approach.
While methadone treatment offers considerable support in terms of helping you overcome drug-using urges, opiate addiction lives on inside the thinking patterns, emotions and behaviors that developed during the course of drug use. Herein lies the value of your support network.
Much of the progress made in methadone maintenance treatment centers around building the type of lifestyle that supports drug-free living. Your support network plays a central role in helping to develop the type of thinking, attitude and behaviors that makes long-term abstinence possible.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment Components
As a treatment medication, methadone addresses the two biggest threats recovering addicts face: drug cravings and residual withdrawal effects. As people who most benefit from methadone maintenance treatment tend to have long histories of opiate abuse, the effects of stopping drug use all but short-circuits the brain on a chemical level.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the brain’s chemical pathways undergo considerable damage from long-term opiate abuse, so some form of physical support is needed to help stabilize and restore normal brain functioning. Methadone relieves drug craving and withdrawal effects by mimicking the effects of addictive opiates.
Whereas the methadone component treats the physical aftereffects of addiction, psychosocial interventions treat addiction’s psychological aftereffects. According to the Journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, this component of methadone maintenance treatment helps a person develop a drug-free “mindset” in terms of what interests, motivates and drives his or her behaviors from day-to-day.
Psychosocial interventions used typically include group therapy, support groups and psychotherapy. A person’s support network tends to develop out of the relationships that come from participating in this aspect of treatment.
Support Network Roles
Overall, anyone who supports your efforts to live a drug-free lifestyle can play a part in your support network. So the people you encounter in treatment as well as supportive friends and family members can all be part of your support network.
In general, support network roles entail anything having to do with helping you develop the coping skills and behaviors needed to maintain continued abstinence. As far as group therapy and support group meetings go, these interventions provide safe environments for working through the underlying emotional issues that drive drug-using behavior. In the process, participants learn how to replace the enjoyment had through drug use with healthy pursuits and activities.
Over time, support network relationships become a valuable source of guidance and support for dealing with the ups and downs of recovery.
Considering the sense of relief to be had once methadone’s therapeutic effects kick in, it can be easy to overlook the importance of staying connected with your support network. While methadone can carry you for a while, addiction’s psychological aftereffects can be just as powerful as the physical effects of opiates. Methadone maintenance treatment only works when a person fully engages in all components of the treatment process.
If you or someone you know are considering methadone maintenance treatment, or need help locating treatment services in your area, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360 to speak with one of our addiction specialists.