What You Need to Know About Methadone Treatment Guidelines
As one of the most heavily regulated medication treatments on the market, methadone programs must adhere to strict procedures for administering the drug and monitoring patient progress. Methadone treatment guidelines, for the most part, dictate every aspect of the treatment process, from dosing schedules to behavioral treatment requirements.
Anyone considering entering a methadone program can get a good sense of how this treatment approach works by gaining a general understanding of methadone treatment guidelines.
According to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, methadone treatment guidelines are derived from the Federal Guidelines for the Accreditation of Opioid Treatment Program. This document lays out methadone treatment protocols as well as specific requirements that must be met by facilities that administer methadone for opiate addiction treatment.
Programs that administer methadone must also be authorized to operate as opioid treatment programs.
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Overview of Methadone Treatment Guidelines
According to the National Academies Press, methadone’s ability to relieve withdrawal and cravings effects depends on maintaining stable levels of methadone in the body’s bloodstream, . In order to achieve this, treatment providers must follow a dosing schedule that dictates initial starting dosage amounts, dosage adjustment procedures and the conditions under which dosage adjustments can be made.
The heavy regulation surrounding methadone has to do with its classification as a Schedule II narcotic and relative potential for abuse and addiction.
Behavioral Treatment Component
Methadone treatment guidelines require patients to attend behavior-based treatment sessions as a condition of receiving daily doses of methadone. The behavioral treatment component helps a person identify addiction-based thinking and dismantle the belief systems that drive destructive thinking patterns.
Behavioral treatments also provide a person with healthy ways of dealing with stress and coping with everyday pressures and responsibilities. Interventions commonly used include:
- Group therapy
- Individual psychotherapy
- Relapse prevention training
- 12 Step support groups
- Motivation therapy
Methadone treatment guidelines require patients to frequent program facilities on a daily basis at which time they receive their daily methadone dose and attend behavioral treatment sessions. Once a person continues to make progress in terms of abstaining from illicit drug use and attending treatments sessions, he or she is allowed to take home multiple methadone doses.
Take-home provisions remain in effect for as long as a person continues to comply with treatment program requirements.
While a person can choose to discontinue treatment at any time, methadone treatment guidelines recommend treatment duration run for a minimum of one year. According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, this time -line is considered necessary for a person to be able to maintain continued abstinence once methadone treatment ends.
While methadone carries a much lower risk of abuse and addiction than other opiate-based drugs, the potential is still there. In order to reduce these risks, methadone treatment guidelines require treatment providers to monitor for drug abuse practices as certain types of drugs, such as sedatives and alcohol can be used to create a “high” effect when combined with methadone.
Overall, methadone treatment guidelines are designed to maximize the therapeutic benefits of methadone while providing recovering addicts with the tools needed to maintain abstinence on a long-term basis.
If you or someone you know are considering methadone treatment and need help finding a program that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360 to speak with one of our addiction specialists.