Will Methadone Maintenance Treatment Help Me Overcome the Shame of Addiction?

Shame plays a role throughout much of the addiction process, from the very reasons that drive a person to drug use to the behaviors he or she engages in while under the influence. By the time a person enters recovery, feelings a shame can hold a central role throughout much of the recovery process in the absence of needed supports.

Opiate addiction in particular all but strips away one’s sense of self and ability to dictate the course of his or her life. If you’re coming off a chronic, long-term opiate addiction, methadone maintenance treatment offers a range of benefits, many of which help in overcoming the feelings of shame that so often crop up in recovery.

The Shame of Addiction

Feelings of shame stem from negative beliefs held toward oneself. Whereas shame can be a powerful motivator to use opiates, the behaviors a person engages in while “high” can breed feelings of guilt as well. In effect, opiate abuse becomes a means of escaping feelings of guilt and shame, which forms a vicious cycle in and of itself with shame being the motivating force.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opiate abuse and drug abuse in general can become a way of punishing oneself. Likewise, once a person enters recovery, he or she may not feel worthy of “being well” due to ongoing feelings of shame and guilt.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment

support groups

Attending a support group will help you recover.

Methadone maintenance treatment employs a comprehensive approach to helping you overcome the physical and psychological aftereffects of chronic opiate addiction. Methadone, the treatment drug, works to support damaged brain chemical processes and restore normal brain function. Methadone maintenance treatment also uses a range of behavioral treatment approaches to help you undo the emotional and psychological damage that opiate abuse leaves behind.

Methadone’s Therapeutic Effects

Methadone acts as a type of replacement therapy, producing effects similar to addictive opiates without producing a “high” or damaging the brain’s chemical processes. As chronic opiate use can greatly disrupt a person’s emotional balance, methadone’s therapeutic effects help to stabilize a person’s emotional state while also relieving the aftereffects of opiate addiction, such as:

  • Persistent drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

Behavioral Therapies

People recovering from opiate addiction often struggle with the mindset or ways of thinking and doing that develop during the course of drug use. This mindset only works to feed feelings of shame, making it difficult to maintain abstinence let alone engage in the treatment process.

According to Austin Community College, behavioral therapies used in methadone maintenance treatment help you identify addiction-based belief systems and replace them with self-affirming attitudes, habits and behaviors that support continued abstinence in recovery.

Support Group Work

Anyone who’s gone through the drug treatment process has likely encountered 12 Step support groups at each stage of treatment. Support groups play an invaluable role in helping a person identify shame-based thinking and behavior while developing daily routines to enhance one’s feelings of self-esteem. Methadone maintenance treatment also incorporates the support group model as an essential part of the recovery process.

If you’re considering getting methadone maintenance treatment or have questions on how to get started with a program in your area, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360 for more information.