Are Methadone Maintenance Cons Worth the Trouble?

For many people, overcoming opiate addiction becomes a process of trial and error with different forms of treatment offering varied results. Methadone maintenance, the first medication-based treatment developed specifically for opiate addiction, provides a range of benefits, though methadone maintenance cons can be a problem for some.

As opiate addiction affects different people in different ways, whether or not methadone maintenance cons are worth the trouble has more to do with your particular circumstances than anything else. If you’re considering methadone maintenance and have questions about available treatment options, call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).

Methadone Maintenance Cons

Methadone maintenance works to eliminate the two biggest obstacles encountered in recovery: withdrawal effects and drug cravings. These problems develop out of the overall state of chemical imbalance in the brain left behind by opiate addiction.

As a medication treatment, methadone enables the brain to produce normal levels of neurotransmitter chemicals. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, these therapeutic benefits still come with certain risks or cons, including:

Methadone Maintenance Cons

Nausea is a common side effect of methadone.

Fortunately, methadone maintenance cons only become an issue when they cause more harm than good.

Circumstances Where the Pros Outweigh the Cons

Chronic or Long-Term Addiction

As a general rule, the longer a person engages in chronic opiate abuse the greater the damage done to the brain. As methadone’s ability to support damaged brain processes is its biggest selling point, people coming off chronic or long-term addiction problems stand to reap higher returns compared to any methadone maintenance cons that may arise.

Co-Occurring Mental Health Problems

More often than not, people coming off chronic opiate addiction develop some form of mental or emotional disorder along the way. According to the Journal of Social Work in Public Health, co-occurring mental health problems only work to aggravate drug cravings and make an addiction problem more severe.

Under these conditions, methadone maintenance cons will likely take a backseat due to how depression and anxiety-based disorders can worsen existing brain chemical imbalances.

Breaking Down the Methadone Pros and Cons

Chaotic Lifestyles

Chaotic or stressful home environments make it all but impossible for someone battling an opiate addiction to stop abusing drugs. Likewise, situations where a person is unemployed with little to no structure or routine in his or her daily life create prime conditions for compulsive drug-using behaviors to thrive.

Methadone maintenance treatment programs combine methadone’s therapeutic effects with behavior-based treatment interventions. Interventions commonly used include:

  • Relapse prevention training
  • Group therapy
  • Relationship building
  • Vocational assistance

These interventions provide a person with the tools needed to build a stable and productive lifestyle.


While methadone maintenance cons can cause real problems in a person’s daily life, keeping the lines of communication open with your treatment providers can go a long way towards overcoming problems as they arise. Ultimately, people dealing with the most severe forms of addiction require the type of ongoing, medicinal support that methadone provides.

If you’ve tried other forms of treatment and seen little to no benefits, it may well be time to consider methadone maintenance treatment options. Call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) for more information on available treatment options.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.

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