The choices of treatment options for opioid dependence have expanded in recent years and should be made jointly by the clinician and patient. Many opioid dependent individuals will go through multiple treatment modalities before they find the right one, but, once addicted to opioids the risk of relapse remains high without a consistence management and relapse prevention plan or medication assistance to help.
Opioid Relapse Prevention Concerns
Major concerns after detox from opioids are that the person may think they can resume their normal dosage amounts and overdose due to tolerance loss, or they may try to take smaller doses assuming they will be ok without re-developing a high dependence. In the latter case, resuming opioid use, after detox, powerfully increases the dependence level states far above those that existed before and the user is left off worse than ever.
Another major concern of opioid relapse is that the user may feel like a failure after undergoing detox and treatment only to start using again. Although it may become harder for them to ask for help or reattempt treatment, these are the individuals who can benefit the most from a methadone maintenance treatment that will help them stay alive.
While in Rehab
If you are in rehab for opiod dependence you have a good start on your recovery. There, you will gain knowledge and support with counseling and many of the psychosocial services that you would receive in a methadone maintenance program, but, your time in treatment may be limited. Once you leave the formal treatment program, you are on your own in maintaining your recovery.
Some people do very well in opiate rehab and are able to remain abstinent afterwards through commitment and reinforced efforts to abstain from triggers that would cause them to use. Others, however, return to unhealthy environments or behaviors or risk it all in one use due to misplaced judgment, inhibition loss, emotional distress, or the ongoing cravings that can be triggered by seeing a user friend, a place associated with use, or other reminders.
Why Start a Methadone Maintenance Treatment?
Methadone is a long acting opioid that can be used indefinitely to refrain from illicit opioid use. It reduces cravings and withdrawals, blocks the effects of other opioids, and stabilizes physiological process. For those in methadone maintenance treatment, according to the Harvard Medical School, “Studies show that they are less depressed, more likely to hold a job and maintain a family life, less likely to commit crimes, and less likely to contract HIV or hepatitis.
If you feel that your rehab treatment leaves you vulnerable to relapse, you have a long history of opioid dependence, used frequently, high amounts, or potent opioids intravenously, you may want to start a methadone maintenance treatment while in rehab to increase your quality of life and chances of survival through the extra time it will give you to recover.