Do Methadone Clinics Provide Behavioral Therapy?
People recovering from severe forms of opiate addiction have an especially difficult time stopping drug use. The effects of chronic drug abuse essentially change the brain to the point where it can no longer function normally in the absence of the drug for any length of time.
Methadone clinics use methadone as a core treatment for dealing with damaged brain functioning. Methadone clinics also employ behavioral therapies to help recovering addicts develop a drug-free mindset and lifestyle.
For people coming off chronic or long-term addiction problems, methadone clinic treatment picks up where more traditional treatment approaches leave off. In effect, the behavioral component works to reinforce methadone’s therapeutic benefits.
The Methadone Clinic Treatment Approach
The methadone treatment approach differs from more traditional approaches in that methadone clinics place an equal emphasis on treating the physical and psychological aftereffects of addiction. According to the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, these programs combine methadone as a medical treatment with behavior-based interventions that address the effects of addiction on a person’s thinking and behaviors.
Methadone clinic treatment is designed to treat the more advanced stages of opiate addiction where the damaging effects of opiate abuse have warped the brain’s functional capacity in fundamental ways.
The Need for Behavioral Therapy
The compulsive drug-using behaviors that characterize addiction actually work to reinforce the physical effects of drug abuse, namely the “high” effect. As with any repetitive behavior, the brain forms new associations in terms of the thoughts, emotions and activities involved with compulsive drug use.
According to the University of Delaware, these new associations lie at the heart of addiction and can actually stay with a person long after drug use ends. Over time, compulsive-drug using behaviors become a means for coping with daily life pressures.
Methadone clinics use behavioral therapies to help a person replace the addiction mindset and its corresponding behaviors with a mindset that doesn’t need opiate effects to cope with daily life. Behavioral therapies also help in developing the types of habits and routines that makeup a drug-free lifestyle.
Behavioral therapies commonly used include:
The Benefits of Behavioral Therapy
According to the Journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, the types of behavioral therapy used by methadone clinics offer a range of therapeutic benefits, some of which include:
- Helps individuals identify problem areas and set obtainable treatment goals
- Promotes ongoing abstinence from drug use
- Enables individuals to cope with relapse episodes and learn from them
- Improves relationship building skills
- Helps a person work through the underlying emotional issues that drive a him or her to escape through drugs
While methadone’s use as a treatment drug provides much needed support for damaged brain functions, the behavioral aspect of methadone clinic treatment is equally important to maintaining continued abstinence from drug use. For these reasons, methadone clinics require program participants to participate in behavioral therapy interventions as a condition of receiving methadone.
If you or someone you know are considering methadone treatment and need information on available treatment options, call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addiction counselors.