How Long Does MMT Take?

Choosing a drug addiction treatment program is no easy task, especially if you’re struggling with withdrawal symptoms and relapses that are clouding your judgement.

Luckily, methadone maintenance treatment is one of the best methods available for opiate addiction and has helped many addicts overcome their demons.

If you’re considering methadone maintenance treatment, you probably have a lot of questions. One of the big ones might be how long it takes to finish.

That answer is more complicated than it might seem, as there are a number of variables and factors that could shorten or lengthen the amount of treatment you need.

How Long Is the Average Methadone Maintenance Treatment Plan?

How Long Does MMT Take

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While it can be hard to determine how long your MMT plan will be, you can definitely know that it won’t be short.

Numerous studies by experts have shown that drug treatment plans that are shorter than 90 days generally do a much poorer job of helping participants remain drug-free on a long term basis.

However, that’s just a general guideline for residential or outpatient treatment. For MMT in particular, doctors recommend that patients spend a minimum of 12 months taking daily doses of methadone.

One study looked at a total of 526 patients who had been admitted to 17 different methadone maintenance treatment programs. The results found the average length of treatment for different types of methadone patients:

  • Short-term treatment (people just needing help with withdrawal symptoms and detox): average of 31 days
  • Long-term treatment (people needing methadone to help them get back on their feet): average of 233 days
  • Continuous treatment (people who use methadone as an on-going treatment for addiction): 725 days

However, it’s not uncommon for people to spend the rest of their lives on methadone, just to make sure they don’t go back to abusing drugs.

Why Is It So Important to Spend So Much Time on Methadone?

The study discovered that 39 percent of people used heroin after short-term treatment, 40 percent used heroin after long-term treatment, and 17 percent used heroin after continuous treatment.

This proves that the longer you stay on methadone, the less likely you are to go back to other drugs.

Drug addiction is about more than just physical addiction and tolerance levels. You also have to change your mindset and alter your lifestyle to ensure that you won’t go back to your bad habits after treatment.

The best way to make sure this happens is to stay in treatment long enough for these changes to happen.

Also keep in mind that addiction is a chronic disease. Often, you’ll be susceptible to relapse. Staying on methadone longer helps you to combat these cravings and improve your overall quality of life.

Factors that Might Change the Length of Your Treatment

There are quite a few things that might influence how long you stay on methadone. These can include:

  • How many times you’ve relapsed in the past
  • Your addiction history
  • The stability of your lifestyle
  • The amount of support you have from family and friends
  • Affordability of treatment
  • Inability to make daily visits to clinic

Overall, when making a decision on how long you should stay on methadone, only your doctor can give you the best advice.

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