How to Make the Most of Methadone Maintenance Treatment

Chronic opiate addictions leave a lasting imprint on a person’s life, making it incredibly difficult to maintain abstinence in recovery for any length of time. Methadone, a drug with an extensive history as an opiate addiction treatment, addresses the two biggest obstacles addicts experience in recovery: withdrawal effects and drug cravings.

Methadone maintenance treatment encompasses a range of treatment interventions that work to ensure a person’s ongoing success in recovery. Making the most of what methadone maintenance treatment has to offer can go a long way towards ensuring a person’s ongoing success in recovery.

Methadone’s Effects

Methadone works by interacting with the same brain cells most affected by addictive opiates. According to the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, methadone exists as a synthetic opiate agent formulated to produce slow-acting effects without producing the “highs” commonly associated with opiate abuse.

Methadone’s interactions with brain cell sites account for its ability to relieve withdrawal and drug cravings effects. It’s slow-acting component also eliminates the need for compulsive drug use as daily dosages are enough to keep uncomfortable withdrawal and cravings effects in check.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment

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Methadone maintenance treatment combines the therapeutic effects of methadone with ongoing behavioral treatments in an effort to address the physical and psychological aftereffects of chronic opiate abuse.

Behavioral treatment interventions commonly used include:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Support group work
  • Group therapy
  • Drug education and counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Relapse prevention training

In effect, chronic opiate abuse breeds its own lifestyle made up of habits, routines and belief systems that work to support continued drug use, according to the University of Delaware. Methadone maintenance treatment uses behavioral interventions to undo the harmful psychological aftereffects of addiction and help those in recovery build drug-free lifestyles.

Tips for Making the Most of Methadone Maintenance Treatment

At the right dosage level, a person stands to experience the very best of what methadone has to offer as an opiate addiction treatment. For this reason, it’s especially important to work closely with your treatment team throughout the course of methadone treatment.

While methadone may work wonders at helping to relieve uncomfortable cravings and withdrawal effects, it has no effect whatsoever on the psychological dysfunction left behind by addiction. The old thinking patterns, belief systems and emotional cues to use drugs remain well intact. Making the most of the behavioral treatment interventions offered through methadone maintenance treatment works to ensure a successful recovery and long-term abstinence from drug use.

Other tips for making the most of methadone maintenance treatment include:

  • Keep up on medical and dental check-ups and obtain treatment for any existing chronic medical conditions
  • Work on devising a relapse prevention plan with your sponsor or therapist
  • Develop new interests, such as hobbies and new activities as new sources of enjoyment rather than risk reminiscing about past “high” experiences
  • Incorporate some type of exercise regimen into your daily life
  • Place a high priority on establishing a sense of routine and stability in your daily affairs
  • Make every effort to repair damaged relationships as friends and loved ones often play an active role in supporting your recovery efforts
  • Maintain regular attendance at 12 Step support group meetings and keep working the 12 Step program
  • Keep all appointments with your treatment team
  • Never underestimate the importance of asking for help when the urge to use arises
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