Typical Length of a Methadone Program
People coming off chronic opiate addictions have their work cut out for them when it comes to readjusting to normal, everyday life. Heavy opiate use leaves brain functions in a deteriorated state that often hampers a person’s well-being well into the recovery process.
Methadone, a long-standing opiate addiction treatment medication enables recovering addicts to feel normal, both physically and psychologically, in spite of the damaging effects from chronic opiate use. Methadone programs administer methadone along with other treatment services in order to best equip a person for everyday living.
The typical length of a methadone program actually varies depending on the stage of recovery being treated as well as on a person’s individual treatment needs. Ultimately, the benefits afforded by ongoing methadone program treatment tend to work best when administered on a long-term basis.
Individual Treatment Needs
Someone who’s used opiates for years will likely have different treatment needs than a person who’s only used for a few months. In general, the longer a person abuses opiates the more damage done to brain functions.
In the case of chronic opiate users, methadone programs serve a broader purpose in terms of helping a person develop relapse prevention strategies and working through the deep-seated issues that drive addiction behaviors. For long-time users, time in a methadone program will be spent engaging in psychosocial activities as well as receiving medication treatments, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine.
For people who’ve only used for a few months, participation in a methadone program may not be needed depending on frequency of use and how much a person used at a time.
Detox vs. Maintenance Treatment
As a treatment medication, methadone works well at reducing the level of drug cravings and withdrawal effects recovery addicts so often experience. In effect, methadone programs use the drug to support damaged brain functions left behind from opiate abuse.
As an addiction treatment, methadone can be used during the detox stage and/or as a long-term maintenance treatment. Many chronic opiate users start methadone while in detox and remain on the drug for months or even years thereafter.
As chronic opiate users stand to benefit the most from methadone programs, the typical length of time spent in treatment ranges anywhere from three to six months. Since the recovery process in general can well take a year or more, the typical length of time spent in a methadone program may not be enough to equip a person for long-term abstinence, according to Canada’s Center for Addiction & Mental Health.
The Benefits of Long-Term Methadone Treatment
While the potential for relapse remains high for most every type of addiction, recovering opiate addicts face an especially high risk in this regard. Methadone programs offer a comprehensive approach to opiate addiction treatment with many programs requiring addicts to participate in psychosocial treatment activities as a condition of ongoing treatment.
According to the National Institutes of Health, people who spend a minimum of 12 months in methadone treatment stand to see the best treatment outcomes overall. Since much of the addiction lifestyle has as much to do with a person’s psychological mindset as it does physical dependency, ample time is needed to overcome the damaging effects of opiates on the mind and body.