When All Else Fails, Can Methadone Maintenance Treatment Really Make a Difference?

People recovering from chronic opiate addiction often go through multiple rounds of drug treatment before seeing any real progress in recovery. As far as addictions go, opiate-based addictions can be some of the most difficult to overcome as the urge to resume drug use can persist long after a person stops using.

Often referred to as the “treatment of last resort,” methadone maintenance treatment employs a comprehensive approach that combines medication therapy with psychosocial treatment interventions. For people coming off long histories of opiate abuse, methadone maintenance treatment offers the level of support most needed to overcome the physical and psychological aftereffects of chronic opiate abue.

The Effects of Chronic Opiate Abuse

Physical Effects

When All Else Fails

Methadone maintenance treatment can help you feel normal again.

Opiates interact directly with the body’s brain and central nervous system functions, slowing nerve signal transmissions and blocking pain sensations from reaching the brain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these effects stem from radical changes in neurotransmitter production from the brain’s cells.

Over time, these changes cause damage to individual cell sites and eventually reconfigure the brain’s chemical pathways. In effect, opiates takes over the brain’s normal regulatory functions creating a chemical system that depends on the drug to work properly.

While traditional drug treatment programs do a good job at helping a person through the initial detox and recovery period, the damaging effects of chronic opiate abuse can interfere with a person’s recovery efforts for months or years after stopping drug use. Methadone maintenance treatment goes a step further in terms of addressing the widespread damage done to the brain’s chemical system.

Psychological Effects

On top of the rampant brain chemical imbalances brought on by chronic opiate abuse, addicts enter into a pattern of compulsive drug-using behavior that becomes a lifestyle of its own, according to Southern Connecticut State University. These behaviors gradually take over a person’s life, affecting his or her thinking and emotions in fundamental ways. Before long, getting and using opiates takes on top priority in the addict’s daily life. Methadone maintenance treatment uses psychosocial treatment interventions to help those in recovery replace the addiction mindset with a drug-free lifestyle.

For help finding treatment programs That will aid in your recovery call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).

Methadone Maintenance Treatment Benefits

The drug methadone interacts with the brain in the same way addictive opiates do without posing a high risk for abuse and addiction. These effects offer the following benefits:

  • Eliminates drug cravings
  • Relieve residual withdrawal effects, such as insomnia, fatigue and depression
  • Extinguishes drug-using behaviors using a once-a-day dosing schedule as opposed to needing multiple drug “fixes” throughout the day
  • Enables a person to feel normal again

Methadone’s effects greatly improve a person’s motivation to get well, which makes it that much easier to get engaged in the treatment process. In addition to this, psychosocial treatment interventions help a person replace the underlying thinking and behavioral patterns that drive opiate abuse with a lifestyle that promotes continued abstinence. Interventions used include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Support group work
  • Drug education training
  • Relapse prevention strategies
  • Group therapy

Is Methadone Maintenance Treatment Really Worth the Trouble?


Considering the degree of brain dysfunction left behind by chronic opiate abuse, some form of support is needed to give a person a fighting chance at recovery. By combining methadone with psychosocial treatment interventions, methadone maintenance treatment offers recovering addicts the best chance of maintaining abstinence on a long-term basis.

If you or someone you know is considering methadone maintenance treatment and need help locating treatment programs in your area, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the MethadoneClinic.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither MethadoneClinic.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.