Why Methadone Maintenance Treatment Won’t Work Without Counseling
People coming off chronic opiate addiction well know the ongoing physical and emotional discomforts that persist throughout much of the recovery process. While methadone maintenance treatment goes a long way towards alleviating the physical aftereffects of chronic opiate abuse, the psychological aftereffects remain well intact.
Opiate addictions come with a high relapse potential regardless of how long a person has maintained abstinence. Ultimately, receiving needed counseling treatment can mean the difference between ongoing progress in recovery and repeated relapse episodes that further endanger a person’s health and well-being.
Effects of Long-Term Opiate Use
The feelings of euphoria and calm that come with an opiate “high” drive drug-using practices during the early stages of drug abuse. Over time, the damaging effects of opiate abuse disrupt the brain’s overall chemical makeup. In the process, a person becomes physically dependent on the drug’s effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
With long-term opiate abuse, the brain develops a psychological dependency on opiate effects. Ultimately, it’s the psychological dependency that leaves recovering addicts susceptible to relapse for months or years into the recovery process.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
As a treatment drug, methadone acts as a type of replacement therapy, mimicking the effects of addictive opiates while meeting the brain’s need for opiate’s effects. In turn, methadone can relieve much of the discomfort associated with withdrawal and drug cravings effects. While methadone maintenance treatment can provide considerable relief, the drug’s effects only address the brain’s physical dependency on the drug, which can be a recipe for disaster in the absence of needed counseling treatment help.
The heart of opiate addiction lives inside a person’s psychological makeup, affecting his or her thinking processes, emotional responses and behaviors. These effects can persist long after a person stops abusing opiates.
In effect, a person develops a whole new lifestyle during the course of drug use. Without needed, ongoing counseling treatment, a person will eventually fall into old, drug-using behaviors due to the residual effects of addiction on his or her thinking processes. Ultimately, the addiction lifestyle will resurface regardless of whether or not a person experiences withdrawal or drug cravings effects.
According to the New York State Department of Health, addictions in general work in much the same way as chronic medical conditions, where periods of remission and flare-ups occur on a repeated basis. Likewise, addictions come with the potential for relapse, though some forms of addiction carry a higher potential for relapse than others. Opiate addictions carry a high potential for relapse, with an estimated 40 to 60 percent of recovering addicts experiencing a relapse episode during the early stages of recovery.
Benefits of Counseling
The combined effects of methadone and ongoing counseling treatment offers recovering addicts the best chance of maintaining abstinence on an ongoing basis. Counseling treatment works to help a person work through the psychological aftereffects of addiction and replace addiction-based thinking and behavior with healthy coping strategies for dealing with daily life on a drug-free basis. In essence, counseling treatment equips a person with the type of mindset needed to create and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.