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How Long Is a Methadone Treatment Program?

Posted on :  March 1st, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

It is reasonable for anyone who will undergo medical treatment to want to know how long the program will last, right? However, no matter how reasonable the question is, when it comes to the methadone treatment, the answer can be quite difficult to muster. There are those who will be on the treatment program for weeks, years, or decades, and some will stay on for the rest of their lives. If this is the case, then how long is a methadone treatment program?

Drug Addiction Treatment

When it comes to drug addiction, how long would a regular treatment last? One of the best determinants would have to be individual progress. This means a predetermined treatment length would be almost out of the question. The only assurance is that good results can be achieved given enough treatment time is allocated.

How long is adequate? In general, outpatient participation not exceeding 90 days can be considered inefficient with results not very significant to achieve long-term positive gains. When talking about methadone maintenance treatment, the minimum should be no less than 12 months. As earlier stated, the individual outcome is unpredictable so many will be under the maintenance program for many years.

Many falsely believe in the inadequacy of some treatment programs. However, these perceived inadequacies are brought about by patients failing to give the treatment program enough time to become successful. This is why one of the greatest challenge to treatment programs is the considerable dropout rate. This is where innovative motivational techniques will come into play so make sure that patients remain engaged.

When looking at addiction as a type of chronic disease, continuous care, monitoring, and dedication are necessary ingredients for success. This though will require multiple treatment episodes and admitting the reality that patients are prone to relapse.

Methadone Treatment Stages

The reality is that the longer patients stay with the program, the better their chances are of overcoming opiate use, addiction, and relapse.  The truth is that less than 20% of patients will subscribe to using the treatment for more than 10 years. The great thing with the methadone maintenance treatment is that there are no negative impact on any major organ or system of the body even if you use it for decades. What are the stages of the treatment?

  • Induction Phase – during this period, the dosage will be adjusted to levels that will give you comfort from symptoms and cravings. Patients are expected to participate in counseling and health program supports while on methadone.
  • Rehabilitative and Maintenance Phases – once a steady and comfortable dosage is reached, daily dosage is continued. As the patient complies with the program, the number of take home doses per week may be increased. Patients become eligible for month-long take home doses after 2 years with the program.
  • Tapering – patients can begin tapering off methadone any time, but it is commonly advised that a minimum of 1 year is spent as better treatment results can be received when staying in the program longer. Slower tapering with longer gradual dose reduction intervals are seen as more comfortable for most patients.

How will you know if you are ready to taper from methadone?The answer lies with the patient himself, although many that undergo the treatment program do not reach the point of tapering. Why is this? In essence, tapering is closely associated with the high risk of going into relapse, so for some, there is a fear of tapering because they do not want to go back to opiate abuse and addiction.

So, are you ready? Let’s see if you can answer yes to all of these:

  1. Do you have a stable home and family life, supported by a reliable income?
  2. Have you displayed a history of compliance with the methadone treatment program?
  3. Does your primary treatment counselor agree with your readiness and timing to taper?
  4. Are you committed to returning to the treatment program in case of relapse?
  5. Will you avoid alcohol and drug abuse completely?

If you need help to get through your addiction or find an appropriate methadone treatment program, contact Toward Recovery Clinics immediately!

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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