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Treatment for Methadone Addiction

Treatment for methadone addiction involves a multifaceted approach, including alternative forms of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) like buprenorphine or naltrexone, inpatient or outpatient rehab, and various therapies. Support groups also play a crucial role in building recovery networks.

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Treating methadone addiction can be complicated due to the fact that the drug is often used as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for addictions to other drugs like heroin and morphine. As a result, treatment for methadone addiction often involves a comprehensive treatment approach that may include a different form of MAT as well as therapy and other supportive treatments.  

What Treatment Options Are Available for Methadone Addiction?

Treatments for methadone addiction are typically multidimensional in nature and involve a combination of approaches. These are some of the commonly used treatments: 

MAT

MAT involves the use of medication to treat substance use disorders like methadone addiction. In this approach, medication is most commonly used in conjunction with behavioral or psychological therapy. 

Since methadone itself is a medication that is used to treat OUD, it’s likely that a different medication will be used to treat methadone addiction. Buprenorphine has a lower abuse potential than methadone due to its ceiling effect. In addiction treatment programs, it is often given in the form of Suboxone, which also features naloxone as an abuse-deterrent ingredient.

Even if you abused methadone after you were using it to treat opioid addiction, you are less likely to abuse Suboxone. In fact, if you attempt to inject Suboxone in order to get high, naloxone will knock all opioids off their receptors, sending you into immediate withdrawal. 

In some cases, you may be prescribed naltrexone in your methadone addiction treatment program. This medication prevents you from feeling high if you relapse and abuse opioids. Since you won’t experience euphoria, you’ll be less likely to relapse.  

Inpatient Rehab

If you have a severe methadone addiction, have attempted rehab in the past unsuccessfully, or are dealing with any co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, inpatient rehab may be the best option. In this program, you’ll live at the treatment facility and have access to 24/7 care. In this setting, you’ll have virtually no opportunity to relapse, and you’ll be able to fully dedicate yourself to your recovery efforts.

Outpatient Rehab

There are many different levels of care within the category of outpatient rehab. In an intensive outpatient program, you’ll participate in longer treatment sessions most days of the week. In a more standard outpatient program, you’ll visit the facility a couple days a week to participate in therapy.

Your treatment team will help you determine which level of care is right for you. It’s also common to move between levels depending on the care you need at that particular time.

Therapy for Methadone Addiction

Psychotherapy is widely considered by health professionals to be essential in the management of addiction. Some of the common psychosocial factors contributing to substance abuse and addiction include the following:

  • Stress
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Social environment and peer pressure
  • Trauma and loss
  • A need for meaning or purpose in life

These factors exist in conjunction with biological and genetic susceptibilities that can lead to cravings for substances and physiological dependence. In therapy, you can identify the causes of your methadone abuse and learn how to cope more effectively with triggers. Over time, you’ll learn to manage stress, set and achieve goals, feel more confident, and think more productively.

Therapeutic approaches used in treatment for methadone addiction include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management (CM)
  • Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
  • Family therapy
  • Alternative therapies that support core therapies, such as art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and music therapy

Support Groups for Methadone Addiction

In most addiction treatment programs, you’ll participate in some form of support groups. While the most common types are in the 12-step model, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, there are many options that can suit your particular preferences. 

Here are some of the most popular peer support groups for methadone addiction as well as addiction in general:

  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • SMART Recovery
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery
  • SOS Sobriety

In these groups, you can begin to build your support network in recovery, and they can be consistent places to turn when things get tough and you’re tempted to relapse back to methadone abuse. 

In addition, many addiction treatment programs host alumni events, where you can meet others in recovery and learn from their journeys. Maintaining a connection to treatment and peers in recovery is crucial to sustaining long-term recovery from methadone and other forms of opioid abuse.

Updated November 21, 2023
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