Opiate addicts and their families know the vital importance of getting off and staying off these dangerous and powerful drugs. Caregivers have found over the past several years that carefully monitored methadone treatment programs can be among the most successful anti-opiate therapies. Methadone programs can work and work well, though those of us in the addictive therapy community know their effectiveness is often dependent upon the cooperation of the patient himself. The factors affecting this cooperation can be elusive, but a new study has shed some light on patient attitude and its effect on therapy outcome.
What the Researchers Asked
In the study, a group of 19 patients were interviewed systematically by the researchers about their responses to and opinions of their methadone treatment. The patients were asked, for example, about their methadone doses: Were they too much or too little? What factors were important to them in deciding whether to participate in their program of therapy? How did they feel about their methadone therapy?
What They Learned
Through careful analysis of the interview responses, the researchers attempted to generalize about the optimal methadone dosage. In so doing, they identified various factors that could impinge upon the dosage level, in concert, of course, with the patient. Among the factors the study participants cited that might suggest a lower-than-normal dose, for example, were the following concerns:
- Worry that a dose too high might lessen their control
- Concern about possibly risking drug intoxication
- Unwillingness to risk becoming addicted to methadone itself
- Distaste for possible unpleasant effects of the drug
- Embarrassment at being involved in a methadone study at all
On the other hand, participants expressed other concerns that might argue for a higher dose:
- Wish to avoid the effects of opiate withdrawal
- Desire to please family and friends by submitting to aggressive addiction therapy
How Such Findings Affect Therapeutic Programs
The results of the study provided the researchers and the addiction therapy community with a new set of considerations, which can further enrich opiate addiction treatment programs.
Here at Axis, one of the most comprehensive and well-rounded addiction treatment programs in the nation, we have always placed the recovering addict and his or her family members at the very center of what we do. Here you can be certain that your feelings, your opinions, and your ideas about what is appropriate and beneficial will always be treated with the utmost respect. If you are, or your loved one is, suffering from opiate addiction, please call the number above. Our trained and sympathetic staff members are standing by to offer the support you need.