Why is Counseling Recommended in a Methadone Program

inpatient rehab can provide effective counselingStarting a methadone program for the treatment of heroin dependence is a big step in the direction toward healing and recovery, but studies show that counseling should also become a part of your recovery plan in order to provide the greatest chance of success. Counseling can help to reduce the underlying emotional and psychological issues that were at the root of the addiction or which developed in conjunction with the addiction. When methadone is taken regularly under the controlled supervision of a doctor and counseling is provided, patients have improved chances for stability and lifelong recovery.

Counseling in Rehab

Inpatient rehab should involve behavioral therapies including counseling, psychotherapy, support groups, and family therapy. Individual counseling provides patients with a foundation upon which they can learn about their addiction, seek support, and grow in their recovery. Patients are encouraged to talk with a counselor about any roadblocks to recovery, their fears, their struggles, and their triumphs along the way.

For help finding an inpatient rehab that will assist you in opioid recovery, call 1-800-552-0697 today.

Group counseling is also an effective means of helping patients who are already taking methadone as part of a maintenance program to recover from heroin or opiate addiction. During group counseling, individuals will work with others who are also in recovery to develop coping skills that ensure continued efficacy in recovery.

Counseling Improves Outcomes

Studies have shown that counseling greatly improves that recovery outcomes of those who are seeking help for various types of addiction including opiate dependence. According to the University of Delaware, “programs that combine methadone maintenance and behavioral therapy (counseling) generally get better results.”

When recovering addicts receive help for the underlying elements of their addiction, including past trauma or abuse, depression or anxiety, and various other factors, they have a better chance of learning how to prevent future substance abuse and to change. Behavioral change is a necessary element of healing and recovery, but don’t realize how to change or that change is necessary until they seek counseling.

According to studies dating back more than 20 years, “Simply intensifying routine drug abuse counseling improves outcomes for patients receiving methadone.” This study found that step based care is most effective. This includes a number of steps that walk the patient through the early stages of methadone  maintenance with minimal counseling, on through two months or more of treatment during which the counseling sessions are gradually increased to meet patient needs without reducing retention rates.

Reduced Drug Use

Coordinated rehabilitation reduces or eliminates drug use. Counseling, when coordinated with methadone maintenance treatment, can reduce the length of time that a user takes methadone, minimizes the risk of relapse and can even work to reduce the use of other harmful substances such as other drugs or alcohol, according to Boise State College.

Maintained Abstinence

According to Doctor Delinda E. Mercer of the University of Pennsylvania and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, “The primary goal of addiction counseling is to assist the addict in achieving and maintaining abstinence from addictive chemicals and behaviors. The secondary goal is to help the addict recover from the damage the addiction has caused in his or her life.” Methadone helps those in recovery to achieve the abstinence that they are seeking as part of recovery by providing them with a medically effective method of reducing cravings and eliminating symptoms of withdrawal. Counseling provides patients with the means to cope with and heal from the damage caused by the addiction.

Effective healing takes time, at least 90 days of sobriety is necessary in order to achieve results in recovery and, for many, longer time is needed. Methadone maintenance programs provide patients with months or even years of recovery time. While some are able to effectively stop taking methadone following just a few months of treatment, many recovering addicts will continue to take the medication as part of their daily regimen for two years or more.

How Long is Counseling Necessary?

Counseling may not be required for the entire time that methadone is taken but psychological help is recommended for a period of at least 90 days. Inpatient rehab programs generally provide a starting point of 30 days of inpatient care. For help finding a rehab center, call 1-800-552-0697. Studies show that counseling during methadone maintenance is often neglected at first but, when the behavioral therapy becomes an integrated element of treatment, patients are more likely to remain sober.

Slowly adding counseling into the routine can help improve patient response rates. During the first 14-30 days of treatment, patients should attend counseling once per week. For the second month of treatment on methadone, 2 counseling sessions per week are recommended. During the third month of treatment counseling sessions can take place 3 or more times per week for the highest rate of recovery and minimized risk of relapse.

Each case of addiction is very different from the next. It’s important to work closely with a counselor as well as with your doctor to ensure that you have the best possible chance for recovery from an addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers. If you’re not sure where to get help or how, contact our recovery helpline at 1-800-552-0697 toll free today.