Getting into a methadone or Suboxone treatment program and off the abuse of opiates is a monumental step to better health and a better life, but medication alone is rarely enough! Those that give themselves the best chances of a lifetime of recovery take the time of stability that medication offers and use it to take back control of their lifestyle, their finances, their relationships and social support network and many other things. Read on to find out what must be done during maintenance treatment before you can begin thinking about tapering off your medication.
Although some people may choose to use Suboxone or methadone indefinitely as a form of lifetime maintenance treatment, most people will eventually decide to discontinue their use of these medications; and when they do, they once again face an elevated risk of relapse back to opiate abuse.
In general, longer periods of methadone and Suboxone treatment are associated with better eventual outcomes, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that 1 year be considered a minimum period for the use of methadone treatment.
Once off methadone or Suboxone, you will likely once again experience increased drug cravings. You need to be prepared for this.
A sufficient period of Suboxone or methadone treatment lets you get your life back on track without having to worry about drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms while doing so. Over time, once you have built your strength and social support networks up, you are in a much better position to resist temptation and are more likely going to be able to stay addiction free, even without medication assistance.
Although you may not feel like you need counseling and other forms of addiction treatment while on Suboxone or methadone, this treatment assistance can prove invaluable as you work towards stability and emotional health in your daily life – putting you in a far stronger position for an eventual attempt towards ending your use of Suboxone or methadone.
Page last updated Apr 19, 2011