When someone enters a Methadone clinic, they are usually only thinking about the relief from withdrawal symptoms once they receive the medication. And who can blame them? Experiencing withdrawal symptoms from opioids is miserable.
Most people who try to detox themselves end up using again to stop the withdrawal symptoms. However, in order to attempt a successful recovery, medical supervision is needed and maybe even Medication Assisted Treatment.
Is Medication Enough for Addiction Recovery?
No. If heroin was the problem, then all of your problems would be solved once you stopped using. However, most people in early recovery will tell you that it’s difficult, and they still have lots of problems.
Heroin is the solution you found to help you deal with or avoid dealing with life’s problems. The addicted person may feel relief or a sensation of escape after using. Again, heroin is not the problem, and Methadone is not the cure.
It will stop withdrawal symptoms and cravings. But if you haven’t received counseling services, you’re likely to return to using once you stop the medication.
How Does Counseling Increase The Effectiveness Of Medication?
Most people entering Methadone or Suboxone treatment are resistant to counseling. The medication helps them feel “normal” again, and they think that’s all they need.
So, why is counseling important?
Counseling helps you identify underlying problems and work to find resolution or peace. It also helps explain the addiction and recovery process and how to maintain sobriety. Additionally, this is where you’ll learn relapse prevention, and life skills that are critical in maintaining sobriety.
If you don’t participate in counseling, it greatly increases your chances of turning to another illicit substance. You may start looking for another quick fix to your problems like you did with heroin.
Counseling is recommended for both Methadone and Suboxone patients. We use a variety of therapeutic approaches based on what will be most effective with each individual patient. The most common treatment approaches are Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
At MedPro Treatment centers, we also offer Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, which focuses on perception vs. reality. In life, perception is the foundation of reality. If we change our perception, we will change our reality.
Short-Term Benefits Of Counseling For A Patient Entering Treatment
There is usually quite a bit of resistance to counseling while in Medication Assisted Treatment. This is partially because the individual already feels better from the medication and believes they don’t need any additional services. (Again, they think heroin’s the problem, and the medication is the cure!) However, there are numerous benefits of counseling for addiction patients.
Short-term benefits of therapy often motivate the patient to return for more counseling. Most patients comment on how nice it was to have someone listen to them. It may be the first time in a long time that they didn’t feel judged for being addicted to heroin.
Hope is one of the biggest short-term benefits of beginning counseling. By the time a patient reaches treatment, he typically feels hopeless and helpless. Patients are often filled with guilt and shame.
At MedPro, we are realistic, but hopeful, with each of our patients.
We do put the responsibility of success in recovery on the patient. We can give them the tools necessary to stay sober, but it’s up to them to use the tools.
Long-Term Benefits Of Counseling
With counseling, the patient has a far better chance of maintaining sobriety once they taper off the medication. If no counseling is received, and the patient tapers off Methadone or Suboxone, they’re likely to return to using heroin or possibly another illicit substance. This is because they still haven’t learned how to cope with daily stressors and past issues.
With counseling, the patient will learn more about their drug use and how to abstain from it. They’ll also improve life skills such as communication, setting healthy boundaries, conflict resolution, and goal setting. Once a person feels equipped to handle problems in life, the problems tend to be less stressful.
Additional Support for Addiction Recovery
You can never have too much support. This goes for the patient and the friends and family members. We need both a primary support system and a social support system –both are equally important.
A primary support system is made up of the people closest to you that you can share personal things with. A social support system includes people you can be yourself with and enjoy activities you have in common.
Lacking primary and social support can lead to deterioration of both physical and mental health. Having adequate support improves the ability to handle stress, think more positively about their lives, and is an important factor in preventing depression and anxiety.
Support can be found at 12-step meetings such as AA or NA, support groups, church, or even in finding people that have similar interests or hobbies.
It’s time to get out there and live life again – don’t do it alone.