So you’re wondering what it’s like to get methadone treatment for your opiate addiction. Can the methadone treatment programs in Columbus, Georgia help you? Once you are admitted, will you have to endure annoying restrictions? Will people respect the person you are? Just how do places like these operate?
As long as you’ve chosen one of the methadone treatment programs in Columbus that’s licensed by the state and certified by CARF—the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities—the program will follow a basic model. The clients are divided into six phases of treatment. The phases are identified by the government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the methadone treatment clinics in Columbus also adhere to stipulations set down by the State of Georgia.
Methadone Treatment Programs in Columbus: Phase One
The first phase of medication-assisted treatment is the acute phase. The word acute refers to the fact that you are at your most vulnerable at this stage, because it’s hard to make the initial phone call and it’s even more difficult to keep that appointment.
Methadone treatment programs in Columbus expect clients in their first week or two to reach a stable dose of methadone and also to become educated about the treatment they are undertaking. You will be assigned to a counselor, who will schedule you to participate in counseling of some type. Many places offer both group and individual counseling, and other methadone treatment programs focus on individual sessions.
Each of your visits will start with the nurse—or with a lab tech, since you will be asked to provide urine samples at random. You are expected to touch base with your counselor. Every one or two weeks you will see the doctor. In the early stages everybody will be asking how you feel to make certain your dose is right for you.
Phase Two: The Rehabilitative Phase
During Phase Two at methadone treatment programs in Columbus, you learn to take back control of your life. By now you should be stabilized on the medication dosage that you’re taking.
In the rehabilitative phase, you are stable enough medically to confront the major issues in your life. Your relationship with your counselor will be more comfortable so that you can discuss what you hope to achieve. The counselor will be able to refer you to social workers at other agencies so you can find help with financial issues, housing, legal problems, child custody issues, or other matters.
This is the stage at which you’ll begin behavioral contracting, a process that means you are looking at the behaviors you need to correct, and also participating in more intensive counseling sessions. If you need dose adjustments you can request them, but the methadone treatment programs in Columbus that meet SAMHSA standards do not allow physicians to increase your dose based simply on good behavior.
If you’ve been using other substances besides opiates, it’s time to stop all of them. You are also taking a good look at your physical health. You will learn about blood-borne pathogens, and if you are worried that you’ve caught an infectious disease such as HIV or hepatitis, you can be referred to a primary care doctor for testing. Do you have any sexually transmitted diseases? When is the last time you saw a dentist?
Phase Three: Supportive Care
Supportive care is the period when you’re managing to remain abstinent from all drugs and alcohol, you are comfortable on your methadone dosage, and you are taking more responsibility for your well-being. You’ve been attending 12-step meetings, but by now you should be connecting with a sponsor.
Your family often becomes involved in your treatment. Initially, many people do not want their families to participate because they say they can kick addiction on their own. However, at this phase you should recognize that addiction really is a family issue. Once you give the go ahead, it will benefit you and your family to have them participate in family groups or individual family sessions. They need to become educated about opiate addiction and rehabilitation so they can understand what you’re going through. They will also learn how to recognize the ways that they contributed to your life struggles or ways they enabled your addiction.
Your own education about drug abuse continues. While you are a client at one of the methadone treatment programs in Columbus, you will learn exactly how drugs affect your brain and also the theories behind medication-assisted treatment.
After at least 90 days, in most methadone treatment clinics in Georgia, you will earn take-home doses, which provides you some freedom from attending the clinic every day. The time will pass quickly, and before you know it you will be surprised to realize you’ve got a year under your belt already.
Phase Four: Medical Maintenance
Methadone treatment programs in Columbus follow SAMHSA’s guidelines and move their clients slowly through treatment. As you enter your second year of recovery you will find yourself in Phase Four. In the medical maintenance phase, you are fully engaged in working the 12 steps, and you realize that each step takes a long time to complete.
With the assistance of your counselor, you are putting ideas for a relapse prevention plan into place. Your take-home doses will increase. You will feel good about the freedom and trust you’ve earned at the methadone treatment program. Your medical health will be stable. You will be on track with some educational or career goals. Your family life should be relatively stable, and there should be no ongoing legal issues that trouble you.
Phase Five: Tapering and Readjustment
It’s not accurate to report that someone must wait three years to begin tapering to a lower dose of methadone. The timeframe for tapering and readjustment depends on your body’s ability to cope on a decreased dose. When you were first admitted, the counselor probably asked you when you thought you would like to taper. Many patients set a timeframe, which is unrealistic simply because you don’t know what to expect when you begin participating in one of the methadone treatment programs in Columbus. Other patients describe a goal they want to reach before they taper, such as family stability or completion of education.
It will be interesting, at Phase Five, to take a look back at the treatment goals you set when you first started on this journey. Over time, you’ll find out, those goals change.
So, at this stage, the doctor will talk to you about how you feel about tapering. The plan you work out will be set jointly by you and the doctor, with your counselor’s recommendation.
Phase Six: Continuing Care
What! Continuing Care? Will your dealings with your chosen methadone treatment program in Columbus never be over? Remember that addiction is a lifelong journey, and the continuing care phase is where you are after successfully tapering and being happy with your readjustment. You will have regular physicals, and you’ll meet with your substance abuse treatment counselor every 1-3 months.
You will continue to participate in 12-step programming. Guess what? By this phase, you’ll be doing leads and you’ll be the sponsor chosen by some newbie out there.
Does This Seem Difficult?
If the phases or stages of opiate addiction treatment seem overwhelming, you should remember that methadone treatment programs know what they’re doing. They formulate a treatment plan for each and every client that you will be aware of as you go through the stages of treatment. The plan and your counselor, who is an expert in treatment and recovery, will help you reach recovery with success. And it’s not difficult at all—the hard part is making that very first phone call.