Maintenance Therapy: The Risk of a Secondary Addiction

Maintenance therapy: The dangers of dual addiction

Maintenance therapy is where an individual who is addicted to an illegal substance such as drugs is given a medical prescription to switch out the drug for a substitute.

Rather than solving the problem completely to achieve long term sobriety, which is the basis of the UK’s leading residential rehabs for addiction, maintenance therapy substitutes one addiction for another.

Those who are addicted to heroin are often given a prescription drug called methadone.

Methadone is also incredibly addictive, and if an individual goes without it, then withdrawal symptoms occur.

What are the symptoms of methadone withdrawal?

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cravings
  • Cramps
  • Tiredness

With the NHS there is a long waiting time for drug rehabilitation services.

Many NHS services will prescribe methadone as a form of maintenance therapy in order to maintain the addiction before seeking inpatient residential treatment.

However as we can see methadone is highly addictive, so it can be hard for the individual to have to detox from an addiction to prescribed medication.

Coming off drugs completely is the best way to achieve long-term recovery.

The best way to recover from addiction is not to substitute your chosen drug for prescribed drugs, but to seek residential rehab treatment which includes a medically monitored detox.

A detox is a process whereby an individual comes off drugs or alcohol in a safe medical environment. Read more. 

Because withdrawal can be very serious, the best way to detox is in a medical facility.

Trying to detox at home will put you in danger and the chance of relapse is very high.

UK rehabs treat detox as an integrated part of their treatment programmes.

Read more about the UK’s top addiction rehabs here.