Methadone Patient Satisfaction is Linked to Treatment Success

A recent scientific study of methadone patients confirms what common sense suggests: methadone treatment outcomes are related to patient satisfaction.  Methadone patients who are happy with their treatment have better treatment outcomes.

Satisfied methadone patients stay in treatment longer and are more successful at reducing or eliminating use of heroin or prescription pain killers.  In other words, satisfied methadone patients are successful methadone patients.

This link between patient satisfaction and treatment outcomes has policy implications for methadone clinics and recovery implications for methadone patients.

What This Means for Methadone Patients

Methadone patients should ask themselves, “Am I feeling satisfied with my methadone treatment?”

Dissatisfaction with methadone treatment  is a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.  Patients need to understand the source of their dissatisfaction and find a way to improve satisfaction.  Poor treatment satisfaction puts methadone patients at risk for relapse or abandonment of treatment.

For example, a methadone patient who is dissatisfied with treatment because they are continuing to have severe drug cravings is unlikely to be successful at maintaining abstinence from illicit opiates.  Unless the methadone patient and the methadone clinic are able to find an effective methadone dose for the patient, the patient is unlikely to enjoy positive treatment outcomes.

What This Means for Methadone Clinics

Methadone programs should ask themselves, “Are we doing everything we can to improve patient satisfaction with our program?”

Methadone programs need to assess patient satisfaction as part of treatment.  Poor treatment satisfaction is a barrier to treatment.  It puts methadone patients at risk for relapse or abandonment of treatment.  An effective treatment plan must address patient satisfaction and resolve sources of dissatisfaction.

Too often, methadone treatment programs seem to rely on the medication itself to engage and retain patients.  This isn’t enough.  Patients need a warm and welcoming staff, skilled and respectful counselors, reasonable program policies, and good medical management to succeed.

Businesses know that poor customer satisfaction leads to lost customers.  When it comes to methadone treatment, the losses can be fatal.

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