Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy during Methadone Dose Reduction: Rationale, Treatment Description, and a Case Report.

Publication Date



Cogn Behav Pract. 2009 May 1; 16(2): 205–213.


Many clients who undergo methadone maintenance (MM) treatment for heroin and other opiate dependence prefer abstinence from methadone. Attempts at methadone detoxification are often unsuccessful, however, due to distressing physical as well as psychological symptoms. Outcomes from a MM client who voluntarily participated in an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) - based methadone detoxification program are presented. The program consisted of a 1-month stabilization and 5-month gradual methadone dose reduction period, combined with weekly individual ACT sessions. Urine samples were collected twice weekly to assess for use of illicit drugs. The participant successfully completed the program and had favorable drug use outcomes during the course of treatment, and at the one-month and one-year follow-ups. Innovative behavior therapies, such as ACT, that focus on acceptance of the inevitable distress associated with opiate withdrawal may improve methadone detoxification outcomes.