Background: Methadone, a long-acting opioid agonist maintenance treatment (MMT) is used to treat opioid addiction by preventing opioid withdrawal and reducing cravings. However, it is important to note that mental conditions may persist, or even remain undetected while methadone maintenance treatment is ongoing. This study aimed to examine the level of psychological problems among MMT patients at public and private health facilities and identify associated factors.
Method: From January to September 2018, a cross-sectional study was performed in Nam Dinh province, one of the largest epicenters providing HIV/AIDS surveillance and treatment services in the North of Vietnam. 395 male respondents currently receiving MMT agreed to participate in a face-to-face interview. Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) were used to assess psychological problems among patients.
Results: The percentage of patients suffering from mild to extremely severe anxiety was the highest among psychological problems (18%). 2.8% of participants had mild depressive symptoms and the percentage of those having mild or moderate stress was approximately 4%. In addition, the longer treatment duration, the lower mental health scores regarding three types of psychological problems. Respondents who received MMT services in public health facilities were more likely to have a higher score of all psychological problems. Participants who lived with partners or spouse, having higher monthly family income had a lower likelihood of having severe depression and stress status. Freelancers or blue-collars/farmers had lower score of depression and anxiety compared to people being unemployed.
Conclusion: This study suggests that among our sample, MMT patients receiving treatment in public health facilities might have higher rate of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, and stress than that of those in the private health facility. These results highlight the necessity of taking psychological counseling adequately for MMT patients and psychological assessment should be prioritized in the early stage of treatment.
Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Methadone; Psychological; Stress; Vietnam.