The impetus behind the NorComt study - the Norwegian cohort of patients in opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) - is to improve opioid and substance use treatment through learning about patients’ treatment experiences.
In this article 75% of the patients reported “poor” or “very poor” quality of life. However, no demographic variables such as unemployment or age were connected to quality of life, and neither were any related to addiction severity or treatment history.
Rather, physical inactivity, being dissatisfied with one’s weight, and eating meals alone were also correlated with poorer quality of life among men. These are vulnerabilities which have been reported to reduce well-being among other groups, and these results serve as a reminder that persons with a substance use disorder are not immune from loneliness or from social pressure to be physically fit or to look a certain way.
While these concerns may seem more banal when compared to the range of comorbidities patients present with, it is important for treatment to not lose sight of the former while prioritizing substance-related issues.
Offering exercise opportunities, social outlets, and supporting healthy expectations of one’s physical appearance may be additional ways to improve quality of life in a treatment context.
The article contains further discussion about women’s quality of life, and about methadone’s protective effect on quality of life for both genders.