Methadone Addiction and Treatment Options

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Methadone Interactions, Addiction, Detox and Rehab

Methadone addiction has become a very serious problem in our country. In fact, some believe that this drug has only contributed to the opioid epidemic. It is not uncommon for people to become addicted to it accidentally. But there are also those who choose to abuse it and then become dependent on it.

Methadone frequently causes withdrawal when it is stopped, and the symptoms can be severe. This can cause people to be afraid to stop taking it, and they will often stay on it for years.

Fortunately, there are detox and recovery options available to those who form addictions to methadone. It is not easy to recover, but with the right support, it is possible. If you have become an addict, you need to know that there is hope. We would like to take this opportunity to provide you with all the information you need.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a medication that belongs to a classification of drugs called opioids. It was formulated by the Germans during World War II. Upon its arrival into the United States, it was first used to treat severe pain. Today, there are other uses for it as well.

What is Methadone?

This medication is often sold under several other brand names. Among them are:

  • Dolophine
  • Methadose
  • Symoron
  • Physeptone
  • Heptadon
What is Methadone?

Methadone abuse has become very common, and this drug is available for sale on the street. It can be purchased under any of the following street names:

  • Amidone
  • Fizzies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Dollies or Dolls
  • Metho
  • Jungle Juice
  • Maria
  • Wafer
  • Pastora

This video gives an excellent overview of methadone and how it is used to treat opioid addiction:

Today, methadone is primarily used to treat addictions to heroin and other opioid drugs. Because it is also an opioid, it works the same way that others do in the brain. For addicts, it replaces their drug of choice, which can help with withdrawal symptoms.

What Does it Treat?

When it is used appropriately, methadone can be a very effective opioid replacement therapy drug. It works by lessening the pain of opioid withdrawal, but it can also block the effects of these drugs too. For instance, if someone uses heroin while taking this medication, they will not feel the euphoric effects.

Most addiction treatment professionals believe that methadone should only be used short-term. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to remain on it for years. They should also be participating in a counseling program while they are receiving treatment.

An opiate drug is one that is directly derived from the opium poppy plant. There are a few drugs that fall into this classification, such as heroin, opium and morphine. Methadone is synthesized in a lab, which makes it an opioid, and not an opiate.

People often get confused about the differences between opioids and opiates. The term opioid refers to the entire classification of drugs that attach to the opioid receptors in the body. That means that all opiates are considered opioids, but the reverse is not true.

Methadone has often been used to treat pain, and this was actually its first FDA approved purpose. It does work very well as a painkiller, but it certainly is not without its risks.

One of the benefits of methadone is the fact that it is a long-acting drug. A small dose of it can help to relieve pain for hours. Most doctors refuse to prescribe it for their patients before trying other methods of pain relief first. However, there are some people who need something stronger.

According to an article in the NY Times, this drug was once known as the fastest growing cause of narcotic deaths. It was at fault for more than twice as many deaths as heroin in 2008. During that same year, it was keeping pace with the number of deaths from other painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin.

The only way to get a prescription for methadone in the United States is to go through an approved clinic. These clinics must be both licensed and accredited in order to treat patients. Doctors who prescribe the drug must have special certifications and training.

Methadone treatment is regulated by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment as of May 2001. When a patient begins their treatment program, they must come to the clinic every day to receive their medication. Eventually, they may be granted the ability to take some doses of the drug at home. However, this is only the case when they have remained in compliance and in good standing with the program.

These regulations are in place for good reasons. This drug is extremely addictive, and the potential for its abuse is very high. People tend to get addicted to it quickly, and once they do, it is very difficult for them to stop.

How Addictive is Methadone?

Methadone works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It causes people to feel relief, but it does so in a much slower manner than other painkillers. As it causes pain relief, it also blocks the effects of other opioid drugs, such as hydrocodonemorphine and oxycodone. At the same time, it also leads to addiction.

Methadone is a drug that can lead to a quick addiction. Many people who start taking it end up becoming addicted, without being on it for very long. There are a few different reasons for this.

Some people get addicted to this drug because of the pain relief they experience while taking it. Their brains start to rely on it to help them. Others may start to depend on Methadone to even help them get out of bed in the morning. They just do not feel like themselves unless they are taking it.

There are a lot of experts who believe that using a drug like Methadone is only replacing one addiction for another. There is certainly a valid argument for that belief.

This is a great question. The reality is that Methadone has been around for several decades. It has shown to be effective at treating severe pain, as well as for helping people get off opioids. There are many doctors who choose to prescribe it for their patients based on that alone. It can work, but it can also lead to serious addiction problems down the road.

Of course, there are other options for people for pain and for opioid withdrawal. Some doctors might choose methadone because other options have failed. They may feel as though they have no other choice.

Methadone Facts

Even if you’ve been taking this medication for years, there’s probably a lot about it that you don’t know. For instance:

  • It was the most widely used painkiller in Germany, as well as in other parts of the world, during the 1930s.
  • It was formulated in response to a potential war. The German government anticipated that they might not have adequate supplies of painkillers because of interrupted access to opium.
  • It wasn’t released in the United States until 1947.
  • In the 1960s, methadone was promoted as a replacement drug for heroin.
  • The Controlled Substances Act was issued in 1970 primarily as a way to regulate the use of methadone in treating heroin addiction.
  • Many addiction treatment experts believe that the use of methadone is really just trading one addiction for another.
  • It’s more difficult to withdraw from methadone than heroin.
  • Methadone can be a deadly combination when taken with other drugs, or with alcohol.

It’s scary to think that this drug is being promoted as the answer for opioid addiction. The reality is that, for many people, it only serves to make their situations worse. Before they know it, they wind up addicted to a secondary drug that requires even more treatment to get off.

Many of the statistics regarding methadone use and misuse in the United States are staggering. According to the CDC:

  • In 2014, there were more than 47,000 fatal drug overdoses in our country.
  • This number is a 6.5% increase from the previous year.
  • This fact makes drug overdose one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
  • In 1999, there were 784 overdose deaths from methadone.
  • By 2006, that number had gone up to 5,406.
  • It increased again slightly in 2007 to 5,518.
  • That increase was a 600% gain.
  • By 2014, methadone overdose deaths had become less common.
  • There were 3,400 deaths that year, which still indicates a serious problem.

It’s interesting to watch the trends of methadone use over the years for treating addiction. In 2011, about 9% of all addiction treatment programs offered opioid replacement therapy. This number has remained fairly consistent for many years.

Overdose and Use Statistics in the United States

From 2003 to 2011, the number of people receiving methadone treatment has gone up dramatically. In 2003, there were 227,000 using this medication. By 2011, that number had gone up to 306,000. That means that people receiving this drug account for as much as 25% of all substance abuse treatment patients.

The U.S. opioid epidemic actually got its start in the late 1990s. During this time, pharmaceutical companies had ensured doctors that their patients could not become addicted to painkillers. With that assurance, physicians all over the country started to prescribe all varieties of these drugs at alarming rates. Of course, Methadone was counted among them.

As the number of opioid prescriptions increased year after year, so did the instances of misuse. Before long, the number of people abusing both legal and illegal opioids had increased drastically. At that time, it became clear that these drugs could be highly addictive.

In 2017, the opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency. Statistics tell us that in 2016 and 2017:

  • There were more than 130 people who died from an opioid-related overdose.
  • There were 11.4 million people who had misused prescription opioids.
  • 42,249 people had died from overdosing on these drugs.
  • 2.1 million people had been diagnosed with an opioid use disorder.
  • 886,000 people were using heroin.
  • 81,000 people had used heroin for the first time.
  • 2 million people had misused their opioid prescriptions for the first time.
  • There were 17,087 deaths because of overdosing on commonly used painkillers.
  • There were 15,469 deaths because of overdosing on heroin.

This is an issue that has plagued people all over the country. While Methadone was supposed to be a part of the solution, many believe it only contributes to the problem.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has come up with a strategy to fight the opioid crisis. It has five parts that were to be implemented right away.

  • To make it easier to access treatment and recovery services – As many as 90% of the people in the United States who have addictions are not getting treatment. HHS offered $485 million in grant money toward evidence-based prevention and treatment. These grants are available to people in all 50 states. The money allows for the treatment of patients, training for healthcare professionals and much more.
  • To promote the use of reversal drugs like Naloxone – Naloxone is a medication that is capable of immediately reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. Grant money was also allotted for the purpose of ensuring states had access to this and other, similar medications. In addition, HHS intended to ensure research into new drugs that could potentially save even more lives.
  • To continue to understand the epidemic through improved public health surveillance – HHS maintains a strong commitment to research what is happening within communities across the country. They are searching for emerging trends, and promoting partnerships between law enforcement and public health authorities.
  • To support cutting edge research on both pain and addiction – HHS is  researching a vaccine for opioid addiction, among other developments. They are looking for new ways to relieve pain that do not involve addictive drugs. They are also looking for ways to treat addiction that do not involve addictive medications.
  • To support research that will allow for better practices for pain management – Stopping the opioid addiction involves not creating a dependence in the first place. That is an area HHS is focusing on by looking for other, safer ways to treat pain.

It all sounds very good, but the question is, will it work? The answer to that is unknown as of right now. But it is encouraging to know that the issue is being taken seriously. All we can do is our part to ensure that people who are addicted get the help they need to recover.

How do Opioids Affect the Brain?

All opioid drugs have a profound effect on the brain, including methadone. These drugs are drawn to the opioid receptors in the body. When the molecules of the drug attaches to the receptors, the result is pain relief, euphoria and other sensations.

Opioid medications also cause an increase in dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical that is released whenever you have a pleasant and enjoyable experience. For example, your brain will produce it when you eat a delicious meal or dessert. You may feel it when you spend time with a good friend, or when other positive things happen to you.

When you take an opioid drug, it causes the release of excess dopamine, which is what leads to the euphoria. This experience is encouraging you to continue taking the drug. This is why people abuse medications like methadone. Over time, they notice that they need to take more of it to get the same results. When they stop, they’ll find that they don’t feel quite like themselves. This is because dopamine levels in the brain can drop significantly. It’s as if the brain is no longer capable of making it on its own.

This video gives an excellent explanation of the way that opioid drugs work in the brain:

Methadone Addiction Information

How Does Methadone Compare to Other, Similar Opioid Replacement Therapy Drugs?

As you are probably aware, methadone is not the only opioid replacement therapy drug on the market. It’s also not the only medication used for pain relief. It’s interesting to compare it with other drugs to see what the similarities and differences are.

Both methadone and Suboxone are frequently used to treat opioid addiction. Many physicians feel that Suboxone is the safer option for most patients. It is known to be less addictive; although the risk of abuse is still there. Also, while methadone can be used to treat both addiction and pain, Suboxone is only approved to treat addiction.

Methadone can be prescribed in various forms including an oral tablet, a liquid, a concentrated liquid and an injectable solution. Suboxone is only available as a tablet or as a sublingual film that dissolves under the tongue.

Methadone is quite a bit cheaper than Suboxone, which is one of its benefits. Both of these medications require close supervision when patients take them. You won’t need to go to a clinic in order to get your Suboxone medication in most cases. However, if a doctor is concerned about you abusing it, they may require you to take it in their office.

Buprenorphine is the generic name for the drug, Subutex. There are also other brand names that it is sold under. When you compare it to methadone, there are a lot of similarities and differences.

These medications are similar in that their half-lives are almost the same. The half-life for buprenorphine is between 24 and 60 hours. For methadone, it’s between 8 and 60 hours. They are both formulated to be long-acting drugs, which means their effects can be felt for a longer period of time.

Buprenorphine is a partial agonist, whereas methadone is a full agonist. A partial agonist doesn’t activate the mu opioid receptors the same way a full agonist does. It will only work until they reach a ceiling effect or plateau.

A full agonist will continue to activate the opioid receptors until the maximum effect is achieved. This means that someone who is more at risk to abuse their medication might choose methadone over buprenorphine.

Most doctors believe that buprenorphine is a much better solution for opioid addiction than methadone. Its addictive potential is lower, and overall, it is much safer for the patient.

Methadose is a drug that was developed in response to the problem of addiction with methadone. It is essentially the same medication, but the difference is that it is about ten times stronger.

Methadose is a cherry-flavored solution that patients consume orally, just like they do with methadone. The fact that it is stronger is said to help keep people from injecting it. When it is injected, it will congeal under the skin or in the veins. This can cause patients’ arms to become swollen and discolored. In some cases, it can even result in abscesses.

While there are some obvious benefits to Methadose, the drug does have some drawbacks. Some addiction treatment professionals believe that the risk of overdose might be greater. People who are abusing it might not realize that it is a stronger medication. The new drug’s half-life appears to be shorter as well. Patients report experiencing withdrawal symptoms faster than when they take methadone.

When it comes to naloxone vs. methadone, the two drugs really have very different purposes.

It’s rare to find someone who is prescribed naloxone (Narcan) as a treatment for their addiction. This drug is primarily used to treat opioid overdoses, and it’s not used to help them stop using these drugs. It’s a short-acting medication that often has to be re-administered frequently to reverse the effects of opioids.

Narcan is a life-saving medication; there’s no doubt about that. However, it’s not an appropriate choice for someone who needs addiction treatment.

There hasn’t been much debate on methadone vs. Vivitrol. Most addiction treatment professionals believe that the former drug is a much better option for people with an opioid use disorder.

As you know, methadone is primarily used to treat opioid addiction. On the other hand, Vivitrol can be used for this purpose, as well as to treat alcohol dependence. Most practitioners administer naltrexone in the form of an injection that is given every 30 days. This gives them more control over when the patient gets their medication. It also makes it much more convenient for the patient.

One of the biggest benefits of Vivitrol is the fact that it is non-habit forming. People who take it don’t have to worry about becoming victims to a secondary addiction. It also has much higher success rates in the long-term than methadone does. These factors are why so many addiction treatment programs are beginning to offer Vivitrol services to their patients.

A study was done regarding Tramadol vs. methadone in the treatment of opioid withdrawal. For the study, seventy patients were randomly assigned to two different groups. Each group received a different medication, and their withdrawal symptoms were closely monitored.

In the Tramadol group, it was noted that there were less side effects from the medication. The patients in the methadone group did experience several side effects. The number of people who dropped out from the study was similar in both groups. However, these medications seemed to be about the same as far as controlling withdrawal symptoms.

While the outcome of this study is very interesting, Tramadol is not approved to treat opioid addiction. It may be considered a very effective pain reliever, and more doctors should attempt to use it before resorting to methadone.

What is Methadone Abuse?

Methadone abuse refers to the misuse of this drug in some way. It can mean:

  • Taking this drug for a longer period of time than is considered typical.
  • Taking it alongside other drugs or alcohol.
  • Taking doses that are too close together.
  • Taking too much of the drug at one time.
  • Taking it without a prescription.

Usually, someone who is abusing methadone might not be addicted to it as of yet. Although because this drug is so highly addictive, the abuse window is probably quite small.

Abusing methadone often leads to an addiction. But there really is no telling how long it might take for this to happen. Some people can form addictions to this drug within a few weeks of regular use. Others might be able to take it for years without becoming addicted. It all depends on the individual.

Most people are confused to learn that methadone can be abused. We tend to think of it as a drug that is only given in clinics specifically designed for that purpose. While these clinics are the primary ways that people get this drug, there are other ways to get it as well.

For one, methadone can be purchased illegally online, as well as on the streets. There are also situations where people have been on the drug for years. These individuals might not always have to go to a clinic to get their medications. Being able to take them from home means that they have the opportunity to misuse them. Many do not even do it on purpose. They are only trying to control their symptoms of either addiction or pain.

The Effects of Methadone

Whether you have been taking this drug for a short time or long-term, it is important to know the effects. They will be amplified if you are taking higher doses of it than you should be taking.

Even when methadone is being taken short-term, it can still have some profound effects. They include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Itchy skin
  • Severe constipation
  • Contracted pupils
  • Sexual dysfunction

It is also possible for this medication to lead to death if too much of it is taken at one time.

Many people start taking methadone because of some of its short-term effects. These more desirable effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Relief from withdrawal symptoms
  • A sense of well-being

The long-term effects of methadone are even more dangerous. Research shows that around 5,000 people die because of abusing this drug every year. For those who continue to abuse it, doing so can lead to:

  • Severe respiratory problems
  • Heart problems
  • Confusion and impaired judgment
  • Risk of kidney failure
  • Risk of liver failure
  • Risk of exposure to HIV, Hepatitis C, and other diseases

What is most concerning is that people are being kept on Methadone for years. Some of the best experts in the addiction treatment field recommend using it for no more than one year. Still, there are doctors who will keep their patients on it because it appears to be working. Some may or may not know that they have become addicted.

What is Addiction?

When someone has a drug addiction, they are really suffering from a long-acting brain disorder. It’s usually not something that happens immediately after that person starts using a substance. But there are many cases in which it can occur very quickly.

People with addictions become victims to the changes that take place in their brains as a result of substance abuse. When they start using, they are doing it because it helps them feel good. Eventually, they feel the compulsion to use because it is the only way they feel normal.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as, “…a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry…Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission.”

Once someone has an addiction, they have a condition that needs to be treated. There are very few people who have been able to overcome it on their own.

There are a lot of ways to determine if you’re an addict. One of them is to look for the signs of addiction in your life. These can include:

  • Continuing to use a drug even when it’s resulting in negative consequences.
  • Feeling the need to use a prescribed medication (like methadone) even when it’s no longer medically needed.
  • Feeling the need to increase how much you use because you’re forming a tolerance to a drug.
  • Feeling odd when the effects of the drug begin to wear off.
  • Having a desire to stop using, but finding that you cannot.
  • Spending a lot of time obsessing about obtaining or using a substance.
  • Being unable to stick to the limits you set for yourself regarding substance use.
  • Losing interest in people and hobbies that once gave you joy.
  • Borrowing or stealing money in order to pay for drugs.
  • Doing things that are dangerous when you’ve been using.
  • Taking risks in order to obtain your substance of choice.

When it comes to the possibility of methadone addiction, you can never be too careful. If looking at this list doesn’t help, you may want to try taking our opioid addiction quiz. You can also get in touch with us for a free phone assessment to get more information.

Getting Off Methadone

People reach the decision to try and get off methadone in a lot of different ways. Some had no idea that it was a drug they could get addicted to. These individuals want to stop taking it as soon as possible. Others have just reached the ends of their ropes. They know they have addictions, and they want to escape them. Either way, the end goal is the same; to recover from this addiction.

Getting off methadone should not be viewed as an easy feat. It will be anything but easy. But the good news is that there are ways to stop using this drug safely. Still, people will often try a variety of methods in order to reach their goal of getting clean.

A self-taper is never a good idea when taking a drug like methadone. This is something that people will typically do when they feel like they can control their cravings. They may look up information on how to taper off a drug, and then try it themselves. It sounds like it might work; except with this particular prescription medication, it can be dangerous.

The first problem with self-tapering is that people generally do not know how to do it correctly. They may not have the dosages they need in their possession in order to do a medical taper. As a result, they may try to come off too slowly or too quickly. Either one can be problematic for someone who is addicted to methadone.

If this was something you were considering, please reconsider. A taper is something that should only be done by a qualified health professional. They know exactly how to taper you off methadone with less risk of severe and potentially debilitating withdrawals.

Unfortunately, there are those who make the decision to stop taking methadone cold turkey. They simply pick a date to quit, or they decide spontaneously. There is no tapering involved in this method, and it is a dangerous one.

This is nothing like quitting cigarettes or weed cold turkey. This will most likely be much worse, and it could lead to serious complications as well.

Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, people who stop using methadone cold turkey end up relapsing. When they do, they put themselves at risk for an overdose when they start taking it again. We will talk in more detail about both of these in just a moment.

At the very least, quitting methadone cold turkey will only contribute to the cycle of addiction. It becomes easy to return to using again once you stop, and this perpetuates the problem.

We live in a society where whenever someone wants to accomplish a goal, they turn to a specific product. We see this all the time when it comes to issues like weight loss, anxiety, depression and even overall better health. Addiction is really no different.

A lot of people will turn to various products to help them through when they decide to stop using. They may order a drug detox kit online, or purchase detox drinks or supplements from their local pharmacy. There are a number of products on the market that claim to have detoxification benefits and capabilities. The issue is that they generally do not work.

In addition to them not being effective, none of them are approved by the FDA. It is best to steer clear of them and focus on methods that are approved.

Detoxing from drugs at home sounds like a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, it can be dangerous; leading to possible complications, relapse, or even an overdose. The truth is that there is no way to safely detox from drugs at home. It is best to find a professional detoxification facility that can help.

The best way to recover from a methadone addiction is to start with a quality drug detox program. When this is done correctly, it can effectively reduce the severity and the duration of withdrawal. It can also reduce the risk of complications during recovery.

Methadone is actually on the list of drugs that require detox because it is a powerful opioid. It simply is not safe to stop using this drug unless you go through this process first.

Detoxing has many benefits, which you will see in just a few minutes. It is the safest way to recover, and with the newest treatments available, it is also the most effective.

Understanding Methadone Withdrawal

One of the questions people often ask is, why does the body go through withdrawal? It is a great question, and the answer is based on how your body adapts.

Withdrawal is a symptom of addiction. It is also what happens when you stop giving your body what it expects. They are seen all the time in people who stop smoking cigarettes, and even in those who skip their morning cup of coffee.

Likewise, withdrawal happens with any type of addiction, including with methadone. It happens because your body has had time to grow accustomed to you using this drug. It had to reach a new place of homeostasis. When you suddenly stop taking a drug, or you cut down, your body experiences a state of shock. That balance is broken, and then your body has to adjust to compensate for the absence of the drug.

Fortunately, withdrawal does not last forever. It may take some time for the symptoms to subside, but with treatment, they will eventually.

If you are addicted to methadone, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug begins to leave your system. These can be pretty severe and difficult to deal with on your own.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Some examples of common methadone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Cravings for the drug
  • A runny nose
  • Insomnia or other problems with sleeping
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Excessive yawning
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Other flu-like symptoms

Your methadone withdrawal timeline can be separated into three different stages. This is what you might experience during each one.

The Early Stage – You may start to feel symptoms within the first thirty hours after your last dose. You may have cold or flu symptoms, but at first, they should be pretty minor. Over the next few hours, they should become more intense.

What Does the Withdrawal Timeline Look Like?

The Peak Stage – It can take as long as one week to reach the peak of methadone withdrawal. This is because of how long it stays in your system. You may feel very agitated and anxious during this time. You may also have significant abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms until this stage has passed.

The Late Stage – Once two weeks have passed, you should begin to feel much better. Some symptoms may persist, such as insomnia and anxiety. You may still have some cravings for the drug, but they should be better controlled.

Should You Consider Going to Drug Treatment for Your Methadone Addiction?

If you are addicted to methadone, the best place for you to be is in professional treatment. There, you can get the help you need, and you can feel confident that it is effective.

Recovering from an addiction on your own is not only hard; but it is almost impossible. People need the support that they can get from professionals who are experts in the industry. Not only that, but they often need a change of scenery to help them deal with any triggers. There are so many benefits to professional treatment.

If there is any question in your mind that you might be an addict, please consider this option. You will find that you get all the support you need to be successful.

What is Drug Detox?

Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxins from the body. In this case, this refers to toxins from methadone. As we mentioned earlier, it took some time for your body to reach a place of balance with this drug. It will also take some time to regain a new balance once it is gone. Drug detox helps this process along.

What is Drug Detox?

Doctors use a variety of methods with their patients who are detoxing from drugs. Every patient should have a personalized treatment plan that will address their specific needs.

Drug detox should always be done on an inpatient basis; although there are some clinics that offer it on an outpatient basis. When it comes to dangerous drugs like methadone, patients need constant observation. Medical personnel need to be alerted in the event of a problem. Also, if a treatment needs to be adjusted in any way, that can easily be done during inpatient detox.

It is important to understand the possible complications that can occur during opioid withdrawal. Vomiting is a typical withdrawal symptom. But it is possible for people to breath stomach contents into their lungs during the process. When this happens, it is called aspiration, and it can easily lead to a lung infection.

Excessive vomiting and diarrhea can also quickly lead to dehydration. In addition, detoxing with any other method can potentially lead to a relapse and a possible overdose.

As we mentioned earlier, tapering is one method of stopping the use of methadone. While it is not safe for people to taper at home, with the help of a professional, it is extremely safe. In fact, it can greatly reduce the severity of withdrawal and reduce the risk of complications.

When patients are addicted to prescription medications, doctors will often begin with a taper. This allows the patient to take less and less of the drug over time on a strict schedule. Reducing the dose slowly gives the body enough time to acclimate itself. Once the medication has been completely discontinued, withdrawals may be much milder and easier to handle.

Doctors know exactly how to taper their patients off this drug to keep them safe. It works very well, which is why many of the best detox professional use it.

This is a form of medical detox that is being used all over the country. Medication assisted treatment is also known by the acronym, MAT. It involves giving the patient medications that are specifically designed to help with their withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone is also a method of MAT, and it is ironic that another, similar medication is needed to help people stop taking it. There are many different types of medications given to people who need this form of opioid addiction treatment. Some of them include:

Of all of these, Vivitrol is the one that stands out among the rest. Unlike the others, it is not an opioid drug. It has shown to be non-addictive, and it is not possible to abuse it.

Vivitrol is given as a once-monthly injection. It helps with withdrawal symptoms during the next 30 days. During treatment, patients must participate in a therapy program.

Medication assisted treatment works well, but it is not without its issues. There is no drug on the market that can cure addiction. As of this moment, there is no cure; only treatment. When MAT is done properly, the outcome can be good. But patients should not be left on these medications long-term.

The human body is actually its own detoxification system. The kidneys and the liver both work to cleanse the body of toxins and impurities. The problem is that by the time someone gets to drug detox, these organs might not function like they should. This can often be corrected through holistic treatment methods.

Nutrition therapy is often an important part of the healing process during addiction recovery. Patients have the chance to meet with a nutritionist to make sure they are getting all of their vitamins and minerals. This helps their bodies get healthy faster.

In addition to eating the right foods, getting enough exercise is also important. The body also sheds toxins through the pores in the body while people sweat during physical activity. In addition, they experience a rush of endorphins that helps them feel better overall.

Whenever possible, holistic detox and medical detox should be combined. Patients who are addicted to methadone can benefit from both of these forms of treatment.

Drug Rehab for Opioid Addiction

After detox, the next step is to go to drug rehab. This means attending a program to work on the psychological part of your addiction. Many people do not realize that their substance abuse problems have a psychological basis as well as a physical one. They do.

There is a reason for your addiction. You may or may not know what it is at this moment. But the reality is that you started using for some particular reason. It may have been because you were prescribed methadone to help with pain, or to get you off opioids. Or, perhaps your abuse of this drug was completely illegal and recreational. Either way, you need to know why you started.

Once you know why you started using methadone, the healing process can truly begin. That is exactly why going to drug rehab is a step that should not be skipped under any circumstances.

Most people who are addicted to methadone will benefit from attending an inpatient treatment program. There is so much to be gained by taking the time to invest in your recovery with this type of drug rehab.

People who attend an inpatient program often find that they:

  • Are able to rely on the knowledge and experience of professionals to guide them through each step.
  • Can get treatment for the root cause of their addictions.
  • Have the ability to escape their current stressful situations and only focus on recovering.
  • Can learn from other patients as they also go through recovering from addiction.
  • Have the option to travel further away from home to get help if they choose.
  • Can leave a potentially dangerous situation at home.
  • Can often go through detox and rehab in the same facility.

Inpatient programs offer a very high level of care. The best ones can provide patients with all the help they need, based on their own unique circumstances. A tailored program offers patients home that they might not have elsewhere.

A lot of people with methadone addictions are surprised to find out that they actually suffer from co-occurring disorders. This term refers to many different types of mental health issues that can all lead to substance abuse and eventually, addiction. People will often use substances as a way to effectively manage their symptoms. The same is often true for those who use this drug as well.

There are many different co-occurring disorders that people can suffer from. Those who are addicted to methadone may be likely to be diagnosed with the following:

A lot of people who come to treatment have no idea that they have a mental illness. They only knew that they experienced symptoms and that methadone made them go away or less severe. Misusing this drug became a coping mechanism.

Treating a co-occurring disorder is critical for someone with a substance abuse problem. If it is ignored, the individual is likely to go back to using.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

That is exactly why so many addiction treatment programs have started offering dual diagnosis treatment. These programs are designed to help identify co-occurring disorders, and then treat them appropriately. This means treating them alongside the addiction.

At one point in time, this was not the norm at all. Most facilities would detox the patient, and then have them seek mental health treatment right away. It was a problematic method because people never made the connection between their mental illness and their addictions. Dual diagnosis treatment is much different.

With this form of treatment, both conditions are treated together. Staff members are able to talk with one another to make sure they are aware of every aspect of their care. Most of all, the patient is finally able to obtain a proper diagnosis and get the needed help.

Other Options for Methadone Addiction Treatment

Of course, inpatient drug rehab is not the only available option for methadone addiction treatment. There are others as well, and all of them are good. But they are not all appropriate for someone who is new to treatment.

An outpatient rehab is much different from an inpatient program. In this type of treatment, the patient continues to live at home while attending appointments. They usually see a therapist or a psychiatrist during this time. Appointments may be once or twice a week in the beginning, and then get spaced further apart as time goes on.

In the minds of many people with addictions, this form of treatment is ideal. The problem is that someone who is new to treatment needs a lot more support than an OP rehab can offer.

This form of treatment is excellent for those who have already had a higher level of care. It can work very well to help them stay on the right path.

Intensive outpatient programs (or IOPs) are becoming more and more popular as a way to treat addiction. Studies have shown that they can be just as effective as inpatient treatment centers. That fact alone has them rising in popularity.

In this day and age, people are very busy. Many work full-time jobs and they cannot take time off to go to rehab. Others may have families at home that depend on them, or they may be caring for elderly relatives. Regardless, it is difficult to make the commitment to go to an inpatient program.

With IOPs, that commitment is not necessary. These programs allow patients to live at home and come to treatment several times during the week. Appointments are often held during the evening hours, which allows people to continue to work.

Day treatment programs are very similar to IOPs. This can be an excellent option for someone who needs rehab, but needs to live at home.

These programs are held during the day, and the client’s schedule is usually based on their needs. There are those who need to go to treatment for eight hours per day, and those who need only two hours.

This might be a good option for someone who works nights, or who just needs to have appointments during the day. These programs can be very effective when they are done properly.

These programs are also called sober living homes, and they are plentiful all across the United States. Every one is different, but the premise is that they allow people to stay for longer periods of time. There are even those who will remain in long-term treatment for as long as six months.

Some of these programs are residential with case management services. They require residents to obtain their own outpatient treatment. Others may offer drug rehab services in house.

Finally, Narcotics Anonymous is also one way to get help for your methadone addiction. This organization has been helping people recover from substance abuse problems for many years. They do an excellent job, by offering people peer-led and supported groups. This gives members one component of treatment that they need, which is group therapy.

NA can work very well for many people, but it is best utilized during outpatient drug rehab. It is not the best option for someone who is new to treatment.

The Importance of Ongoing Treatment

Recovering from an addiction is very hard, and that is because it truly is a disease. Like other diseases, it needs to be treated on a regular basis.

It might help to think of addiction in the same way that you think of diabetes or cancer. If either of these two is left untreated, the condition only worsens. The same is true for someone who is addicted to methadone.

Sometimes people assume that their need for ongoing treatment means that they will have to attend rehab forever. We want you to know that this is not true at all. There is usually a step-down process that people go through. It helps them to easily re-acclimate to living their lives without drugs.

If you started your treatment on an inpatient basis, you may step-down to an IOP. Afterwards, you may move on to outpatient rehab with a therapist and NA meetings. What matters most is that you continue to get the support you need to remain in recovery.

The Risk of Relapsing and Overdosing on Methadone

As we mentioned earlier, relapsing and overdosing on methadone is a risk when someone quits on their own. They are not equipped with the proper tools and knowledge to deal with their withdrawal symptoms. In a weak moment, they decide to go back to using. They are only trying to get some relief from their symptoms, but they do so at a high cost.

methadone overdose is a medical emergency. If someone sees that another person has overdosed, they need to call 911 right away to get help. The paramedics can offer the medication that is needed to reverse it at the scene.

The symptoms of a methadone overdose include:

  • Small, pinpoint pupils
  • Constipation
  • Stomach spasms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A weak pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion and disorientation
Crack Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Learn More About Methadone Addiction and Recovery

Finding out that you are addicted to methadone can be so shocking. You may not know how to cope, but at Northpoint Washington, we want you to know we are here to help.

We understand the pain and frustration you may be feeling. This may be something you have been dealing with for your entire life. You just did not know how to get through it. The right program is available to help you recover.

Do you have questions about methadone addiction or recovery? Please contact us today.
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