Methadone is a medication prescribed to people fighting addictions such as heroin, as well as to relieve server pain that non-narcotic pain relievers can not relieve. Most do not think that something used to treat such a terrible addiction can in itself create a new addiction to fight. Prescribing Methadone for addiction treatment is a very controversial choice; for some methadone saves them from the unbearable withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings associated with heroin and allows them to kick the habit, but for those opposed to prescribing methadone as a treatment method see the use of this drug as treading one type of addiction for another. When methadone is used to treat heroin addiction it is used for years after use, just as with other drugs a tolerance can develop and a dependence, addiction, occurs. Some Doctors believe that the benefits out way the risks and choose to use methadone as a treatment method and have many patients who do not become addicted but for those patients who do develop an addiction the assistance of a Methadone Addiction Treatment Facility is necessary to stop its use successfully.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic opiate used in the treatment of addiction to opioid drugs such as Heroin, Vicondin, Oxycontin, and Percocet. It is also is used to relieve moderate to severe pain that has not been relieved by non-narcotic pain relievers. Methadone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. Methadone changes the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain and produces similar effects as opiate drugs acting as a substitute, preventing withdrawal symptoms in people who have stopped using these drugs. Yes, Methadone is a great from of treatment for pain and drug addiction but it can also be habit-forming creating a whole new addiction problem.
- Abdominal Pain
- Cognitive functions becomes impaired.
- Decreases in body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and respiration.
- Difficulty urinating
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Decreased sexual desire or ability
- Increased sweating
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Lowered sex drive
- Mood changes
- Skin rashes
- Sore muscles and joints
- Swelling of the hands, arms, feet, and legs
- Tooth decay
- Vision problems
Regular, long term use of Methadone often results in a physical dependence to the drug. Methadone works on the pleasure centers in the brain and produces a feeling of well-being, contentment, drowsiness and warmth. The feeling of well-being produced maybe tempting to someone already fighting an addiction and they begin to abuse the drug as a substitution. It starts with the body developing a tolerance, requiring more of the drug to reach the desired effects. The more of the drug used and the more often it is abused leads to addiction. The user is unable to function properly without the drug and experiences uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to stop using. These symptoms may last for between four and six weeks and include;
- Teary eyes
- Runny nose
- Excessive yawning
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle Pain
Methadone Addiction Treatment
Methadone addiction can be overwhelming and often requires the assistance of a treatment facility to stop using successfully. An assessment process will be given by a medical professional at the treatment facility to determine the appropriate course of treatment. There are typically two treatment options available for methadone addiction;
- Outpatient, the addict is gradually weened off Methadone under the supervision of a medical professional. The addict may still experience a number of withdrawal symptoms but with the support of staff, family and friends the reassurance the the discomfort soon will pass helps keep the addict on track. As well as receiving counseling in both individual and group settings. Here the addict will get to the cause of there addiction and be taught the key tools in remaining sober.
- Inpatient, the addict goes through a rapid detoxification processes under medical supervision in a hospital. The addict will be put into a medically induced coma as well as given medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. This in combination with counseling that will help the user gain the tools they need to maintain their sobriety.
Typically Methadone Addiction Treatment lasts at least 90 days in order to have the best success rate. Counseling is a key role in the recovery process by providing the addict new ways of dealing with life stresses and the circumstances that in the past made them want to use. Leaving the program and going home into a sober living situation is necessary to help a methadone addict maintain their sobriety and make a successful transition back into the “real world”.