Methadone Abuse and Treatment
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What is Methadone used for?
Methadone is an interesting substance as doctors can not only use it to treat addictions, but some may also illegally misuse it and become addicted to the drug itself.
A schedule 2 controlled medication, in its legal form, Methadone is most commonly used for treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).
According to MedlinePlus’ Methadone page, “Methadone works to treat pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.
It works to treat people who were addicted to opiate drugs by producing similar effects and preventing withdrawal symptoms in people who have stopped using these drugs.”
Doctors have used it for many years to help patients beat addictions, specifically to heroin or narcotics.
Simply put, Methadone is known for reducing opioid cravings and withdrawal by blocking its effects.
With a recommended dose taken once a day, it is available in various forms such as liquid, tablets, powder, and diskettes.
Doctors will usually prescribe Methadone as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and participation in social support programs.
This drug was previously thought to help recovering users sustain long-term success and to reclaim the lives they once had or planned to have.
However, in recent years, some physicians have tried to distance themselves from this form of treatment as it can have more negative outcomes than positive, such as the risk of developed dependence or addiction as discussed previously.
How and why will I receive Methadone?
Some doctors prescribe Methadone for pain relief.
As it does not act as quickly as some other opioid pain relievers, it is typically used to relieve pain after surgery.
However, it is now most commonly used as part of an addiction treatment plan.
Used for “replacement therapy,” Methadone can dull cravings for your drug addiction.
So if we feel it will be a safe and effective addition to your drug addiction recovery, we will discuss prescribing it to you.
If you are receiving Methadone to treat OUD, you must originally take it under medical supervision.
After proven stability on the drug, we may allow taking methadone at-home between visits with us.
Also, how long you will receive Methadone treatment will be dependent on your unique situation.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s research “How long does drug addiction treatment usually last?”, the length of Methadone treatment should be a minimum of 12 months.
However, keep in mind you may need long-term treatment depending on what dependency we are trying to stop.
How can I safely take Methadone?
The World Health Organization has listed Methadone on its “List of Essential Medicines” because of the safe way in which doctors administer it as well as its effectiveness in treating drug dependency. Methadone is safe and typically effective when you take it legally and according to your prescription. This is because if we prescribe it, we tailor any Methadone medication to the individual patient. That’s also why it is incredibly important that you share your complete health history with us so we can ensure the safest use of Methadone. Any other medications you are currently taking can interact with the Methadone and cause heart conditions. Lastly, you can unintentionally overdose if you do not take methadone as we prescribe.
The following tips can help achieve the best treatment results and ensure the safety of others:
- Never use more than your prescription states
- Don’t drink alcohol while taking Methadone
- Don’t share Methadone with anyone else
- Practice careful driving when on Methadone
What are the effects of Methadone?
First and foremost, always remember that Methadone is a drug. That means you need to monitor the effects of it when/ if you are taking it. Always take any side effects you may experience from taking Methadone seriously as they can be severe and deadly. Be sure to specifically pay attention to these potentially harmful side effects:
- Difficulty breathing or shallow breathing
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Hives or a rash
- Hallucinations or confusion
The continual use or misuse of Methadone can also have damaging long-term effects if you are not careful, so be sure to research these before adding it to your recovery regimen.
What is Methadone addiction?
Unfortunately, Methadone can have a completely opposing effect than what it is originally supposed to treat. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)’s “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings,” since Methadone is an opioid, it is addictive. However, Methadone addiction has yet to become extremely prevalent. But, as administering Methadone to treat dependence and pain continues to be a common practice, addiction is likely to rise in tandem. The increased availability of the drug is already resulting in the illegal use of it, and the resulting high is drawing more to abuse it.
It’s not only the illegal use of Methadone that continues to draw concern in the medical community. With any prescription drug, you run the risk of dependence and, in turn, addiction, when taking Methadone legally. That’s why it is so important to follow your dosage if we prescribe it to you. Because Methadone is a long-acting drug, taking more than your prescribed dose can very easily lead to an overdose.
How is Methadone related to mental illness?
It is not only the physical side effects and symptoms you should pay attention to when it comes to taking Methadone. It is very likely that if you are struggling with Methadone dependency or addiction, you may also have an existing mental illness or disorder such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or another mental health condition. Drugs such as Methadone also have the tendency to further exacerbate such conditions. So as we address your Methadone addiction, we will also work on addressing any underlying mental health disorders that you may be experiencing so we can better ensure a long-term recovery.
How do you treat Methadone addiction?
As we suggest with the dependence or abuse of any opioid, we will start you off with a medically supervised detoxification program. Depending on your dependency we may ween, or taper, you off to decrease uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Following detox we will discuss what treatment program and plan is right for you based on your specific addiction and lifestyle.
We offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. After detox we will examine your dependency or addiction and determine which is best for your recovery. We will also give you an overview of our various treatment plans and how they can benefit you specifically.
Lastly, we are committed to not only your rehabilitation when with us, but also your long-term recovery. We encourage you to research our Intensive Outpatient Program to see how we designed it to help you remain healthy and drug-free.
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At Resurgence Behavioral Health in Orange County, California,
we are here to help and support you through finding your truest self while leaving your most destructive self behind.
We are more than happy to discuss how and why we may safely prescribe you Methadone to aid your recovery journey.
We also understand what it takes to get you through your Methadone withdrawal and the emotional and psychological support you’ll need from us to become your best self.
Please contact us today with questions or concerns.