Methadone Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Prescribed within opiate recovery programs since the 1960s, methadone has decades of numerous clinical research studies behind it to verify its safety and effectiveness in treating opioid addiction. In comparison to other medications utilized within opioid addiction treatment programs, none have been studied more closely than methadone. Given daily in the form of a dissolvable tablet or a liquid solution, methadone works in collaboration with the patient’s central nervous system by averting the symptoms associated with withdrawal as well as cravings for additional opioids.

Numerous studies have verified that, when taken as directed under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, methadone does not present patients with any notable long- or short-term health risks due to methadone’s non-toxic nature. Medical experts advise that any side effects that may take place typically do so during the induction phase of treatment when appropriate dosage levels are being determined.

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), methadone is a safe option for pregnant women who are struggling with an addiction to opioids. Incorporating methadone into treatment does not cause any harmful health risks to either the mother or her child.

As is the case with any medication, there are risks involved with methadone if taken in a way other than what is directed by the prescribing medical professional. Overdosing on methadone is a risk for individuals who abuse it for purposes other than its original intended use. While methadone overdoses are the cause of one-third of all prescription medication related deaths every year, it is important to note that these deaths are directly related to the illegal abuse of methadone and are not related to the use of methadone within a medication assisted treatment program.

When taken as prescribed under the guidance of a qualified medical professional as part of a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program, methadone is an extremely safe and effective option for those struggling with addictions to opioids.

The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment

According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment that utilizes methadone as a treatment option for opioid addiction is the most effective method of treatment available today.

Additionally, the CDC reports that numerous studies have verified the following achievements directly related with methadone maintenance treatment:

  • Lowering or ceasing opioid abuse
  • Lessening the chances of overdose
  • Decreasing the risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS
  • Drastically increasing life expectancy (the average rate of death amongst opioid addicts who take part in methadone treatment is 30 percent less than those who do not receive treatment)
  • Lower chances of taking part in criminal activity
  • An improvement in family relationships and career potential
  • Better outcomes for both pregnant women and their babies

When taken as directed within a medication assisted treatment program, methadone is an effective and safe treatment option to help men and women overcome addictions to opioids.

Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling

While methadone alleviates the physical symptoms of withdrawal and cravings for additional opioids, patients must also obtain treatment for the emotional components of addiction as well. By utilizing counseling services within a medication assisted treatment program, patients are given the opportunity to discuss and tackle the underlying causes that may have aided in the development of their addictions in the first place.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Although methadone has been clinically proven to aid in the treatment of opioid addiction, it is imperative for patients to understand that it is not a “cure all.” Since no singular medication or treatment can quickly cure patients of their addictions to opioids, patients must understand that a combination of time, dedication, and work is required on their end in order to successfully achieve long-term recovery. By taking part in a medication assisted treatment program, patients are given the opportunity to team up with a group of highly trained physicians, nurses, and counselors in order to obtain the highest quality care available. By following their advice, while also playing an active role in treatment, patients are able to drastically increase their chances of long-term recovery.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: In order to provide your loved one with the highest level of support during his or her treatment, you must first take care of your own needs. Addiction impacts everyone associated with it, not just the individual who is physically abusing the substance. By consulting with experts within a medication assisted treatment program, you will be able to gain the resources and support required to provide the highest quality of care and support to your loved one. Through educating yourself about addiction, understanding the benefits as well as the limitations of treatment, and learning what your loved one will need from you throughout his or her journey to recovery, both you and your loved one are able to reap the benefits of you taking those actions. Taking part in family therapy as well as support groups that are specific for loved ones of receiving addicts will also provide you with the support and assistance you will require to move forward. Remember, in order to provide support for your loved one, you must also take care of your needs as well.

The Side Effects of Methadone

The following are the potential side effects associated with the use of methadone:

  • Dry mouth
  • Skin rashes
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Slowed breathing

Please contact Claymont Comprehensive Treatment Center today to learn more about methadone as well as the other treatment options available to help you or someone you love overcome an addiction to opioids.

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