Methadone Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

With decades of clinical research behind it, methadone is the most studied medication available for individuals who are struggling with addictions to opioids. Used in opioid recovery programs since the 1960s, methadone is administered daily and works within a patient’s central nervous system in order to eliminate the painful symptoms of withdrawal and cravings for continued opioid use. Numerous studies have confirmed that when taken as directed under the guidance of a medical professional, methadone is a safe and effective treatment option. Additionally, patients who are taking methadone are not at risk for short- or long-term health risks due to methadone’s non-toxic components.

As with other medications, methadone can cause side effects. However, methadone’s side effects are typically temporary and are noted as taking place during the induction phase of treatment when patients are determining their dosage level. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, methadone is a safe treatment option for pregnant women, as it does not pose any detrimental risks to either the mother or her child.

As is the case with most medications, methadone does carry risks if it is taken in a way other than its intended. Overdosing on methadone is a risk for individuals who consume this substance for recreational purposes. In fact, one-third of all prescription medication overdose fatalities that take place each year are directly linked to methadone use. These deaths, however, are associated with illegal use of methadone and are not due to methadone use within medication assisted treatment. When taken as directed and under the supervision of a trained medical professional, methadone is extremely safe.

The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment

With decades of clinical research behind it, methadone is noted as being one of the safest treatment options for individuals who are struggling with addictions to opioids. According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), methadone is the most effective form of treatment available today.

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also notes that numerous studies have concluded the following successes directly linked with treatment that includes the use of methadone:

  • Reduction or total cessation of opioid use
  • Decreased risk of overdose
  • Lowered chances of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Increase in life expectancy
  • Lower likelihood of taking part in criminal activities
  • Improved family relationships and employment potential
  • Increased outcomes for pregnant women and their babies

When taken as directed and under the guidance of a trained medical professional, methadone is an extremely safe and effective treatment option.

Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling

While methadone eliminates the physical symptoms of withdrawal, it also provides patients with the mental clarity that is required in order to productively play a role in their recovery. When engaged in a comprehensive treatment program, patients receive treatment for both the physical as well as the psychological components of their addiction. By pairing the use of methadone with therapeutic interventions, such as individual and group therapy, patients are able to address the underlying emotional factors that may have contributed to their addiction in the first place.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Although methadone is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals who are struggling with opioid addictions, it also must be noted that it is not a cure-all for addiction. Lasting recovery takes patience, effort, dedication, and time. When taking part in a medication assisted treatment program, you must be an active participant in treatment. Adhering to recommendations given to you by your treatment providers and fully participating in therapeutic interventions will allow you to reap the most benefits from your care. It is also important to remember that there could be setbacks along the way. Should you run into an obstacle during your recovery, it is imperative that you remain hopeful and communicate any concerns you are having to your treatment providers.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Before you are able to provide your loved one with the support that he or she requires in order to successfully overcome an addiction to opioids, you must first take care of yourself. Because addiction affects everyone that it touches, your life has been undoubtedly impacted as well. By consulting with the experts at Anchorage Treatment Solutions, you will be provided with the information necessary to help your loved one throughout his or her journey to recovery. Taking part in individual counseling and family support groups can be excellent ways in which to obtain the support, education, and guidance needed to understand the complexities of addiction. By taking care of your needs, you can provide your loved one with the support, love, and reassurance that is beneficial for long-term recovery.

The Side Effects of Methadone

The following are side effects that have been linked to the use of methadone:

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

For more information about the effects of methadone and more information about our medication assisted treatment, please contact Anchorage Treatment Solutions today.

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