How It Works and Is It Safe?
Out of the many medications that are utilized by medication assisted treatment programs for the treatment of addiction, none have been more widely reviewed than methadone. This medication, supplied in either a dissolvable tablet or liquid solution, is taken daily and is capable of impacting an individual’s central nervous system in ways that block the onset of withdrawal symptoms and decrease cravings for continued use. Methadone has been used to treat opioid addictions in recovery programs for over 50 years, and extensive amounts of research back its safety and effectiveness.
Numerous studies have shown that when methadone is taken as prescribed by a licensed treatment provider, it does not cause any short- or long-term health concerns. Professionals who have studied methadone also note that it is non-toxic and medically safe for use. These professionals also stated that the side effects linked to methadone use are often temporary, and typically only develop during the induction phase of treatment, when a patient and his or her provider are working to establish an appropriate dose.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) has confirmed pregnant women who are grappling with an addiction to opioids can safely use methadone. The DHSS also found that monitored methadone use during pregnancy does not cause any harm to the mother or her baby.
However, as with any other medication, methadone can pose a number of dangers if it is used in ways outside of what a medical professional recommends. Methadone overdose is a big risk for those who abuse it recreationally, especially when it is abused with other medications or substances. Methadone overdose makes up one-third of all prescription medication deaths each year. However, please be advised that these deaths are strictly related to those who abuse methadone, not those who are taking it within a certified medication assisted treatment program.
When taken as directed and under the monitoring of a professional treatment provider, methadone is safe to use.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
Due to years of research and collected data, experts are confident in stating that while methadone is not only safe to use, it is also highly effective in the treatment of opioid addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most effective form of care available today for those who are struggling with opioid addiction is methadone treatment.
In addition to methadone being a cost-effective means of treating opioid addiction, the CDC also backs numerous studies that have reported the following successes linked to the use of methadone within a medication assisted treatment program:
- Improved family stability and employment potential
- Better outcomes for pregnant women and their babies
- Decreased risk of overdose
- Reduced or complete cessation of drug use
- Improved life expectancy (those who participate in a medication assisted treatment program that offers methadone have a 30% higher life expectancy than those who do not)
- Smaller chances of engaging in criminal activity
- Decreased odds of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV/AIDS
When methadone is utilized as a part of a licensed medication assisted treatment program, it is effective in treating opioid addiction.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
Methadone is only one aspect of a complete treatment plan. This medication is effective in reducing cravings for opioids and withdrawal symptoms, which helps patients obtain the mental wherewithal to actively engage in the therapeutic elements of their program. In other words, methadone is capable of controlling the physical aspects of opioid addiction, while therapy works to address the hidden issues behind an individual’s addiction development.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Methadone is cleared for both its safety and effectiveness. As a result, it is imperative that patients understand that this medication is not a cure-all for addiction. There is not a single medication that can address all areas of an individual’s issues surrounding addiction. In order to obtain a healthy life, time, dedication, and effort are required to make treatment work. When you begin a medication assisted treatment program, you will engage in a partnership with nurses, counselors, and doctors who are trained in aiding individuals in recovery rather than staying in the dangerous cycle of addiction. By following their directions, listening to their advice, and actively partaking in your treatment, you can dramatically increase the chances that your time spent in treatment will help you establish long-lasting recovery.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The first rule of being supportive to a loved one in treatment is that you effectively care for yourself. Your loved one’s life has been impacted negatively by his or her opioid addiction, however it is important to recognize that your life has also been impacted. To be able to supply the most support possible to your loved one, work with his or her treatment provider or other professionals who can connect you to the resources and support that you will need at this time. Obtain as much information about the disease of addiction, learn what the benefits and limitations of treatment are, and find out what your loved one will need from you throughout the entire process of treatment and recovery. Seek out family therapy and support groups to help yourself at this time, as well as individual therapy. Make it a priority to care for yourself so you can support your loved one.
The Side Effects of Methadone
Below are the many possible side effects connected to methadone use:
- Slowed breathing
- Sleep problems
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Skin rashes
For more detailed information about the side effects of methadone use, as well as to find out how this medication might impact you, contact Northeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers right now.