What is methadone treatment?

Just the Facts: Benefits and Risks of Methadone Therapy

methadone therapy facts

Every day in the United States, over 130 people die from an opioid overdose. Opioid addiction in the United States also costs the American people more than $78.5 billion every year.

Clearly, opioid addiction is a serious issue in this country. If you’re struggling with addiction right now, there is good news. There are treatment options available that can help you overcome your addiction. One of the best treatment options is methadone therapy.

Read on to learn more about the benefits and risks of methadone therapy.

What Is Methadone Therapy?

Methadone therapy is a comprehensive treatment program. It involves the long-term prescription and use of the drug, methadone, by a licensed physician.

Methadone is an opioid agonist. It is often prescribed as a treatment tool for individuals who suffer from opioid addiction.

Methadone helps to suppress cravings for opioids and minimizes the withdrawal symptoms one experiences when they stop consuming opioid drugs.

When it’s consumed in the proper dose, methadone does not induce intoxication — it does not sedate the user or cause feelings of euphoria.

Benefits of Methadone Therapy

There are a number of benefits that come from using methadone to manage opioid addiction. Some of the greatest benefits of this therapy include:

Safety and Efficacy

As long as it’s taken in the proper dose and prescribed by a licensed physician, methadone is considered to be a safe drug for individuals attempting to overcome opioid addiction.

Methadone has also been shown to do a great job at keeping opiate addicts from returning to the use of heroin and other opioids.

Methadone does a great job of providing relief from withdrawal symptoms and makes it easier for addicts to get clean and move on with their lives.


Methadone treatment is certainly not the only treatment option out there available for people who suffer from opioid addiction. However, it is one of the most affordable options.

If you cannot afford an in-patient treatment center or another treatment program, methadone treatment can be a more cost-effective approach that will still help you experience the benefits you need.

Improved Health

Methadone treatment gives you an opportunity to improve your overall health. As you probably know, opioid abuse can wreak havoc on an individual’s physical health.

Some of the health risks associated with long-term opioid abuse include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory issues
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Heart problems
  • Acid reflux and gastrointestinal disorders
  • Organ Damage

When you use methadone to help you stop using opioids, you can restore your health and will likely find that you feel a lot better than you did before.


Methadone is totally legal to use as long as you have a prescription from a licensed physician. You have every right to use methadone to control your symptoms and help yourself get clean.

Access to Other Resources

When you seek out treatment from a methadone clinic, you will also have access to other resources that will help you get clean and stay clean.

Employees at these clinics can help you to find affordable counseling, support groups, and a variety of other helpful resources.

Risks of Methadone Therapy

Of course, there are also some risks that come with methadone therapy. Some of the risks include:

Addiction Potential

Methadone does not have the same effects as opioid drugs.

It does not cause feelings of euphoria or sedate the user, as long as it’s being consumed in the proper dose. At the same time, though, because it is an opioid agonist, it can be habit-forming and it does have the potential to be abused.

It’s important to make sure you’re following your doctor’s guidelines carefully when you take methadone in order to avoid its habit-forming side effects.


Because methadone is habit-forming, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.

The withdrawal symptoms associated with methadone are not as severe as the withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin and other opioids. They can be serious, though, and negatively affect the quality of your life.

What to Expect from Methadone Therapy

If you are considering using methadone therapy to overcome opioid addiction, you might be wondering what the therapy will be like. It’s different for every person, but it usually goes something like this:

  • Methadone is administered by a team of medical professionals
  • Care is tailored to each individual’s unique needs
  • Every methadone treatment protocol lasts for a unique length of time depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction and other needs
  • Methadone therapy includes other treatment options, including help finding therapy and help to find a job
  • Your doctor will adjust your methadone prescription on a regular basis to help you taper off of it safely

While you are undergoing methadone therapy, it’s important to avoid consuming alcohol. You should also use caution when you are driving or operating heavy machinery.

Choosing a Methadone Clinic

If you’re interested in using methadone to help you overcome your opioid addiction, these tips can help you find the right one:

  • Get recommendations from friends or family members
  • Read online reviews for clinics in your area
  • Talk to your insurance provider to see if they will help cover the cost of your treatment
  • Find a facility that you feel comfortable visiting
  • Make sure you feel comfortable interacting with the staff members
  • Look for a facility that is clean and appears to be well-maintained

You may also be able to find a clinic that specializes in catering to addicts who are part of a specific demographic. Some clinics cater to specific genders or those who belong to a certain religion.

Find a Methadone Program Today

Now that you know more about the benefits and risks of methadone therapy, are you interested in giving it a try?

Methadone therapy can be a very powerful tool for individuals struggling with an addiction to opioids.

In order to experience the benefits, though, you need to make sure you choose the right program. Keep these guidelines in mind so you can find the best program for your needs.

If you need help finding a methadone program, we have lots of resources available to you on our website. No matter where you live, we can help you find a program in your state.

Check out our other methadone treatment articles, too. You’ll find lots of other helpful information here that you can use to find the best treatment for your needs.

About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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