Opioid Addiction and Methadone as a Treatment Option

Methadone Clinics: 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Treatment

methadone clinics

If you or a loved one struggle with opioid addiction, methadone treatment may be the right option for you.

Methadone treatments have a very high success rate (60-90 percent). This is especially significant when compared to other, non-drug treatment modalities, which have only a 5-10 percent success rate.

Before you start looking for methadone clinics near you, it’s important to fully understand what it entails. Many people don’t do their research beforehand and have a harder time sticking to the program because they didn’t know what to expect going in.

To increase your chances of success, read on to learn about some of the most important (but under-shared) things you need to know about methadone clinics and methadone treatment.

What is Methadone Treatment?

Before getting into specifics about methadone treatment and clinics, it’s important to understand exactly what methadone treatment is.

Methadone is a drug that has been used for years to help fight opioid addiction.

Methadone is a narcotic, but it has a different effect on the brain than other addictive drugs.

Methadone actually “unplugs” the opioid receptors. As a result, it stops symptoms of withdrawal and helps recovering addicts resist cravings.

This drug is highly effective when it is used under a licensed physician’s supervision. In fact, more than 100,000 Americans currently use methadone to help them maintain their sobriety.

What You Need to Know About Methadone Treatment

There are a lot of things that people don’t understand about methadone and methadone treatment. Listed below are ten important facts to know before you seek out this type of treatment or recommend it to a loved one who’s struggling with addiction.

1. Clinics Offer Comprehensive Treatment

Many people don’t realize how comprehensive methadone clinics are. It’s not just about prescribing someone a drug and leaving them to their own devices.

Clinics offer a variety of additional rehabilitation treatments, including:

  • Counseling, both in individual and group settings
  • Vocational counseling
  • Resocialization opportunities
  • Medical treatment
  • Additional counseling for specific mental health disorders
  • Education and housing help
  • Aftercare transitional assistance
  • HIV care and prevention

Clinics offer a well-rounded approach to help addicts enter recovery and get on track to start improving their lives for good.

2. Methadone Treatment Does Not Cause Euphoria

Because it is a narcotic, some people believe that methadone is no different from other habit-forming drugs. This simply is not the case, though.

It’s important to note that methadone does not cause a feeling of euphoria when it’s taken in therapeutic doses.

Methadone is dispensed at a clinic in a very controlled amount at the beginning, so there’s virtually no risk of an individual receiving too much of it.

Methadone allows individuals to participate normally in society without any kind of “high” feeling.

3. Dosages are Individualized

It’s important to work with a methadone clinic when using it to get off of opioids. One reason for this is that, at most clinics, each person receives an individualized dosage that is right for their needs.

That dosage is calculated based on several factors, including how high their dose was when they were abusing drugs and the specific dosage that allows them to see the best results.

4. Methadone Treatment is Very Cost-Effective

The opioid epidemic is costing the United States $1 trillion, and that cost is only expected to go up.

Methadone treatment is an economical solution — both for patients and the country as a whole — that will help reduce costs across the board.

5. Methadone Treatment is Long-Lasting

On average, a methadone dosage lasts between 24 and 36 hours. This helps individuals who are taking it maintain some semblance of normalcy since they’re able to go longer stretches without having to visit a clinic for their next dose.

6. Methadone is Safe for Pregnant Women

Methadone treatment has been deemed safe for pregnant women. It also improves pregnancy outcomes. Babies who are born dependent on the drug are usually able to grow without permanent side effects when they’re monitored by a qualified physician.

7. Methadone Has Been Used for Almost 70 Years

Methadone has been around for a long time. The drug was first introduced in the 1960s, and it has helped millions of people change their lives for the better.

8. Methadone Reduces the Risk of a Fatal Overdose

For many people, relapse is part of the recovery process. Methadone helps addicts who relapse avoid fatal overdoses. In fact, the risk of drug poisoning mortality goes down by 75 percent in people who use methadone.

This is because methadone helps people maintain their tolerance to other opioids. This is helpful because, in the event that they do relapse, they receive less of a shock than they would if they had gone cold turkey.

9. Methadone Treatment is Not the Same as Addiction

Some people believe that methadone treatment isn’t an addiction treatment at all. This is because they see the use of methadone as simply trading one addiction for another.

This belief stems, in part, from the fact that some people have to stay on methadone for years or even the duration of their life.

In reality, though, methadone treatment is not the same as an addiction.

When methadone is taken in proper doses, it does not cause harmful consequences that are the same as those brought on by addiction. People who receive treatment are able to live their lives normally and contribute to society.

10. Methadone Clinics Can Improve Family Stability

Finally, working with a methadone clinic and beginning methadone treatment can be instrumental in helping families and friends reconnect.

Addiction can be incredibly isolating, but having the support of loved ones makes a major difference in a person’s chances of recovery.

Since clinics often offer family and group therapy options, addicts and their loved ones can make amends and develop new and healthier relationships.

Want to Learn More?

Do you want more information on methadone clinics and methadone treatment? Are you still on the fence about whether or not this is the right approach for you?

If so, check out our methadone treatment blog posts today for more resources to help you make an informed decision about how to navigate the recovery process.

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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