Many people use methadone as one of the drugs that can help them overcome their opioid use disorders. If you have been diagnosed with this type of substance abuse and addiction and you have a prescription for methadone, it is advised that you take it exactly as your addiction treatment professionals prescribed it. You should also combine it with therapy and counseling to ensure that it helps you overcome your opioid abuse and addiction. By so doing, the drug could potentially prove useful in increasing your chances of remaining in treatment as well as reducing your risk of relapse.

Understanding Methadone

Methadone is available as a liquid drug that is administered in various addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs, as well as at methadone clinics. However, the drug can also be found in both tablet and powder forms.

Due to the fact that the drug can also be addictive and habit forming, you should only consume it under the close supervision and direction of an addiction treatment professional or a physician.

That said, methadone is a synthetic or man-made opioid. It is effective because it can weaken and deal with the withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings that occur when you are addicted to opioids such as prescription medications and heroin.

The NSSATS - the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services - reported that the total number of people who received this medication while enrolled in a certified opioid addiction treatment program increased to 345,000 in 2016 from about 258,000 in 2006. In 2016 also, over 1200 addiction treatment programs in the United States were prescribing methadone to their patients.

Although methadone is effective in the management of other opioid use disorders, it can also cause relaxation and euphoria if you abuse it. If you continue doing so frequently and in the long term, you become addicted to and dependent on it.

However, this drug is classified as a long acting opioid. This effectively means that it would typically take a couple of hours before you can experience its full effects. Even so, this is also to say that the effects will end up lasting for long - up to about 36 hours in total.

If you have an opioid use disorder and have been abusing opioids for their pleasurable effects, you may find that you have reached a point where you now prefer substances that act faster - examples include drugs like oxycodone.

The pleasurable effects of methadone act different than those you can derive from other opioids. This is because this drug cannot cause you to experience the sudden pleasurable rush that you would get from another opioid.

Even so, there is still a possibility that you could become addicted to this medication if you continue abusing it for long. It is for this reason that you might find yourself seeking out prescriptions for methadone once you realize that it is harder for you to access other opioids, such as heroin.

If you continue taking methadone irregularly and you are not enrolled in a professional addiction treatment program, it might be increasingly difficult for you to overcome your existing or growing opioid use disorder.

You should only take methadone exactly as your doctor prescribed for this medication to be effective. For instance, you might only use the drug in the short term to help temporarily avoid going through opioid withdrawal.

However, after taking the drug you might end up realizing that it can help you recovery from your opioid use disorder. This is why you may choose to continue using methadone through a professional treatment program. By so doing, you could potentially be able to taper off opioids and go back to your normal life.

More on Methadone Maintenance Therapy

If you have an opioid use disorder, you might continue taking your preferred drugs because you fear the adverse withdrawal symptoms that are most likely going to occur if you stop using these drugs.

Withdrawing from opioids will typically last for a couple of days. During this time, you will most likely experience a wide variety of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include but are not limited to insomnia, muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea, and intense sweating.

To be able to overcome your opioid use disorder and dependence, you need to stop using opioids. One of the most effective ways to do this would be to simply quit cold turkey. Even so, this method is not easy. In fact, it could prove to be risky due to the adverse withdrawal symptoms that you are most likely going to experience.

It is for this reason that you should only try to overcome your addiction to opioids after enrolling in a medically managed detox program. Through such a program, you will slowly reduce the amounts of opioids that you take at any given time. However, some programs might put you on methadone maintenance therapy.

This type of therapy will replace all the opioids that you were taking with methadone. This is because the drug is less prone to substance abuse and addiction. It is also long acting and will last much longer than any other opioid that you might have been taking - anywhere between 4 and 12 hours.

While in a methadone maintenance program, you will get a dose of this drug once every day for a minimum of one year. However, you might still continue getting your doses for longer than one year.

Methadone therapy is quite effective, especially going by the review of the 52 studies that the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment published in 2005. It is for this reason that many addiction treatment programs and methadone clinics use this drug to help their patients who are struggling with opioid abuse and addiction.

Getting Help

If you are ready to overcome your opioid use disorder involving either illicit opioids like heroin or legal substances like prescription opioids, it is recommended that you enroll in an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program that can help you deal with your addiction. More often than not, you will be put on methadone replacement and maintenance therapy. In the long term, methadone might prove useful in helping you end your addiction. This is particularly true if you combine your methadone prescription with various other therapies and counseling services.


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