How It Works and Is It Safe?
Prescribed in opiate recovery programs since the 1960s, methadone has decades of clinical research behind it to confirm its safety and effectiveness. In comparison to all other medications prescribed for the treatment of opioid addiction, none have more research behind them than methadone. Given daily in the form of a dissolvable tablet or liquid solution, methadone works in a patient’s central nervous system to lower cravings for continued opioid use while decreasing the symptoms that often accompany withdrawal.
Numerous studies have confirmed that methadone does not pose any notable short- or long-term health risks when taken under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional due to its non-toxic nature. Most side effects have been noted as being temporary and typically only take place during the induction phase of treatment when patients are working closely with their healthcare providers in order to determine the appropriate dosage of methadone for their individualized needs.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, methadone is a safe option for pregnant women who are struggling with an opioid addiction as well as their unborn babies, as no detrimental health risks are likely to occur.
As is the case with most medications, there are risks involved if methadone is taken in a way other than its intended use. Overdosing on methadone is a reality for individuals who abuse it for recreational purposes, especially when they are also abusing other substances. Overdosing on methadone accounts for one-third of all deaths related to prescription medications every year. It is, however, important to note that these deaths were directly linked to illegal use of methadone and not to the use of the substance within a licensed medication assisted treatment program. When taken as prescribed under the supervision of a qualified medical professional, methadone is an extremely safe option to aid in putting an end to an opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment programs that include the use of methadone for treating opioid addiction are currently the most effective treatment option available. Decades of data confirm methadone’s safety and effectiveness when used to treat an addiction to opioids.
The CDC has also noted that numerous studies have concluded that the following successes can be directly linked with the use of methadone within a medication assisted treatment program:
- Lowering or ceasing the use of opioids
- Decreasing the chances of overdosing
- Reducing the chance of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS
- Drastically increasing the average life expectancy (overall, the death rate of addicts who take part in a treatment that utilizes methadone is 30% lower in comparison to those who did not receive this form of treatment)
- Lower chances of taking part in illegal activity
- An improvement in family stability, as well as the potential to obtain and maintain a career
- Increased positive outcomes for both pregnant women and their babies
When taken as directed within a licensed medication assisted treatment program, such as that which is offered at Cartersville Comprehensive Treatment Center, methadone is an extremely safe and effective treatment option.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
Methadone is just one piece of the treatment puzzle. While methadone is prescribed to alleviate the physical symptoms associated with the process of withdrawal while also keeping cravings for additional opioid use at bay, patients must also receive treatment for the psychological components of addiction and recovery as well. By taking part in both individual and group counseling sessions, patients are provided with the opportunity to address and treat the underlying causes of their addiction.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Although methadone has been proven to be a safe and effective method in aiding in the recovery process from an opioid addiction, it is important to remember that there is no single cure for addiction. The process of recovery takes time, effort, and dedication on the part of the individual who is seeking treatment. By teaming up with the physicians, nurses, and counselors at Cartersville Comprehensive Treatment Center, patients are provided with the support, guidance, and information required to achieve long-lasting recovery.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: In order to provide the support necessary to someone who is enrolled in a medication assisted treatment program, you must first obtain support for yourself. Addiction impacts all who are involved, not just the individual who is physically abusing a substance. By working with the professionals at Cartersville Comprehensive Treatment Center, you will be guided in the appropriate direction in order to receive the education, information, and support necessary for your own healing. By learning more about the disease of addiction, you will be able to understand the limitations of treatment in order to understand what is required of you from your loved one as he or she progresses in programming. Taking part in family therapy, support groups, and individual counseling are wonderful sources of support and encouragement for you to obtain as your loved one receives treatment as well.
The Side Effects of Methadone
The following have been reported as potential side effects due to methadone use:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Slowed breathing
- Skin rashes
For more information regarding methadone, as well as the other treatment options available through Cartersville Comprehensive Treatment Center, please contact our knowledgeable intake experts today.