There are many myths and rumors about methadone maintenance treatment. Some people believe that methadone maintenance treatment is a harmful way to treat chronic pain and addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are numerous ways that methadone maintenance treatment helps both chronic pain patients and addicts recover. It is a valuable treatment when people use it properly and in an appropriate setting.
1. Methadone Stops the Withdrawal Symptoms
Methadone imitates the way opiates work in the body. This helps stop the withdrawal symptoms you might experience. Methadone was used as a treatment for heroin and other opiate addiction as early as the mid 1960s.
2. Methadone Maintenance Treats Chronic Pain
Methadone is a Food and Drug Administration approved treatment for chronic pain. Many people use it instead of opiates because of allergies or the side effects of common prescription painkillers. If you have chronic pain and an opiate addiction, methadone is proven to fight the pain without the traditional opiate painkillers.
3. It Stops Opiate Overdose Risks
People taking methadone do not get high like they normally would on opiates. When you take methadone and then take opiates there is little or no effect. This helps to stop people from taking opiates while on methadone treatment. Once they stop opiates the risk of an opiate overdose drops dramatically.
4. Methadone stops the Opiate Cravings
Methadone blocks opioid receptors. This blocking action stops the cravings. When you are no longer craving the drug, you really have no reason to return to using it.
5. It Helps Curb Opiate Use
Methadone maintenance helps to curb your opiate use by both making opiates ineffective and giving your body what it needs to avoid withdrawal and treats chronic pain. Most doctors are able to provide a dose that is effective as treatment and then reduce it to wean you off opiates.
6. Methadone Maintenance Treatment is Cost Effective
Long term Methadone maintenance is costs less than many other treatment options. All you have to pay for are the doctor’s visits and the medication. Other treatments cost a lot more because you pay for room and board, doctors, counselors, higher priced medication, and other services.
7. It Helps Prevent Other Opiate Related Deaths
Many people choose to smoke or inject opiates. When someone uses either of these methods, they expose themselves to disease and infections. Injection alone can cause:
- Hepatitis A,
- Hepatitis B,
- Hepatitis C, and
- Bacterial infections.
Although some of these infections are treatable, some of them are deadly.
8. Methadone has a Slow Acting Effect
Methadone acts slowly so there is not the quick, convenient high that some opiates such as heroin cause. Part of the addiction to fast acting opiates is the speed at which you feel the drug. When the drug is slow acting, psychological addiction is less likely.
9. The Dosage of Methadone can be controlled
Since methadone is either a pill or a liquid the dose, doctors can measure the dose exactly. When you take it as prescribed, you do not have to worry about taking too much and overdosing.
10. You do not Inject Methadone
Methadone does not come in an injection except for what doctor’s sometimes use in hospitals. You do not have to worry about needles or blood borne diseases caused by needles.
11. You cannot Smoke Methadone
Methadone comes in two forms, neither of which is smoked. You do not have the problems with burns and bacteria when you are on methadone. Methadone is much easier to take than smoking another opiate, the ease of use helps you in recovery.
12. Methadone is Easier to Taper than Opiates
A key point to recovery is being able to taper off all drugs. Since the dose of methadone is exact it is easier to taper off it than it is opiates. The doctor will help you make sure you are getting the right doses at the right times during your taper schedule.
13. Methadone does not have the Same Long Term Effects as Opiates
Methadone does not affect the body the same way that opiates do in the long term. Most people do not develop severe long term side effects from it.
14. Methadone can be Used Long Term
Many people with chronic pain use methadone for a long time. There is no timeline for tapering or stopping the treatment. This allows you to either continue on the treatment or taper off it depending on your pain level and the way that you tolerate other drugs.
15. Methadone When Prescribed is not illegal
One of the best things about methadone treatment is that it is not illegal when taken as prescribed. Taking illegal drugs is detrimental to your recovery. Since methadone is completely legal when prescribed by a doctor and taken as directed, you do not have to worry about being arrested for having it.
16. It is Healthier than Opiates
When you are on opiates your usage usually is not controlled and your body is subject to the extremely unhealthy effects of the opiate. On a strictly controlled treatment plan using methadone your body has a chance to recover.
17. It Stabilizes your Routine and Treatment
Methadone treatment requires scheduled doses. You develop a routine when you are in this type of treatment. Many doctors and therapists know that establishing a routine is one of the more important parts of drug recovery.
18. It Breaks the Addiction Cycle
When you are on methadone, you are not out looking for the next high to get your fix. Methadone treatment breaks the endless cycle of looking for the drug, acquiring the drug, and using the drug.
19. You will be able to Function Normally
Since methadone blocks opiates, you will not have the same clumsiness and foggy thinking that you do on opiates.
20. You will see People Daily who can Help
Methadone Maintenance treatment involves daily visits to a doctor’s office to get the methadone. You are able to talk to people about your symptoms and what is going on. If you feel uncomfortable or about to relapse, they can help.
21. Methadone Works
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, methadone works. People who use methadone as prescribed normally do not relapse and return to using opiates.
Doctors have used methadone maintenance treatment for decades. Over the years, methadone has been studied extensively. For more information on treating chronic pain or opiate addiction, call us at 800-530-0431.