Opiate addictions can cause considerable damage to a person’s central nervous system functions as well wreak havoc in his or her relationships and work life. For most people, getting needed treatment is the only way to overcome the addiction. Of all the known treatments for opiate addiction, methadone maintenance treatment has a long history within the addictions field.
While methadone is often used during detoxification stages, its use as a maintenance drug helps recovering addicts overcome the persistent drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms that so often plague the recovery process. For heroin addicts in particular, the benefits of methadone maintenance treatment enables recovering addicts to make positive lifestyle changes that reinforce their desire to live a drug-free life.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, methadone maintenance treatment addresses the physical and psycho-social aspects of addiction using methadone drug therapy as a main component. The use of methadone to stabilize drug cravings and decrease withdrawal effects enables recovering addicts to work on other areas of their lives while receiving ongoing methadone treatments. Methadone works as a replacement drug by producing similar effects to opiates without the high potential for addiction.
Methadone maintenance treatment programs combine medication therapy with ongoing psychotherapy and support group participation. Psychotherapy and support group participation enable recovering addicts to work on the psychological, behavioral and relationship issues that drive their addiction lifestyle. Methadone maintenance treatment programs also assist with vocational training needs as well as job placement assistance.
Educational training on addiction and its effects in a person’s life are another part of the methadone maintenance treatment approach. Understanding how addiction affects the mind and body can help recovering addicts be better prepared for when drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms arise. As family conflicts often play a big role in perpetuating a person’s addiction lifestyle, treatment programs can also include family members as part of the treatment planning process
Decrease in Drug Cravings & Withdrawal Effects
As a synthetic, opiate-based medication, methadone can offset opiate drugs cravings and withdrawal effects while offering other therapeutic benefits. Unlike other opiate drugs, methadone maintenance treatments produce no euphoric or “high” effects, meanwhile its presence in the body acts as a buffer in cases where a person tries to get “high” on other drugs. In effect, methadone prevents recovering addicts from getting “high” should a relapse episode occur.
Compared to other opiate drugs, methadone takes longer to metabolize so doses can be taken on a daily basis as opposed to the frequent dosing required for other types of opiates.
In the case of heroin addictions, addicts often place themselves in dangerous situations when it comes to obtaining the drug as well as the activities they engage in while using. Heroin addictions place users at risk of:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Hepatitis C
- Bacterial infections
The effects of ongoing drug use also damage personal relationships as well as a person’s ability to earn a living.
Methadone maintenance treatment approaches enable recovering addicts to rebuild their lives and regain a sense of self and purpose. While the recovery process does take time, there’s really nowhere to go but up once a person hits the type of rock bottom an opiate addiction inevitably brings.