Medication-assisted treatments with methadone have had a very positive impact on helping opioid addicts stop using opioid drugs that strip away their quality of life. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), The “treatment of opioid addiction with maintenance medication, along with other treatment services for related problems that affect patients’ motivation and treatment compliance, increases the likelihood of cessation of opioid abuse.”
Although methadone maintenance has a well established role in combating the disruptions and dangers that an opioid addict is likely to face in the long run, many will continue to have doubts about whether or not it can work for them. Becoming informed, exploring your options, and seeking the professional advice and services of a qualified opioid treatment program (OTP) provider are some of the most positive ways of transforming a life left with little hope elsewhere.
How is Methadone Different than other Opioid Drugs?
For those who have been using opioids a while, the brain and central nervous system has basically, become “rewired” in how it functions and controls nearly every physiological process and requires the presence of the drug to avoid the negative state of withdrawals. Methadone is a special synthetic opioid that reduces cravings and withdrawal frequencies while blocking the euphoric effects of short acting opioids to deter their abuse.
Methadone’s usefulness is its pharmacological properties that help to correct specific neurological disorders that are the basis for compulsive use of opioids. Because methadone acts more slowly and builds up in the person’s system, with the right dose establishment, it only needs to be taken once a day to regulate the chemical imbalances that pose the most difficult challenges in a person trying to stop using shorter acting opioid drugs. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, “The treatment is corrective, normalizing neurological and endocrinologic processes in patients whose endogenous ligand-receptor function has been deranged by long-term use of powerful narcotic drugs.
Why Choose Methadone Maintenance?
Methadone maintenance is not for everyone. Some people choose an extended methadone detox program that can last up to six months allowing them to return to normal functioning and live a satisfactory lifestyle. For others, the opioid addiction has left some powerful residual conditioning within them and their conditions leave them unprepared to manage stress or sustain abstinence for any significant time without long term treatment and support. The problematic conditions are not easily reconciled and they can remain vulnerable to cravings and unanticipated “triggers” to relapse years after a detox putting them back at square one, albeit more vulnerable to dangers of overdose or serious consequences that make it harder to quit the next time.
According to the Institute of Medicine (US),”Researchers observed that gradual removal of physical dependence upon morphine or heroin (detoxification) followed solely by psychiatric or other behavioral treatment frequently failed to help addicts sustain abstinence.” In a methadone maintenance program, resuming normal, productive, and satisfying lives without the distresses of having to find opioids and the resources to buy them or suffering painful and abhorrent withdrawals (sometimes, several times a day) is enhanced by the comprehensive services that support the individual as long as it takes in their struggles to take back their life.