Methadone Maintenance as an Alternative to Opioid Withdrawal

It is believed by many, because opioid withdrawal does not cause deadly side effects and is usually more mild than those syndromes associated with alcohol or CNS depressants, that it is easy to go through the withdrawal syndrome associated with opioids. Some individuals choose to use medication for this purpose but begin a fast-paced regimen that has them withdrawn from the drug in less than a week.

Methadone maintenance is a possible alternative to going through opioid withdrawal, and while you may decide to eventually withdraw slowly from the drug, many people stay on it indefinitely.

Why Choose Maintenance Over Medically Assisted Withdrawal?

Methadone maintenance is an ideal choice for those who require long-term care and help after a severe opioid addiction. Those who have been abusing opioids for many years, especially those on heroin, and individuals who are extremely physically dependent on opioids may want to consider this option.

Alternative to Opioid Withdrawal

Medically assisted withdrawal only focuses on detoxing the body of opioids, while methadone treatment provides a more comprehensive approach.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Studies of the long-term administration of methadone confirm that it is a medically safe drug” that can be taken for up to 10 to 14 years with no danger to any organ systems. There are many reasons why one may want to choose maintenance over medically assisted or home detox, including:

  • Methadone maintenance allows people to concentrate on recovery instead of on painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
  • The symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal are often more intense than many individuals realize, leading to relapse in those who attempt to stop using these substances without careful, long-term treatment.
  • Even sometimes with the use of medically assisted withdrawal, many people go through the process incredibly quickly and are not given the time to become stabilized in their recovery beforehand.
  • Methadone maintenance is a full treatment program for addiction whereas medically assisted withdrawal only treats an individual’s dependence and withdrawal symptoms, causing them to require additional treatment afterward.

Can I Stay on Methadone and Not Withdraw?

You can stay on methadone for as long as you like and not withdraw from the drug. This can help you stay off dangerous opioids and avoid abusing other narcotics as well as allow you to avoid the cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and other issues that would make it difficult to focus on your recovery and your life in general.

According to the NIDA, “As used in maintenance treatment, methadone and buprenorphine are not heroin/opioid substitutes,” and as such, maintenance is not the same as trading one addiction for another. Therefore, you can be maintained on methadone indefinitely and still avoid opioid abuse.

Should I Seek Methadone Maintenance Treatment?

If you have been abusing opioids for a long period of time and have a strong dependence on these drugs, methadone maintenance may be a better choice for you than a fast-paced detox or medically assisted withdrawal program. Also, if you require long-term care and are able to attend a clinic daily in order to receive your medication, the treatment could be very beneficial to your needs and lifestyle.

To find out more about methadone maintenance or to find methadone centers in your area, call 800-994-1867Who Answers? today.

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