Methadone saves lives.
It also ends lives, if done incorrectly.
So, when beginning methadone treatment for the patient with opioid addiction, it has to be done carefully under supervision of a licensed addiction counselor.
According to WebMD, Methadone treatment works like this:
It [methadone] works on parts of the brain and spinal cord to block the “high” caused by using opiates (such as heroin). It also helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms caused by opiate use. The action of methadone is similar to other synthetic (man-made) medicines in the morphine category (opioids). Substances that are derived directly from the opium plant (such as heroin, morphine, and codeine) are known as opiates.
Methadone Treatment medication goes directly to the spinal cord and brain and aggressively blocks the “high” or intoxication that comes from taking heroin or other opioids. It reduces cravings and helps the addict during withdrawal symptoms after ending the abuse of the drug.
Methadone is taken only once a day. It works quickly, reducing the desire for opiates within 24 to 36 hours.
However, there are other treatments used along with medications to help patients shed their opioid addiction. Becoming clean and sober involves more than taking medications. It means changing thought patterns and physical and emotional behaviors.
So, there are three ways for Methadone Treatment to be administered:
- Medication-assisted Treatment: Using prescription medications to block the craving for opioids. There are three drugs that are commonly used: Suboxone, a long-acting opioid agonist dependence, as well as the management of chronic pain. It may be substituted for other opioids because tolerance to one opioid, such as methadone, also blocks the effects of other opioids. Suboxone is taken under the tongue. Buprenorphine (partial opioid agonist) which suppresses symptoms of withdrawal and also helps patients stay in methadone treatment. Another medication is Vivitrol. It is effective in blocking the “high” of opioids and is administered monthly by a medical professional.
- Medical Detoxification: Some opioid abusers are so deep into the addiction that they need 24-hour medical supervision to help them through withdrawal. This means they will be safe and unlikely to return to using the drug during the detox. Treatment may take a week or up to a month. Medications, such as Buprenorphineor Vivitrol are administered during this treatment. Many patients in detox experience anxiety, discomfort, anger, and insomnia during and following this treatment.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Opioid abusers are like any other drug-addicted individuals. Their negative, anti-social behaviors have to change in order to release themselves from the addiction. Often, it means changing coping skills so that they do not automatically return to drug abuse to cope with their life situations. In CBT, a licensed drug abuse counselor focuses on the reasons they are using opioids and the stress factors involved. This treatment often gets to the “heart” of why the patient uses the drug and then develop a logical, simple and practical plan to avoid using the drug. It involves accountability and behavioral modification.
It is not recommended that the patient use methadone if they have used it before and become addicted to it. Also, patients should not use methadone if they have consumed alcohol or used any opioids before treatment. They can depress the nervous system and can be fatal.
If you, a family member, or friend have an opioid addiction and need treatment, please have them contact a licensed counselor at the Concerted Care Group.
The Concerted Care Group provides comprehensive methadone treatment. We utilize the “Whole Person, Whole Life” philosophy of substance abuse treatment. It integrates medical, psychological, vocational, economic, and social expertise to literally “wrap around” the patient and the patient’s lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you have an opioid addiction, heroin addiction, prescription drug addiction, methadone addiction, painkiller addiction or some other substance abuse addiction. We treat them all and do it under one roof.
Contact our outpatient clinic in Baltimore, Maryland at (410) 617-0142 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We accept patients that same day, too.