When methadone was first introduced as a treatment for heroin addiction, it was believed that the drug was less addictive and, therefore, safer than the illicit drugs it was intended to replace. But numerous studies over the years have shown this to be false. Methadone is an addictive drug that can be every bit as harmful as heroin.
Perhaps the biggest problem associated with methadone is that the effects of the drug tend to last longer than those of other drugs such as morphine and heroin. This is perceived as a strength among advocates of using the drug as an addiction treatment because it can help stabilize opioid addicts and assist them to cut down on the volume of illicit drugs they use.
However, the stabilization strategy only works when methadone therapies are combined with regular counseling therapies and purposeful, controlled reduction of opioid intake. When drug addicts are given methadone without any additional counseling and forced opioid reduction, the longer-lasting effects of methadone only make the individual’s drug problem worse. Eventually, the addict becomes hooked on methadone as well.
Consequences of Methadone Abuse
Methadone is an addictive drug with its own consequences. The implications of abuse and addiction are both physical and psychological; they can lead to additional consequences that include loss of income, loss of family relationships, long-term financial problems, introduction to crime, etc.
The negative physical and mental consequences of methadone abuse include:
- Regular headaches and excessive sweating
- Water retention and difficulty in urinating
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite
- Mood swings that may include anxiety and depression
- Irregular heartbeat
- Regular drowsiness; interrupted sleep cycles leading to insomnia
Long-Term Methadone Addiction
Even though methadone is a synthetic opioid, long-term use does result in some of the same kinds of consequences associated with other opioids and narcotics. For example, continual methadone use over extended periods of time can lead to certain kinds of heart problems. The drug has also been linked to impaired judgment that could end up being permanent in some cases.
Perhaps the most serious long-term adverse effects associated with methadone is a carelessness with the drug that may lead to mixing it with alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other drugs. Why is this a problem? Because drug interaction could result in death. Thousands of people in Europe and North America die every year as a result of using other drugs while also taking methadone, either recreationally or as a prescription medication.
Of course, one cannot discount the social effects of methadone use either. Drug abuse of every kind leads to social isolation because addicts gradually lose the inability to interact according to social norms. Methadone addicts eventually reach the place of complete isolation. Family members cannot tolerate them; friends do not want to be around them; co-workers must avoid them if they are going to continue to be productive themselves.
Methadone Treatment and Recovery
Methadone is a drug that creates both psychological and physical dependence. Therefore, anyone addicted to the drug will have to undergo a thorough treatment program to be rid of it. Treatment begins with a 7-to-10-day detox period during which the user is medically monitored and supported to alleviate withdrawal symptoms as much is possible. Psychotherapeutic treatments follow detox.
Rehab clinics and outpatient programs use a variety of talking therapies to help patients understand the psychological and emotional aspects of addiction. Counselor’s help patients work through their issues so they can learn to avoid future drug use. Throughout psychotherapy, full support is offered for emotional, psychological, and family needs.
Methadone treatment is available throughout the USA to anyone who needs it. Finding the right drug addiction treatment center or drug rehabilitation facility can be quite a challenge. Many drug addicts are scared to go to drug and alcohol treatment centers. Methadone withdrawal can be challenging to even someone who has done it several times. Methadone withdrawal tips, programs, and effective medical detox programs are available to you at the methadone clinics (http://clearskyetreatmentcenters.com/methadone-clinic/ )