Methadone Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

First introduced in the 1960s for the treatment of opioid addiction, methadone has since provided countless individuals with much-needed relief from the physical symptoms that accompany withdrawal from these powerful substances. Decades of clinical research attest to methadone’s safety and efficiency when taken as prescribed under the close supervision of a licensed medical professional. Typically prescribed daily in the form of a liquid solution or dissolvable tablet, methadone interacts with a patient’s central nervous system in order to safely eliminate withdrawal symptoms while diminishing cravings for continued opioid use.

Research has confirmed that when methadone is taken as prescribed, patients are able to utilize this medication for both short- and long-term use due to its non-toxic makeup. The side effects that are typically experienced while taking methadone are temporary and only take place during the induction phase of treatment when patients are determining their ideal dosage level.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advised that methadone is a safe treatment option for pregnant women who are struggling with an addiction to opioids. Use of this medication will not cause detrimental health risks to either mother or child.

Methadone, like most medications, can become dangerous if taken recreationally or in ways outside of its prescribed intent. One third of all prescription medication fatalities that occur each year are linked to the illegal use of methadone. It is extremely important to clarify that these deaths occurred when methadone was taken recreationally and not when taken within a licensed treatment center. When taken as prescribed and under the close supervision of trained medical professionals, use of methadone is extremely safe.

The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment that utilizes methadone is currently the most effective treatment option available for opioid dependency. Extensive clinical research has confirmed the safety of methadone in the treatment of opioid addiction when taken as prescribed. The CDC also advises that that following benefits are linked to methadone maintenance treatment:

  • Eliminating or lowering the amount/frequency of opioid abuse
  • Reducing the risk of overdose
  • Decreasing the risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and/or HIV/AIDS
  • Dramatically increasing the average life expectancy (the average death rate of individuals who abuse opioids who utilize methadone is 30% lower than individuals who do not get this treatment)
  • Lesser likelihood of taking part in illegal activities
  • Improved family stability and career outcome
  • Increased outcomes for pregnant women and their babies

When taken as prescribed and as part of a treatment program at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers, the use of methadone is entirely safe.

Benefits of Methadone Treatment plus Counseling

Taking a comprehensive approach to treatment provides patients with the ability to receive treatment for both the emotional and psychological components of their addictions while progressing towards a future free from the dangers of opioid abuse. Therapeutic interventions allow patients to address and treat the root causes of their addictions while in a supportive and safe environment.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Although the use of methadone can provide much-needed relief from the physical symptoms of withdrawal, patients must understand that lasting recovery takes time, dedication, and patience. The medication assisted treatment available at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers provides patients with the opportunity to team up with our staff of addiction treatment experts in order to develop a customized plan of care that meets each individual’s unique set of treatment requirements. By following the advice of staff, following their guidance, and playing an active role in one’s own treatment, the likelihood of achieving lasting recovery is dramatically increased.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Before you are able to provide your loved one with support as they navigate through treatment, you must first receive support of your own. Because of this, Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers promote the use of family therapy, individual therapy, and support groups to the family and friends of our patients. These sessions provide individuals with the education and support that is required in order to successfully assist their loved one throughout his or her recovery journey.

The Side Effects of Methadone

The following side effects have been associated with the use of methadone:

  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Slowed breathing
  • Skin rashes
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)

Please contact Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers today to learn more about methadone as well as the other treatment options that we offer. We look forward to helping you progress towards a life free from the dangerous cycle of opioid abuse and addiction.

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