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Methadone is one of the few drugs that have been approved for the treatment of opiate addictions, such as heroin or morphine addiction. It is a prescription synthetic opioid that causes the same reaction in the brain’s reward center as other opiates do. Since it has the same properties in a slower release formula, it can also be abused for the euphoric feeling that it produces.
Since this medication is used to suppress cravings and treat addiction, it is not as regulated as other drugs. It is classified as a Schedule II drug by federal government. This makes the drug legal, but also makes it users highly susceptible to abuse and addiction.
It high propensity for abuse makes it a more controversial treatment drug as many of those who are already addicted to opiates like heroin or morphine could also easily become addicted to methadone.
- Slowed breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Lapses in judgment
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Sexual dysfunction
As with any other opiate, the risk for addiction is high. Since the drug relieves the user’s pain and provides a sense of relaxation, anyone who uses it regularly may become dependent on it. As their tolerance builds, they need more of the medication to feel normal.
Signs of methadone addiction include:
- The presence of withdrawal symptoms once they stop using the drug
- Isolating themselves from friends and family
- Prioritizing drug use over everything else
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Assessment: If a patient enters rehab for methadone dependence, they are assessed to discern the severity of their addiction, as well as other possible co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to their condition. Once the individual is assessed, the most appropriate treatment program for their specific needs is developed.
Detox: For methadone, a detox period is required to help the patient get through the withdrawal symptoms they experience. Dangers such as depression and suicidal thoughts can be monitored by professionals and non-addictive medication can be given to the patient to help them cope. Once the majority of the severe symptoms have passed, a more intensive approach to therapy can begin.
Therapy: There are various forms of therapy that can be effective such as motivational incentives, in which patients are given low-cost rewards for good behavior such as staying clean or doing chores. Group therapy sessions and individual therapy can help patients learn new skills to help them cope with life outside of the rehab center.
Relapse Prevention: Finally, continued recovery after rehab is an important aspect of a treatment plan. If a patient was part of an inpatient program, they can continue their recovery in an outpatient program to ensure that they stay clean after leaving rehab. Relapse statistics show that up to 60% of people use drugs again after leaving rehab. Through continued treatment and relapse prevention strategies, such 12-step support group meetings held by Narcotics Anonymous, a recovering addict can remain sober.
If a person coming out of an intensive rehab program does not feel that their home environment is adequate for their continued recovery, sober living environments can help them to transition from rehab to the way they want to live their lives. These sober living homes are shared spaces where several people can live together with the same goal of staying clean. This environment is the ideal place to continue recovery while finding a job or establishing a healthy pattern for their future lives.
The houses have rules that each resident must follow such as no drugs or alcohol and chores to be done around the house. Housemates can relate to one another and support each other to achieve maintain sobriety. They can leave the house with confidence and new friendships made that can help them with future struggles with cravings and overwhelming emotions.
- “Methadone | SAMHSA – Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration”. Samhsa.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 30 Aug. 2016.
Prescription Opioid Overdose Data. (2016, December 16). Retrieved December 20, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/overdose.html
Last updated on April 7th, 2017 at 08:33 pm