FAQ’s & Resources
Q. What is Methadone?
Methadone works by taking over brain receptors affected by opioids like heroin and prescription pain medications. It is both common and successful in effective drug rehabilitation.
Methadone maintenance programs along with counseling have been used as a treatment option for opiate addiction and dependency since the 1960s. It is part of a wider, multi-component treatment process.
- Blocks cravings for opioids, a key factor in relapse
- Suppresses withdrawal symptoms for 24 to 36 hours
- Does not cause intoxication, sedation or euphoria
Q. Will Methadone just replace one addictive substance (such as, heroin or prescription pain medications) with another (methadone)?
MMT (Methadone Maintenance Treatment) is a drug replacement therapy. In this type of drug treatment, a medication (in this case, methadone) is used to overcome the obsessive need for opioids (like prescription drugs and heroin). A person may indeed be physiologically dependent on methadone; the pharmacologic makeup of methadone is different than addictive agents containing opioids. Thus, methadone is not simply, a substitute.
Consider this analogy that is often used: Prescription insulin is used as a replacement therapy for someone who is diagnosed with diabetes. Now, this person is dependent on their insulin. However, this chronic condition is managed effectively while the person is under the care of a licensed medical health care provider and prescribed medications.
With adequately prescribed methadone, addictive behaviors come to an end. Being on methadone does not make a person “drug-free,” but they are being aided with medication to get through the unbearable influence of opioids. Through this method, a person can lead a healthier and more normal life during the recovery process. It should also be noted that the behavioral characteristics of true addiction, like ineffective attempts to cut down on abusing drugs, the constant searching for more drugs and ignoring obligations for the sake of drugs despite the consequences-these are eradicated during MMT.
Q. What are the positives of Methadone Maintenance Treatment?
The positives of methadone as an element of a comprehensive treatment program for opioid addiction have been authenticated by numerous clinical studies and established by many authorities in the field of substance abuse treatment. These include:
- A stable maintenance dose of the drug, methadone, does not make the patient feel either euphoric (high) or drowsy. The person can socialize, attend work and/or school, and generally continue on with their usual activities.
- Methadone can be taken orally once daily or split up into several doses, serving to limit contact to injection-borne diseases like hepatitis or HIV.
- With sufficient doses, methadone’s gradual, continuing effects eradicate opioid withdrawal and cravings, unlike the hasty ups and downs of quick-acting opioids which lead to powerful desires to use more drugs.
- Daily drug-seeking becomes pointless. The blocking result of methadone will make other opioids unattractive.
- Once a stable dosage of methadone is attained, it will not take escalating amounts of the medicine to get the same results.
- When appropriately prescribed by a qualified practitioner, methadone is safe and successful with nominal side effects.
- The chief goals of a methadone maintenance treatment program are:
- Eliminate withdrawal symptoms
- Eradicate cravings
- Inhibit the effects of other opioids (prescription pain medicines or heroin)
Q. How long will I be taking methadone?
The time needed to have a successful experience in Methadone Maintenance Treatment varies from one person to the next. Time spent in treatment is a significant factor for continuing addiction recovery. In general, methadone-maintained individuals must attend a treatment program every day to obtain an oral dose of the methadone. Note that stable and compliant patients are often allowed to take a number of doses home with them upon approval of the treatment team; however, this may take some time and reduces their clinical visits. Proper psychosocial therapy and other support services are vital components of ongoing MMT.
Credible and authoritative sources have concluded that patients treated for fewer than 3 months in MMT generally show little or no improvement. Studies have routinely demonstrated reductions in illicit opioid use of up to 80% or more after several months, with the greatest reductions for patients who remain in treatment more than a year.
Q. What dose of methadone is right for me?
The dose you require is entirely individualized. A dose that works for one person may not work for you. As each person has his/her own personal metabolism, your dose will be vigilantly adjusted by an expert medical practitioner to meet your needs.
Resources & Links of Interest:
1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: http://www.samhsa.gov/
2. Addiction Treatment Forum: www.atforum.com
3. National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery: www.methadone.org
4. Methadone Support Org: www.methadonesupport.org
5. American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc.: www.aatod.org
6. National Institute on Drug Abuse: www.drugabuse.gov/
7. Join Together: www.jointogether.org
8. Narcotics Anonymous: www.na.org
9. American Society of Addiction Medicine: www.asam.org
10. Methadone & Pregnancy Info & Support: www.methadonesupport.org/Pregnancy.html
To schedule an intake assessment or to talk with a counselor, please call us at 1.912.352.4357.