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Methadone is one of the medications used in the so-called “medication-assisted treatment” for addicted individuals. This treatment is also called MAT, and it helps people reduce their drug intake and eventually quit it. This drug works well against the use of heroin and other opiates.
Methadone has been used for decades to help those who are struggling with narcotic addiction. When taken as prescribed, it is known to be safe and effective. Abused, it can cause even more problems. With medications like methadone, drug-dependent individuals can reclaim their sobriety.
But what exactly is methadone and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look.
Methadone: How does it work?
This substance works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of narcotics.
This means it can help against substances like morphine, heroin, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. All of these medications are addictive when taken in large doses. But because methadone occupies the same receptors and provides little to no euphoria, the person’s brain is tricked into believing that enough narcotics have been taken.
The pain relief from a dose of methadone can last up to eight hours. Methadone is especially helpful for heroin users because it allows them to stay in treatment programs longer.
Methadone works best as a part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. It won’t give the best results on its own. The addicted person still needs behavioral therapy and techniques like counseling, group therapy, etc. But methadone works well during the medical detox part of the treatment.
Patients taking methadone should receive it under the supervision of a physician. They will only be allowed to take methadone at home between program visits after a period of stability. This means that the patient has complied with the proper medication dosage for a certain period of time, and a bit of progress has been made towards sobriety.
Methadone can only be dispensed through an opioid treatment program.
Everyone goes through addiction differently. And so the length of time in methadone treatment varies from person to person. Generally speaking, the length of treatment should be a minimum of 12 months. It could be longer or shorter, depending on the patient’s condition.
More severe cases may require more serious treatment, which may last longer than usual. There are many aspects to address: the person’s health, the physical effects of drug abuse, the behavioral changes, and even the person’s relationships. Addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life, and methadone only helps with the physical side of things. A complete addiction treatment program is necessary.
Some patients may require treatment for years—this is not completely rare. And so, if you are struggling with any form of addiction, do not get frustrated and just keep going. Remember that methadone is just one component of the treatment. Just use it properly and allow it to help you get over your addiction.
Methadone is generally safe, and it only becomes dangerous if abused. Look for an addiction treatment facility near you today and find out how methadone-assisted treatment can help you.