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Various substances around the country have valuable purposes within our society. Some of these are used for conditions within the medical realm, whether it be for handling pain or treating conditions. One type of medication that has a valuable use within the realm of addiction treatment is methadone, which is used within maintenance programs and in helping wean individuals off of opiates.

How Methadone is Used

When methadone is used correctly and as prescribed, it can be a safe and effective treatment for opioid dependence. It functions by altering how the nervous system and brain responses to pain. It is effective for opioid treatment as it helps to reduce the pain and symptoms of withdrawal and also blocks the euphoric effects of various types of opioids. This helps to eliminate the desires that people have to use these other types of substances.

Methadone is often dispensed at clinics called maintenance programs. The general goal here is to get the individual on a better substance in comparison to their substance of choice, and then gradually wean them off of this. Unfortunately, it does not always work out this way. Some clinics may keep people at very large doses for extended periods of time, with some on it for decades. In some cases, people may even end up swapping their addiction over to methadone. Although, it can also come down to each person’s case of addiction, as sometimes methadone treatment is recommended for several months, whereas others may actually need it for years.

A typical dose of methadone lasts about 4-8 hours and is given in the form of a pill, liquid, or wafer, which is generally taken once a day. When an individual is prescribed methadone for the purpose of treating opioid addiction, counseling or social support participation is typically recommended along with it. Methadone in itself really only helps to address the physical side of the addiction, as it can mitigate the dependency, but the non-physical side needs to be handled as well. This includes the mental and emotional factors of addiction that can be addressed through the counseling or support programs.

As mentioned above, methadone can become addictive, which is why it must be used as prescribed. This is especially important for those who are taking it at home, rather than under supervision in a treatment center, as they can be more likely to use it inappropriately. It is advised that individuals never take more than they are prescribed, do not consume it along with other substances unless approved by a doctor, be cautious about operating machinery while under the influence, and make sure that it is stored in a safe and secure location away from unauthorized access.

Methadone can, of course, include several different side effects that people must be aware of, which could include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Shallow or Difficult Breathing
  • Rapid or Pounding Heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Faintness
  • Hives or Rash
  • Face, Tongue, Throat, or Lips Swelling

In the occurrence of any of the above, one should immediately discontinue use of methadone and seek emergency assistance. These signs could be indicators of a more serious issue, so they must ensure to seek professional assistance as a precaution.

While methadone can be a valuable treatment for helping those struggling with opioid abuse, it can also be detrimental if used incorrectly or without further addiction assistance. When used for handling physical dependency and with coinciding treatment, it can help many people to overcome their addiction to opiates.

For those who are struggling with methadone, it is advised that they seek professional assistance to overcome this. As with other opioids, methadone can bring about its own set of withdrawal symptoms, and an individual should be under proper supervision when detoxing from it. An individual could work with a physician to properly wean down off of methadone, or they could also attend a detox center.

When Seeking Help With an Addiction

The addiction rates around the country are still far too high, and there are many people needing help to break free of it. It can be difficult to struggle with addiction, but it can be overcome through proper treatment, and there are numerous forms of treatment that can help people to achieve this. With the large amount of treatment options around the country, it can sometimes be hard to find the right fit, but that is where New Beginnings can help. We are familiar with the various treatment programs and their offerings and can help to find the best fit in a facility for you or your loved one. It is important to find a center that can fulfill the needs and wants of an individual, as this can provide the best chance at success. Take the first step toward a new and sober life and give us a call today.

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