Methadone as Treatment?
Used since the 1960s, methadone has proven effective in the treatment of heroin addiction. Methadone is excellent treatment option, particularly for people who do not respond well to other medications. However, this synthetic opiate drug has a strong addictive potential and many times people who use it exchange one addiction with another.
Long term use can make some people loose their control over frequency and amount of use. This is one of the first signs of an addiction presence. But lack of control over methadone should not worry you. Addiction is a medical disorder, which can be managed with proper medical treatment. Needing professional treatment doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It only means you have help and assistance to get healthy again.
What occurs during rehab for methadone addiction? Here, we review the most common steps during rehab for methadone. Then, you can ask your questions about methadone rehab at the end.
How Do I Know I’m Ready?
Choosing to enter a rehab facility for methadone addiction can be scary. But, how do you know you ‘re ready to enter treatment for methadone addiction in the first place?
In most cases, people know they are ready to enter rehab when they ‘hit bottom’. Hitting a bottom isn’t the same for everyone. For some people it can simply mean they have lost control of their lives and are ready to regain it. For others, it means they have lost everything; loved ones, money, cars, houses and all other possessions and they have nothing left.
What is the most important when deciding to enter rehab is knowing that you have to make the decision for yourself. If you don’t make a personal decision to make these changes in your life, then relapse is common. Entering methadone rehab is a personal choice that can be made at any point during your addiction. You do not have to lose everything in order to decide that rehab for methadone is a good decision.
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What Does Rehab Include?
Methadone addiction treatment can be done either in an inpatient or in an outpatient basis.
Outpatient programs are an excellent option for those who know they need help for their methadone addiction, but are unable to stop working or attending school to get it. Outpatient treatment programs provide assistance a few times a week for a limited amount of hours. They are more flexible than inpatient ones and adjustments can be made for the dynamic to match your busy life schedule. Outpatient treatment is suitable for people whose condition is less severe, and for those whose symptoms are mild.
Residential treatment centers provide in house services and an entire program that will keep you focused on resolving physical, mental and emotional issues connected to your addiction. While receiving residential treatment, you will temporarily live outside of your home and in a facility where you can be supervised and monitored by trained staff.
Effective treatment programs provide:
1. Assessment, screening, and diagnosis
When you enter rehab for methadone you will first go through an intake and assessment processs. Assessment can take a couple of hours, but usually goes quickly. During this time, doctors and medical staff will evaluate your current condition and begin to create a personalized plan for recovery. You will be drug tested and given a basic physical to assess your current level of health and how the methadone has affected your system. Staff will also search through your belongings to ensure that you have not attempted to bring in anything that will be harmful to your recovery. This process will determine what medication or special requirements will be necessary for your detoxification.
2. Medical detox
If you need to withdraw from methadone, you will go through medical detox. Medical detox for methadone can take around 72 hours to complete, but most symptoms of methadone withdrawal resolve within a week or two after last dose. When you begin medical detox from methadone, you expect to experience withdrawal and feel both physical and psychological symptoms, which are like a very bad flu. Some of these symptoms may include:
- bone and muscle aches
Doctors and staff at the facility will monitor your detox and withdrawal symptoms to ensure that you are safely going through the process and not in any physical danger. If methadone withdrawal symptoms are extreme, you may be prescribed medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine is one medication that is commonly used to help withdrawal symptoms and can shorten the length of time that you spend in detox.
3. Psychotherapy or psychological addiction treatment
This is an incredibly important phase of rehab for methadone. Treatment involves analyzing addiction and what may be the underlying cause of psychological problems. Expect this phase to be difficult, as you will be asked to analyze your past and present with honesty. Psychotherapy and group counseling during rehab for methadone begin to give you an understanding of your addiction and to set a foundation to live a healthy and sober life after rehab.
4. Substance abuse education
The educational component of rehab for methadone provides you with the knowledge about addiction and abuse of drugs. The disease model of addiction, which takes your historical and biological history into account, teaches you what addiction really means and why it is important to remain abstinence from drugs. It also hopes to teach you that environmental effects can play an important role in addiction, and empowers you to seek a healthy environment and complete drug abstinence.
5. Supportive social services
A quality rehab center for methadone addiction will also provide you with supportive services to assist you in your exit from rehab and will provide you with the necessary tools to continue recovery and sobriety outside of the rehab facility. These services may include continued individual psychotherapy, a halfway house, medical referral to maintain a healthy and sober lifestyle as well as integration in to social groups through your community or church. Potential support groups for methadone addiction include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Narcotics Anonymous
- SMART Recovery
- Celebrate Recovery
Pharmacotherapy for methadone addiction is very important. During detox, buprenorphine can be given to help mediate symptoms of withdrawal. Buprenorphine can also be subscribed as a long-term, maintenance treatment option because cravings can be intense. Because of the nature of withdrawal symptoms, medications may also be subscribed to assist with sleep, anxiety, or depression during rehab for methadone.
However, it is important NOT to use these medications if they are not necessary because medical staff don’t want to promote addiction to another substance. It’s essential to consult your doctor if you begin taking any type of medication. Do NOT do anything that’s not in accordance with your medical guide.
Are you considering rehab for methadone and would like more information about methadone rehab facilities? Have you been to rehab for methadone addiction and have concerns or advice to share? Comment below with your questions or concerns and we will get back to you personally and promptly.
Reference Sources: Medline Plus: Opiate withdrawal
SAMHSA: Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 43.