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Methadone Treatment Pros and Cons

Posted on :  May 2nd, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

As early as the 1970s, methadone has already been used in assisting in the treatment of opiate addiction. In 2009 it was estimated that over 100,000 people were regularly taking methadone to cope with their heroin addiction. According to the Harvard Health Publications, this is primarily because methadone treatment is known as a type of substitution therapy that will allow curbing of cravings and minimize withdrawal symptoms. Under medical supervision and when used in combination with therapy, methadone is widely considered as a safe treatment program.

The Methadone Treatment

Initially, the methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) began as a medication-only program. Daily doses were administered to the participants of the program. With the continued research in the field of addiction, it was uncovered that the treatment program needed a component that would address the psychological aspect of the drug abuse and addiction.

This led to the offering of psychological, counseling, and even rehabilitation services to complement the medication therapies of the methadone maintenance treatment program. Results of the study made by the National Institutes for Health affirmed the importance of combining the medication therapies with the psychosocial interventions to increase the chances of successful recovery from addiction.

As a drug treatment, methadone is an opiate-based medication. Why use opiate to cure opiate? The idea is to curb the addiction by way of opiate drugs that will naturally interact with the brain chemistry and bodily functions of the drug user. So in essence, MMT, attempts to veer addicts away from opiates rather than shock the body with the recovery process.

Goal of the Treatment

In order to understand the methadone treatment pros and cons, it is necessary to grab the concept of the treatment’s goal. The ultimate goal is to give the addict the facilities to return to a relatively normal life. This can be achieved through medically supervised methadone treatment combined with vocational counseling and educational assistance. The better the addict feels about himself, the faster he will be able to return to a normal and more productive life.

There are those that continue to question the ability of the methadone treatment to reduce the harm caused to society. For many though, MMT has become synonymous to the treatment of heroin addiction. It is however also prescribed for the treatment and management of pain. The methadone treatment is also often referred to as the harm reduction technique because it:

  • Gives the users the ability to immediately stop using needles thereby reducing the incidents of blood borne sickness like hepatitis C and HIV;
  • Ensures that the quality of the drug is pure and the dosage is right becomes it comes directly from pharmaceutical companies instead of the street;
  • Provides addicts with access to the drug treatment if they want it;
  • Offers addicts with a place where they can regularly check-in so they can stay sober and clean;
  • Is based on over 30 years of opioid addiction treatment;
  • Gives a more structured treatment for patients that need it;
  • Costs less and can be calculated based on the patient’s income;
  • Provides an opportunity for addicts to meet others with the same problems;
  • Provides access to group counseling whenever necessary;
  • Helps to stop withdrawal symptoms because it is an opioid;
  • Has effects that can last longer than 24 hours;
  • Does not impose any legal limits on the number of patients that can be accommodated into a methadone clinic for treatment; and
  • Allows the doses to be increased when the patient becomes more tolerant to methadone.

Despite the numerous benefits that MMT presents, it also has some drawbacks that must be considered, like:

  • Illicit opioid usage may continue even when the addict is under MMT;
  • There is a strict protocol that must be followed, which can give patients the feeling that they cannot control their own treatment;
  • Methadone can show up in urine testing done for employment purposes;
  • Some patients may find it difficult to visit methadone clinics daily especially when they have jobs or need to travel long distances; and
  • Some patients may have self-esteem issues when it comes to a clinical environment.

These methadone treatment pros and cons should be viewed in the proper context of addiction. To help you do that get in touch with a reputable treatment center like Towards Recovery Clinics.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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