Methadone is a controversial medication for many reasons. It has helped many people lead positive, productive lives, but it has harmed the lives of other people.
Understanding the Pros and Cons of Methadone Treatment
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When someone becomes addicted to opiate drugs such as Percocet, Oxycodone, Vicodin and Codeine it can be very difficult for them to stop using the drugs on their own. When a physician decides that the best course of action to treat the addiction to opiates is with Methadone the patient may have many questions.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a very strong narcotic pain analgesic. It is used to treat chronic and severe pain. It also has been used effectively for over 40 years in treating addiction to opiate narcotics and heroin. There are pros and cons to Methadone treatment. Methadone will show up if you are given a drug test at work. Some may not feel comfortable discussing their addictions with their employers so this can be a sensitive issue. Methadone treatment usually requires daily visits to a clinic or treatment center. This can be difficult for patients who have job and family responsibilities. You can still use opioids while taking Methadone, so while it will control your cravings and manage your withdrawal symptoms you may still have the desire to use drugs again. Methadone treatment programs require that patients follow their strict rules and regulations or they may be removed from the treatment program at any time. This can leave patients feeling they have no control over their treatment and that if they make a mistake they might be kicked out of the treatment program and relapse into drug use. Methadone is a tool in drug recovery however it is not a cure.
When considering Methadone as a treatment for your drug addiction to opiates you must understand that you must make a long term commitment to the program. Methadone can take months to work at it’s fullest capacity to completely relieve withdrawal symptoms. Length of time in treatment varies and is greatly dependent on the patient. Studies have shown that to achieve full benefit from Methadone and other medications used to treat opiate withdrawal such as Suboxone and Buprenorphine you should plan on being on them for one to three years. Some discover that are unable to function without the drugs and will probably be on them for life.
According to NIDA research has shown that methadone maintenance is more effective when it includes individual and/or group counseling, with even better outcomes when patients are provided with, or referred to, other needed medical/psychiatric, psychological, and social services (e.g., employment or family services).
Benefits of Methadone
The benefits of Methadone treatment are simple. Without the cravings and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with the addiction to opiates a person in treatment can focus better and put more effort into other aspects of their treatment like individual and group counseling. Because recovery is multifaceted, it is very important that all aspects of an addiction are treated. Just because you are able to manage withdrawal symptoms does not mean you are cured. The best part of Methadone treatment is that it is legal. You no longer have to feel ashamed because you are breaking the law to obtain illicit drugs. It is also much less expensive then illicit drugs.
The illegal drug trade is big business. Many states have cracked down on illegal “Pill Mills” that encourage addicts and drug dealers by giving easy access to strong, narcotic pain medications. Many so called “pain clinics” were caught bringing in patients by the busload to obtain prescriptions that they could later use to feed their addictions or sell to earn very high profits. Methadone treatments also reduce diseases that are transmitted through the sharing of needles like hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.