There are specific qualities you should look for when seeking a methadone treatment center. The facility should:
- Have experienced and caring staff members
- Offer supervised medical treatment with methadone
- Staff therapists who are attentive and nonjudgmental
- Maintain prompt and effective communication between clients and staff members
- Feature individualized treatment plans
- Have a low client-to-staff ratio
General rehab programs can be effective, but methadone treatment is specifically designed for treating opioid addiction.
If you are seeking methadone-based rehabilitation, it is important to note that methadone can be addictive. This is why it should only be used under the supervision of a specialist.
A Serious Problem
Methadone is a narcotic drug that is used to treat moderate to severe pain as well as opioid drug addiction.
According to an article published by the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose data has shown that the opioid epidemic is spreading geographically. Overdoses are becoming increasingly more common across virtually all demographics.
In 2016, drug overdoses killed over 63,000 Americans. About 66 percent of those deaths involved opioids, whether prescription or illicit. Compared to prior years, the number of overdoses increased across both sexes and all races.
What is a Methadone Treatment Facility?
Methadone treatment facilities have been part of a long-term effort to treat opioid addiction. In these clinics, individuals who are addicted to heroin and other opioids regularly receive medically prescribed and scheduled doses of methadone to relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Methadone helps to reduce the discomfort of opioid withdrawal. The pain of withdrawal often prevents people from being able to get off opioid drugs on their own. Once the distress sets in, people return to heroin or other opioid abuse to make the withdrawal symptoms dissipate.
Unfortunately, methadone itself has addictive qualities and its own set of withdrawal symptoms if use is stopped suddenly. Use of methadone is supervised by a doctor who will monitor for signs of abuse.
The length of methadone treatment will vary. It can last two to three weeks, or as long as six months to a year.
Methadone is not a cure for addiction; there is no cure. The goal is to get the person off methadone eventually, so doses are often slowly lowered over time.
The medication is used as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Therapy is absolutely necessary, as methadone won’t address the underlying issues that led to substance abuse.
Opioid withdrawal is notoriously tough.
The following are some of the withdrawal symptoms you can expect in the first 30 hours after stopping use:
- Trouble Sleeping
- Runny Nose
- Watery Eyes
These symptoms can persist and usually get progressively worse, peaking at day three. Acute withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Drug cravings
- Severe nausea
These symptoms are usually worse during the first week.
Methadone essentially mitigates these symptoms. The body is getting the opioid replacement medication, so it doesn’t enter withdrawal. If any symptoms are experienced, they are very mild.
Guided Methadone Therapy
Methadone has a high risk of misuse and overdose. This is another reason why methadone therapy is strictly only available to individuals who are enrolled in a government-approved treatment program.
The treatment is guided by a medical professional who monitors the person’s methadone intake. They assess the person’s response to methadone to ensure that the withdrawal process
is safe and effective. This therapy is continued until the body no longer needs or craves opioids at all.
Group support is critical to a successful treatment process and long-term recovery. Others who have dealt with opioid addiction can offer valuable insights that can be vital to preventing relapse.
While family and friends offer crucial support, they don’t always understand what it means to deal with opioid addiction actively.
Emotional support from like-minded individuals can help participants realize they are not alone, and others know what they are going through.
Is Methadone Right for You?
According to statistics cited in an article on The Fix, methadone treatment has been shown to be effective in improving quality of life for those recovering from opioid addiction. Methadone treatment has saved the lives of many who did not know where to turn and felt helpless in the depths of their addiction.
Opioid abuse can be life-threatening, as overdose is likely in active addiction. Withdrawal from any addictive substance can be trying and even dangerous. Medical assistance is needed to withdraw from opioids safely.
A doctor will help you determine if methadone treatment is right for your particular situation. If you are entering an addiction treatment facility, you’ll receive an exam and assessment at intake. The supervising physician will determine if methadone or another form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be right for you.
What to Look for in a Rehab Center
Look for a facility that has experienced, attentive, and caring staff members. The people are the foundation of any good rehabilitation clinic. Quality interactions between staff and clients are the basis for success in recovery.
Choose a center that staffs credentialed, experienced individuals. A medical physician should supervise the methadone prescription and delivery process. Other medical professionals should also be on the roster.
Methadone isn’t enough on its own. Therapy is the core of treatment, so the center should have experienced, compassionate therapists working with you.
Individualized treatment plans are necessary.
The most effective treatment plans are tailored to each client’s individual needs. A cookie-cutter approach will not work.
A Path Forward
According to an article from The Washington Post, the rise of the opioid crisis has revived interest in methadone clinics. In states that have been hit hardest by the opioid crisis, they have started to license new methadone clinics to combat the issue. As a result, the methadone treatment industry has grown more in four years than it has in the prior 20.
From 2014 to 2018, 254 new methadone clinics were established. There hasn’t been such an increase in the industry since the 1970s.
There is some controversy that surrounds methadone treatment. Some believe that a methadone treatment program is trading one addiction for another. Others say that it is one of the most effective and proven treatment programs for opioid-based addiction out there.
As of now, methadone treatment is a highly regulated process. Many states have limited the number of clinics that can be licensed.
These clinics are required to provide certain services, such as therapy, HIV/AIDS counseling, family counseling, and vocational services.
If they don’t offer these services, they must refer clients to them.
In many states, clients have to visit clinics daily to get their dose of methadone. Methadone doesn’t offer flexibility in prescription, so most often, clients cannot take it at home.
Ultimately, methadone rehab can be appropriate for some people who are addicted to opioids. It should not be used on its own. It should be part of a complete program that includes intensive therapy.