Methadone is used to treat opiate addiction and to relieve withdrawal symptoms. It is not used to treat addictions to substances like alcohol, marijuana or cocaine. Methadone reduces the drug cravings and harsh withdrawal symptoms. Methadone’s effects last between 24 and 36 hours.
When administered at a proper dose by a licensed professional, methadone will not make you high.
Buprenorphine, commonly known as Subutex® or Suboxone®, offers a more flexible form of medication-assisted treatment. Unlike methadone, buprenorphine has a ceiling effect, which prevents people from misusing it since it doesn’t allow people to feel any euphoric effects.
Suboxone® is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone (also known as Narcan®). Naloxone is used to counter the effects of an opiate overdose as well prevent euphoric feelings associated with opiate use.
The sense of euphoria that heroin provides is one of its most addictive qualities. When your brain becomes used to that feeling, it wants more of it. However, the more you ingest heroin, the more your body builds a tolerance. Once that tolerance is met, more and more of the drug is needed. If a “high” is not felt, many will go into a state of withdrawal.
When used under medical supervision as a part of a treatment program, methadone and buprenorphine can be safely taken without any damaging side effects. According to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, methadone is “a rigorously well-tested medication that is safe and effective for the treatment of narcotic withdrawal and dependence.”
Methadone and buprenorphine do have serious drug interaction potential that should be discussed with a doctor and fully understood before participating in medication-assisted treatment.
Medication-assisted treatment programs are individualized for each patient. However, studies have shown that the greatest chance for success comes to those who are in a treatment program for at least a year.
There is a shift to move away from language that continues the stigma associated with addiction. The negative undertone associated with the following words suggests that becoming dependent on an illicit drug or prescribed medication is a moral failing, lack of willpower or choice that a person makes.
- Drug Abuse
A change in the conversation and more education regarding addiction disorders can change the way we view substance use disorder treatment, and make it more readily available to those who need it.
Examples of non-stigmatizing language includes:
- Substance Use Disorder rather than Substance Abuse
- Opiate or Opioid Use Disorder rather than Opiate Addiction
- Person or Patient with Substance Use Disorder rather than Addict or Abuser
- Positive, Negative, Detected Urinalysis rather than Dirty, Clean Urinalysis
- Use or Misuse rather than Abuse
- Medication rather than Drug, when referring to methadone or buprenorphine
When medication-assisted treatment begins to stabilize your life, you can begin to work toward improving your overall health and well-being. This is the time when nutrition, exercise and sleep are key. Healthy foods and plenty of water are the building blocks of the recovery process. Exercise causes the natural production and release of hormones that improve mood and concentration. Sleep is a time of rejuvenation where the body heals from the damage caused by drug and alcohol use.
Many individuals who have been struggling with addiction feel very alone. The relationships with family and friends have likely been strained, and some may seem broken, but it is important to build a strong support group while in treatment. A strong support system can be an important factor in:
- managing the stress of early recovery
- helping to prevent relapse
- encouraging compliance with your chosen treatment program
Accountability and encouragement is key when you are learning to manage your emotions and cope with challenges in healthy ways. Individuals in and out of recovery can provide love, acceptance and hope in times when it’s difficult to find those things within yourself.
Addiction can affect a person both mentally and physically. When a substance is misused, especially for an extended period of time, the structure of the brain changes and cannot function properly without the substance being present in the body.
Our main focus is treatment for those who have an addiction to pain pills, heroin, and other opiates. If you or a loved one are wanting treatment for alcohol or other substances, our clinics can provide resources to help you find the right place.
It has been shown that medication-assisted treatment supported by counseling provides a better experience for patients and lowers the risk of relapse. In addition, some states require that counseling be a part of the treatment plan.
Medication-assisted treatment is an affordable way to recover from addiction. Each of our clinics accept different forms of payment, including insurance and other state funded programs. Click here to find the clinic nearest you to learn more.