Drug Treatment

Methadone Treatment

Methadone is defined by Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary as a potent synthetic narcotic drug, C21H27NO, which is less addictive than morphine or heroin and is used as a substitute for these drugs in addiction treatment programs. It may also be used for chronic pain management. Many people with an addiction to opiates use methadone treatment as a maintenance program to get off heroin, lortab, oxycontin, etc.

In methadone treatment a person will take an oral dose once a day. What the methadone does is suppress narcotic withdrawal for anywhere from 24 to 36 hours. The methadone is taken in place of the narcotic drug the person is addicted to. Methadone is effective in eliminating withdrawal symptoms so it is used to detoxify opiate addicts. Methadone treatment is a drug replacement therapy.

Methadone reduces the cravings that withdrawing from heroin and other opiates and blocks the high that the opiates produce. Methadone does not provide the euphoric rush that some of the opiates cause. Also, methadone is only effective in cases with addiction to heroin, morphine and other opioid drugs.

Since people using methadone treatment do not experience the rollercoaster of the highs and lows with opiate addiction that heroin and other opiates cause they are more likely able to get back a normal routine in life. Overall the person is physically dependent on the methadone but they are not acting out in compulsive and disruptive behavior seen in heroin and other opiate addicts.

Withdrawing from methadone is much slower than heroin, so if a person decides to use methadone treatment to get off of heroin, etc. they may need the methadone treatment maintenance for several years. It is replacing one dependency for another. However, methadone provides a person the ability to get back in control of their life and not be controlled by the drugs.

If a dose is missed one day the person should be alright and not experience withdrawal symptoms. However, missing two days in a row the person will start to have the physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal which can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold chills and sweats, bones that feel like glass and will shatter with the lightest touch, insomnia, leg jerks, irritability and depression. These symptoms will continue for a few days to a week plus if the person does not take their methadone or get their opiates.

The severity of the withdrawal from heroin and opiates is the major reason a person will begin methadone treatment. Methadone treatment also provides some normalcy in the addicts’ life which had formally been ruled by their need for more heroin or other opiates. If a person chooses methadone treatment they also must make the decision they are ready to change their life and be willing to do whatever it takes to not return to heroin or the other opiates.