Are you considering Methadone for opioid treatment? Methadone has had a negative stigma for decades, but it has produced positive results for many in recovery. 

You may have heard that Methadone is the same thing as heroin, but it is not. 

You may be afraid of becoming addicted to Methadone, but methadone is much safer than using illicit drugs.

If you have tried other forms of treatment, but always return to using, Methadone may be the best option for you.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Methadone Treatment?

The best candidate for Methadone treatment is someone who has been using consistently for at least the last year. They typically have multiple failed attempts at treatment in the past. A history of overdoses and even legal issues are also very common. 

How Does Methadone Treatment Work?

Methadone treatment is medically supervised by a physician trained in addiction. When it is time to taper off the medication, the physician will continue to monitor your progress to help ensure success and maintain sobriety. 

Quitting Methadone on your own isn’t recommended and will cause you to go into withdrawal. The truth is, most medications are not supposed to be stopped “cold turkey” due to negative side effects. Methadone is no different.

Why We Recommend Methadone Treatment

Our Clinical Director, Christi Nelson, has been working with substance abusers in treatment for the last 13 years. Here’s what she has to say about Methadone Treatment:

I have worked in many levels of treatment and had many patients with opiate addiction. With the experience I have, I became a true believer in Methadone treatment.

I’ve had patients with a history of treatment, overdoses, and incarceration, who still returned to using. Methadone was the only thing they hadn’t tried. Now, I see some of those patients graduating college, getting married, finding jobs, being promoted, and raising families.

Methadone has not only saved many lives, but it has allowed people to improve the quality of their life and find happiness. While many people are skeptical of medication assisted treatments, there are significant reasons why someone should consider it an option.

In fact, according to Dr. Michael Carlton, Methadone has a 60-90% success rate

A common misconception that people have about Methadone is that it’s just legal heroin. This isn’t true. Methadone is controlled by a physician and monitored strictly. The patient is placed on a therapeutic dose which prevents them from getting high, but allows them to function normally.

What Are the Side Effects Of Methadone?

Many patients are resistant to taking Methadone, but the side effects of Methadone are minimal compared to the dangers of opioid use. Common side effects are:

  • Constipation 
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness 
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

If any side effects are experienced, they’re typically seen at the beginning of treatment and quickly lessen. 

Side effects of Methadone won’t cause relapse. The medication won’t cause you to crave opioids and will, in fact, reduce cravings for use. It also eliminates withdrawal symptoms, which cause much more discomfort than any side effects from Methadone itself.

How To Manage the Side Effects of Methadone

All medication used to treat addiction has side effects. These side effects vary by patient and often go away quickly. They are typically not problematic long term. There are things you can do to treat the side effects until they lessen or go away.

For example, a good multi-vitamin will help with many of the side effects from Methadone. Keeping hydrated and getting plenty of rest will also help your body adjust to the medication.

Is Methadone Treatment Worth It?

So, you may be ask yourself if Methadone treatment is worth dealing with the side effects. Absolutely it is! I always find it interesting when someone who has been dealing with abscesses and infections from IV drug use is considering the side effects of Methadone as a reason to not receive treatment.

The side effects are only a minor inconvenience, but will give you the opportunity to focus your energy on recovery rather than focusing on withdrawal and cravings to use.

If you have been in residential treatment three or four times, what makes you think the fifth time will magically work? If you have been in an outpatient therapy program three or four times, what makes you think the fifth time will magically work?

If you are afraid of Methadone as a treatment option, I recommend you ask yourself what you have to lose at this point. If you continue using heroin, you will either go to jail or die. Remember this… “If you want what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done”. 

If you’re not sure about using Methadone as a tool to aid you in recovery, please do some research. Don’t just ask your friends. You need to get facts from reliable sources. Call your local clinic and ask questions. Make an informed decision.