According to an analysis published on Business Insider, people spend $27 billion annually on heroin, putting their need for drugs above the need for food, an education or rent. Some people even put the need for heroin above the need to live a healthy and productive life. Methadone was designed to help with this problem. This prescription medication works on the same receptors used by heroin, and it’s designed to help addicted people live without the dangerous drug they’ve been using for decades. Unfortunately, there’s some evidence that methadone isn’t working as well as it should.Some people who are given methadone for a heroin addiction find that taking just a little more of the drug, or mixing the drug with other substances of abuse, produces a high that’s similar to a heroin rush. Others, who may have no history of heroin addiction at all, find that taking in methadone produces a sensation of euphoria they’ve simply never experienced before. These users might get their methadone from addicts, or they might get the drug from people with chronic pain conditions.
Abuse of methadone has become so prevalent that a study in the Journal of Pain suggests that it follows only OxyContin and hydrocodone in terms of abuse potential. It’s a serious drug, and addiction is a serious problem, but therapy really can make a big difference.
Breaking the Cycle of Methadone Dependence
Methadone is an opioid drug, and like most opioids, it causes serious discomfort during the withdrawal process. The symptoms are rarely life-threatening, but they can make users feel simply miserable for a week or even longer. In a study in The British Journal of Psychiatry, in fact, experts suggest that withdrawal from methadone is even more uncomfortable than withdrawal from heroin, and heroin is considered one of the most disruptive drugs in terms of withdrawal. Studies like this demonstrate just how bad a methadone comedown can be, and people in discomfort like this might simply return to drugs to make the pain stop.
Some detox facilities provide methadone addicts with a medication to soothe their distress. This medication, buprenorphine, can help the body to make the transition to sobriety slowly, which can allow the brain to adjust without providing huge swells of craving and distress. But medications can be troublesome for some clients, as they may feel as though medications got them into addiction in the first place.
These clients might appreciate medical monitoring, so they’ll have help if symptoms do become intense, but they might benefit from non-drug interventions that reduce discomfort, such as:
- Warm showers or baths
- Bland foods
In about two weeks or less, the symptoms might fade to nothingness, and the person might be ready for the next stage of the healing process.
Rehab for Methadone Addiction
People who dive into methadone addiction may believe that only chemicals can change their brain cells. In reality, just thinking a little differently can bring about intense changes inside the cells of the brain. For example, in a study performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers found that people who thought about the consequences that might befall them if they smoked had milder cravings for cigarettes, when compared to people who thought about how wonderful a cigarette might be. Just thinking differently, focusing on something new, could change the brain. That’s a message people with methadone addictions need to hear.
In rehab, addicted people have the opportunity to work with a variety of mental health professionals, including counselors, psychiatrists and social workers, and together, they help clients to develop a powerful suite of skills they can call upon with the urge to use hits once more. Rather than giving in and feeling helpless, people with addictions to methadone might have real techniques at their fingertips, and they might be less inclined to use as a result.
The right program for a person like this is individualized, meaning that the therapies provided should be based on that addict’s history and that person’s preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a methadone addiction. But clients should also feel empowered to look for the right rehab for them. They should ask questions, take tours, learn more and otherwise get involved in the decision-making process. By really digging deep and thinking about what will make them feel comfortable, they’ll be more likely to choose a program they won’t drop out of, no matter what happens.
If you’re considering a methadone rehab facility, we hope you’ll contact us at Axis. Our luxury, private rehab program provides the healing environment you’ll need as you work on your addiction, and we offer a number of talented mental health professionals who are all ready to develop a customized program just for you. Please call and we’ll tell you more.