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Pros and Cons of Methadone Use in Addiction Treatment

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There are few medical treatments that do not come with pros and cons. The largest pro would be the successful treatment of a disease or condition. The cons, on the other hand, can be severe side effects, high cost and even dependency. When evaluating treatment protocols for substance use disorders, the risk of dependency has to be considered.

There is a continuing controversy regarding addiction treatment for opioids that involves the use of methadone. You might be familiar with the concept of a methadone clinic to assist in stopping a dependence on common opioids like prescription pain medications and heroin.

Methadone Controversy

Methadone is part of the opioid family and provides a similar relief from pain as do other opioids by changing the way your brain responds to pain to lessen the effect of the pain sensation. The difference between methadone and its opiate counterparts is in length of effect. Methadone is considered a long-acting opioid, meaning that the intense cravings for another dosage are less when compared to the rapid rise and crushing fall of heroin.

The fact that methadone is part of the same family as some of the most addictive substances leads to many questions:

  • Is methadone just a substitute of one opioid for another?
  • Can you truly treat an opioid use disorder in a residential addiction treatment program by prescribing another opioid?
  • Is this a way for a substance use disorder to live on in a different form despite the supervision of addiction treatment professionals?
  • What is the true potential for methadone addiction?

Methadone as an Opioid Antagonist

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone is not an opioid substitute when used in a controlled manner as prescribed by a medical professional. Methadone is, instead, considered an opiate agonist that will prevent you from being able to achieve a high from other opiates when you use it. When properly used in addiction treatment, methadone can be a tool to hold individuals accountable during recovery by removing all of the perceived rewards from substance misuse. This is a benefit of using methadone in addiction treatment.

Methadone can be an ally when used by professionals in a licensed and certified center. When not used in the manner in which it is prescribed, however, methadone can be an addictive substance that could require its own treatment.

Tremors, seizures, losing consciousness and irregular and erratic heartbeat are just some of the potential side effects of methadone when it is not taken as directed. There could be no greater “con” in recovery than to become addicted to something designed to help free you from a substance use disorder, especially when the result could be fatal.

When used in conjunction with a professional addiction treatment program, methadone can help many people end the cycle of opioid misuse. If you are battling a substance use disorder, addiction treatment can help. Find out how a residential treatment facility can provide you with the tools needed to achieve and maintain long-term addiction recovery. Contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today.