what is methadone/addiction a disease

What is Methadone? Understanding Medication Assisted Treatment

24% of the US adult population has experienced the effects of addiction to heroin or other opioids. Whether it’s a sibling, friend, or spouse, the detrimental effects of addiction are long-lasting and require therapy like medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to overcome.

One of the primary drugs used in a medication-assisted treatment plan is methadone. Physicians prescribe it today to help patients fight their opioid addiction.

But what is methadone exactly? And how can it help?

Start your recovery journey today. Keep reading to learn more about methadone and how medication-assisted treatment plans can help you.

MAT: The “Whole-Patient” Approach to Recovery

You’ve likely come across the term “medication-assisted treatment” while researching treatment plans for opioid addiction. Do you wonder if it’s the plan you need?

The truth is that drug addictions are complex and need complex treatment plans to heal the layers of emotional, mental, and physical trauma. No two treatment plans are the same, and you’ll want to choose what’s best for you (or your loved one).

That’s where MAT comes in–it takes the “whole-patient” approach to recovery. Medication-assisted treatment plans include prescription medication to ease the physical effects of addiction, and it also includes psychological counseling to help patients get the mental and emotional stability they need.

It’s a treatment plan that gives patients a more rounded-out recovery plan. MAT incorporates three important elements:

1. A prescribed medication, such as methadone, that makes opioid withdrawal less painful. It normalizes brain chemistry, relieves physiological cravings, and blocks the “high” from opioids. It also blocks the emotional pain that arises during withdrawal.

2. Counseling that deals with the underlying cause of the patient’s opioid addiction.

3. Behavioral therapy to help patients overcome destructive behaviors and mentalities.

The success of behavioral counseling rests upon the success of the medication. Different types of medications and different dosages are available to patients. It’s important to choose a medication that is right for the patient’s recovery needs.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is one of three FDA-approved drugs used for medication-assisted treatments. It’s a synthetic opioid drug that patients take instead of heroin or other addictive substances.

How Does Methadone Work?

It’s an effective painkiller and coping mechanism. It reduces heroin withdrawal symptoms and helps patients cope with emotional pain during treatment.

Once methadone reaches a high level in the patient’s blood, they begin to experience its benefits. Their heroin cravings go away and they can live a more balanced life without the chaos caused by taking heroin.

Is Methadone Safe?

Patients who use methadone as part of their MAT plan are less exposed to the physical harm caused by injecting heroin. Instead of using infected needles, patients who take methadone receive specific oral doses within a safe clinic.

And you don’t have to worry about an overdose. Dosages come in different forms: flavored syrups, tablets, or powders. Licensed nurses measure them out and give them to each patient in a safe environment.

During treatments, patients visit their doctor and therapists for check-ups. Each step in their journey is planned out and safe.

How Long Does Methadone Last?

Patients only have to take the drug once a day because the effects of methadone last longer than heroin. Instead of stopping several times during the day for a dose of heroin, individuals can focus on other activities like school or work. They don’t have to worry about when or where they’ll get their next dosage.

Methadone also levels out the extreme highs and lows of normal heroin usage. Patients can live out a more balanced lifestyle–both physically and mentally. Using methadone helps individuals return to a normal and healthy life in their own time.

Physicians will schedule treatment plans for as long as the patient needs. With success, individuals can achieve full recovery and live a healthy lifestyle both during and after treatment.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT)

Since 1972, thousands of individuals have taken methadone as a recovery prescription for opioid addictions. It’s not only easier for the mental and physical withdrawal pain, but it’s also safer for individuals to take.

Remember, the goal of treatment plans like methadone maintenance treatment is to achieve full recovery.

Individuals who choose methadone maintenance treatment are choosing a treatment plan that lasts long-term. With dedication, it can enable them to overcome their addiction to opioids. There is no rush to achieve full health and patients are taken care of for as long as they need.

The length of this treatment plan is different for every patient. Physicians plan out the prescription, the dosage, and other therapies needed. Once prescribed, patients must receive the dosage by a licensed nurse and attend counseling.

Recover From Opioid Addiction

Choosing the right treatment plan and medication is an important step in the healing process. In fact, your healing journey begins by asking important questions like “Which medication-assisted treatments are available for me?” or “What is methadone and how can it help?”

Methadone has been used for over 40 years to treat patients with opioid addiction, but there are other prescription drugs available as well. These drugs are safe to use and help individuals recover. Your doctor will prescribe the best medicine and treatment plan for you.

Medication-assisted treatments are available to individuals suffering from opioid addiction. In fact, there are over 14,000 rehabilitation clinics open in the US today. Speak with a doctor to find out which treatment options are available and to learn more about medications to help with opioid withdrawal.

Ready to start your recovery journey? Find a medication-assisted clinic near you.

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