Last updated: 07/15/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Methadone treatment is one of the oldest forms of pharmacological drug treatment. It was first developed in the 1960s, and years of research and development have made methadone treatment an effective way to help addicts overcome opiate addiction.
Addictions that can be treated with methadone include heroin, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl and other opiates. It may be used as an aid during detox as it mitigates withdrawal symptoms, or as a long-term treatment to help prevent relapse into drug abuse.
Methadone’s effects as a treatment drug offer many benefits for people unable to stop using on their own.
Of all the other types of addictive drugs on the market, opiates in particular form a natural affinity with the brain’s chemical processes. The chemical structure of opiates closely resembles the brain’s own endorphin chemicals. With continued use, the brain responds to opiates in the same way if responds to its own natural chemicals.
Stopping opiates “cold turkey” throws brain chemical processes into a state of total disarray that quickly takes the form of distressing withdrawal effects. This drastic change leaves addicts in a hopelessly weakened state that works against any attempt at abstinence.
Opiate addiction methadone treatment counteracts distressing drug effects. This mechanism of action enables recovering addicts to exert some degree of control over the urge to use. For many people, methadone treatment offers the only viable means for breaking an opiate addiction lifestyle.
- Reduces withdrawal symptoms
- Reduces drug cravings
- Helps to prevent relapse
- Long-lasting effects allow it to be taken just once a day
- Slow-acting property prevents patients from getting high off of methadone
As a replacement therapy, methadone treatment can reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as well as curb a person’s urge to use.
Methadone consists of a synthetic opiate substance that produces some of the same effects as other addictive opiates. In effect, the brain interacts with methadone in the same way it does other opiate drugs. This makes for an effective replacement therapy for treating opiate addiction.
How is Methadone Different from Other Opiates?
The main difference between methadone and other opiates is methadone’s slow-acting effects. As a slow-acting drug, addicts only need to take a daily dose to reap its therapeutic effects. Methadone’s slow-acting formula also prevents addicts from getting “high” off the drug, which greatly reduces its addictive potential.
- Opiate detox treatment
- Long term treatment for opiate addiction
- Treatment for chronic pain
Methadone’s therapeutic effects provide an effective detox treatment solution as well as a long-term treatment option. For detox treatment purposes, methadone’s immediate effects help ease recovering addicts through the withdrawal stage while reducing ongoing drug cravings.
For long-term treatment purposes, the methadone maintenance treatment approach works especially well for people who’ve come off a long history of opiate drug use. With long-term addictions, recovering addicts often contend with withdrawal effects long after the detox stage has ended. Methadone can help reduce withdrawal effects on a long-term basis.
Methadone maintenance treatment also addresses the psychological aspects of addiction in terms of breaking the “mind’s” dependency on the drug. With long-term use, addicts come to believe they need the drug to make it through the day. Methadone maintenance approaches employ psychosocial treatment techniques to help recovering addicts overcome their “belief” in the drug’s effects.