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Addiction Info

Methadone Addiction Treatment

At GateHouse we understand the struggle that comes along with the cycle of use and abuse of methadone dependency. The hopelessness when users try to get themselves off methadone and go about their lives with addiction still in the forefront of their mind. GateHouse Treatment offers you a way out of the circle of use, relapse, and addiction. Recovery from methadone addiction is possible. Allow us to help you stop digging the hole of addiction and damaging your life and the lives of your loved ones. When adults are ready to overcome methadone addiction, we offer an extensive treatment program that is based on proven and effective methods of addiction treatment. We offer recovery and individualized treatment plans tailored to suit every client personally. GateHouse is invested in helping those struggling with methadone addiction rebuild their lives, and we provide the tools necessary to build off of the foundation lain here. Let GateHouse help you create a house that’s a home for your life, reach out today to take back your life from the grips of addiction.

What is Methadone Addiction?

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid pain medication typically used as a maintenance drug to help those addicted to other opioids such as heroin and is used as a painkiller for moderate to severe long-term pain treatment. Since methadone is still an opioid, there is still a high rate of methadone addiction and abuse, even though prescription and dosage are closely monitored by clinics and doctors who prescribe them. Methadone is a long-acting drug to ease the withdrawal symptoms from those suffering from heroin addiction. Methadone stays in the bloodstream for 1-2 days. Therefore tolerance is quickly built up to the drug. With it still being an opioid, it is addicting, many become dependent on methadone after stopping the use of heroin or other opiates because it acts essentially as a replacement in the body. There are many treatment options for methadone detox and methadone addiction treatment.

Quick Facts About Methadone Addiction and Abuse

• Methadone is involved in one-third of opiate pain reliever-related deaths.
• Methadone is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has legitimate medical and legal use but also has an extremely high likelihood of users developing a dependence on it.
• When methadone is abused or combined with other drugs such as benzos or alcohol it can cause significant problems including overdose and death.
• Methadone has a 22-hour half-life (the amount of time a drug stays in the body before its concentration drops by half)
• The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends a minimum of one year in a methadone maintenance treatment program for the best outcomes.

• In 2005, more than 4000 fatally overdosed on methadone or methadone and combinations of other drugs together.
• Methadone is prescribed in a pill form for the use of long-term pain treatment and in liquid form to help treat addiction to opiate drugs like heroin.
• Methadone clinics will drug test their patients and people can be dropped from methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) if they continuously give a positive drug test.
• Methadone abuse can present similar if not the same side effects as other opioids.
• For methadone to be used as a treatment of opioid addiction the treatment facility administering it must be certified by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to prescribe methadone.

History of Methadone Use and Abuse

In the 1950’s America’s response to heroin addiction was through law and order, most heroin addicts were treated by detox in a jail cell. Treatment for heroin addicts had a meager success rate, with about 70-90 percent of those “treated” returned to drug use. With the escalating drug use in the 1960s and 1970s and U.S soldiers returning from Vietnam with heroin addictions, America finally realized that opiate abuse was a medical issue that required treatment. Methadone’s effectiveness as a treatment for opiate addiction was the answer to the heroin epidemic of that time. In 1971 Richard Nixon implemented the first federal program for methadone treatment. Starting in the 1950s, American doctors were using methadone for treatment of opioid dependence. In 1960 Vincent Dole M.D, of Rockefeller University, won a New York City Health Research Council Grant to study heroin addiction treatment options. Dole eventually discovered the modern-day administration of methadone as a single daily dose to treat opiate addiction. By 1971 the methadone treatment program was being used by 25,000 opiate addicts, by 1973 controversy over the methadone program was being dismissed as just switching addictions and it led to strict government regulations being placed on the prescription and use of methadone.
Today about 500,000 people participate in methadone maintenance treatment programs, but it remains a controversial topic. Those who advocate for harm reduction for heroin and opioid addicts point out the impressive track record and how many people have improved their lives. Those who support abstinence-based treatment for opiate addiction still hold to the belief that it is just switching addictions. There are methadone addiction treatments available for people who are completing an MMT program or for those who are struggling with methadone abuse.

Physiology and Side Effects of Methadone Addiction and Abuse

Being as methadone is an opioid, it reacts to the opioid receptors in the brain, although compared to other opioids and opiates such as heroin it only produces a mild (or no) euphoria. It increases the amount of dopamine and endorphins in the brain that is naturally produced to offer pain relief and calming the body. When someone is dependent on other narcotics, methadone taken in controlled doses, it can significantly reduce cravings for other opiates. When methadone is abused and taken with no prescription or more than is prescribed is taken it amplifies the effects to the point of it being detrimental to the user. When someone abuses methadone, it can have very adverse side effects like other opioids and can become highly addictive.
With a repeated dosage of methadone, a tolerance is developed, and users require more to achieve the same pain relief or high from methadone. Common side effects of methadone abuse are:
• Dry mouth
• Lack of coordination
• Depressed respiratory function
• Constipation
• Drowsiness
• Depressed heart rate
• Pinned pupils
• Overdose

Understanding Methadone Abuse and Methadone Addiction

When methadone is taken for extended amounts of time it causes the users’ mind and body to become dependent on the effects it produces on the user. This results in addiction in the user, some use methadone without a prescription this is abuse and it can and usually does result in addiction. Many of the people who fail with MMT programs end up resorting back to other narcotics and illicit drugs such as heroin which they were trying to get treatment for in the first place. Since methadone is an opioid when it is stopped it causes cravings, and the painful withdrawal process from opiates starts to occur. This leads back to the dangerous cycle of use and abuse that is an addiction, if you or a loved one is seeking methadone addiction treatment there are many options to choose from. The best place to start is a methadone detox program to get users back to a baseline so they can safely get through the withdrawal process. At GateHouse we offer a medical detox program to help get clients out of the vicious cycle of opiate abuse.

Methadone Abuse Symptoms

Abuse of methadone has very similar side effects to that of every other opioid and opiate that is abused. Since it can also be a prescribed medication there are some side effects that are limited to that of prescription drug abuse.  Here are common side effects and symptoms of methadone abuse:

Mood

• Euphoric mood
• Mood swings
• Lowered motivation
• Irritability
• Forgetfulness

• Change in patterns
• Increased sleeping
• Lowered inhibitions
• Aloofness
• Improved self-esteem

Behavioral

• Hoarding of medications
• Going to multiple doctors for the same medication
• Nodding off at inappropriate times
• Miscellaneous pills being hidden
• Purchasing prescription methadone on the street

• Drug-seeking behaviors
• Crushing or breaking pills
• Wearing long sleeves in warm weather (to hide track marks)
• Changes in eating habits
• Changes in sleep patterns

Physical

• Constricted pupils
• Constipation
• Slowed breathing
• Flushed skin
• Oversleeping

• Fatigue
• Tolerance to normal dosage
• Unexplained itchiness
• Lack of coordination
• Bruises and track marks (from IV abuse of methadone)

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