Thursday October 2nd 2014

Help for methadone addiction

Methadone addiction help

Methadone is frequently prescribed to treat substance addiction; most commonly for treating opiate withdrawal symptoms. But what do you do if you think you’re addicted to this narcotic painkiller?  Are there signs of opiate addiction even in the medications that are used to treat it?

First off, you are not alone. It is possible to get addicted to methadone.  And treating methadone addiction is similar to other types of opiate addictions.   Here, we look at treatment modalities and useful resources for methadone addicts, friends and family. Then, we invite your questions about methadone at the end.

How to help methadone addiction

The irony of methadone addiction is that methadone is commonly used for the treatment of hard opiate drug addiction. So while treating drug dependencies to morphine or heroin, you can become addicted to your own medicine in a sense. Though methadone use may be considered a lesser evil than cocaine or heroin addiction, it can still have serious consequences such as dangerous changes in heartbeat, liver toxicity, behavioral changes, changes in sleep patterns and sex drive, depression and even death.

So how can you help treat methadone addiction? There are three main ways to help methadone addiction.

1. Taper off methadone use – The first step in addressing methadone addition is to try and taper off the use of the drug with the help of other drugs, counseling and other interventions. The person being treated is advised about the dangerous (and in cases fatal) possible consequences of overdose of methadone and is also told about the importance of using it only as prescribed and is also given information about possible drug interactions. Ask your prescribing doctor for a tapering calendar.

2. Control withdrawal symptoms (short and longer term) – This phase of treatment is oriented towards easing the withdrawal symptoms experienced when a user goes off the drug. Physical stabilization promotes your rehabilitation as a productive and functional member of the community. The aim is to achieve physical and mental stability with the help of a doctor as well as a counselor or psychiatrist who will uncover and treat underlying psychological and emotional issues that may be fueling addiction.

3. Psychological treatment – Further treatment may involve developing coping mechanisms to prevent a relapse into addictive behaviors, healthy responses to stress and the tools to deal with everyday problems without resorting to drugs and medications. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy is seen to be effective in overcoming a range of drug dependencies including methadone. Psychotherapy helps offer insight into the behavior of an addict and also helps create effective measures to prevent relapses.

Getting help for methadone addiction

Overcoming methadone addiction is not going to be easy, but acknowledging the fact that a problem exists and that help is needed, is a huge and very significant first step. And help is at hand within the family, the larger community and from experts who have the knowledge and experience to offer the most effective kind of help. Where can you get help for methadone addiction?

Addiction specialist / Methadone addiction treatment center – Enrolling with an inpatient addiction treatment center is one option. Getting into an outpatient program with an addiction specialist is another. Consider what is best given the circumstances and logistics. Other programs such as 12 set groups, self-help programs, individual counseling, family therapy and group therapy can be a part of treatment.

Friends and family – Friends and family can get involved to help an addict avoid triggers and create safer environments within the home and community – at the workplace, in school or college. Loved one can get involved to help in the recovery process by recognizing enabling behaviors in individuals and helping the addict avoid these. Additionally, a trusted religious or community leader can also help provide wise counsel and spiritual guidance.

Psychiatrist, Psychologist or Social worker – Taking that all important first step towards defeating a methadone addiction means reaching out. A medical processional trained in psychology, a social worker or even a family physician can offer you the guidance you need. These medical and social professionas have wide experience and their medicaltraining could be invaluable to you.

How to help a methadone addict

An intervention by family or friends could be an important first step towards recovery, particularly if the addict is in denial and is evasive about their situation. Some specific ways that you can help a methadone addict are to:

  • Consider family therapy
  • Fix an appointment
  • Get information about addiction resources and get in touch with addiction experts and facilities
  • Help lower stress and triggers within the home or work environments
  • Identify and stop enabling behavior
  • Involve other close family members and friends

Methadone addiction help and help lines

Help for methadone addiction can be just a phone call away. Helpful resources, treatment facilities, contact numbers and are available. Questions and identities can be kept confidential so an addict or anyone close to them can call without hesitation.  24/7 Treatment Referral Line for substance abuse from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – 1-800-622-HELP – more information at SAMHSA treatment website and the find treatment locator page

Help with methadone addiction questions

Things may seem hopeless and overwhelming right now, but help is close at hand. Please share any questions or comments you have on the topic of methadone addiction at the bottom of the page. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Reference Sources: FDA: Public health advisory: Effects of methadone use
NCBI: Use of methadone
SAMHSA: Methadone advisory
CDC: Methadone maintenance treatment
PubMed: Treatment of substance dependence by a bio-cognitive model based on behavioral pharmacology
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16408423

Photo credit: Abulic Monkey

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5 Responses to “Help for methadone addiction
Alexander
9:44 pm August 19th, 2014

Help please!!!! I had been on methadone clinic for 16 long years. I am 39 years old. Last year I decided that enough is enough. I had not used any drugs besides methadone for 7 years. So I started tapering down. It took me a year to come from 125 mg (5-10 mg every other month) to 15. I never felt any discomfort. Until I got dropped from 20-15.And for the first time EVER on methadone‚i started having withdrawal symptoms. Nothing I can’t handle it.I little sweats‚feeling irritable‚RLS..itc.. Its been a week after that drop and I still feel almost the same (maybe little better) But my biggest FEAR is that I hit a WALL ‚and I will be sick like that forever‚after 16 years on M.or my body will eventually adjust to 15.I don’t wanna go up.Uncomfort is not that huge. But will it less forever?! If I knew it will eventually pass,that would give me so much more confidence ‚,knowing I can move down even more but slower next time. But after 7 days‚my body still can’t get use to a new dose. Any advice would be apressiated! God Bless You All!

Alexander
9:56 pm August 19th, 2014

I steel sleep OK at night. Appetite not as good. Like I wrote in my earlier post ‚discomfort is manageable but I don’t know if I will adjust to 15mg.I am so determined to get off M.without switching to Subs.I just want to be drug free as possible.That drop from 20-15 kinda shocked me‚couse I never felt WD until then. So now I feel kinda stocked. I know I can always go up. But I can handle WD.Its just I need to know if my body will adjust or not.If not‚i will probably will have no other choice but to switch to subs.Just wanna be drug free. I will die before I use H again.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
11:49 am August 20th, 2014

Hi Alexander. Have you talked abut this with your doctor? Maybe there is something he can prescribe to help you come off of the methadone completely.

Alexander
10:03 pm August 20th, 2014

Hi.Thank you for your responce! )) Yes‚i just talked to the doctor yes.He said its normal and my body should adjust to 15mg.Today I feel already much better. More energy‚less sweats.Almost feel like I was on 20mg.It feels good to know that my body finally adjusting. It gives me much needed self confidence boost ‚knowing that I can get through this and continue my taper. But I will do it slower next time. Maybe 1-2 mg drop.Meanwhile‚i just try not to think about uncomfort. And it helps a lot! Exercising and taking multi vitamins also helped me.Thanks again for your responce!!! And God Bless!! Alexander.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
6:25 am August 21st, 2014

Alexander, that good to hear. Good luck with tapering down and comming off of methadone completely. Stay strong! You can make it!

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