How Does Methadone Treatment Work as a Heroin Addiction Treatment?
Opiate drugs, as a group cover a wide spectrum of both prescription-based and illicit substances, with heroin ranking as one of the most addictive. Surprisingly, most all opiates share a potential for abuse and addiction regardless of any one drug’s legal status.
First developed in the 1960s, methadone exists as the very first medication specifically formulated to treat severe cases of opiate addiction. How does methadone treatment work as a heroin addiction treatment? Compared to other approaches, methadone treatment offers certain key benefits that other programs don’t.
Heroin Addiction’s Pull
Over the course of the past decade, prescription drug abuse rates have gradually given way to a full-blown heroin epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, heroin abuse rates have more than doubled among adults aged 18 to 25 since 2005.
It doesn’t take very long at all before frequent heroin use starts to exert a hold over a person’s ability to manage drug-using behaviors. Heroin’s effects essentially reconfigure the brain’s chemical pathways to the point where normal brain functioning comes to rely on the drug’s presence and effects.
After a certain point, the resulting damage changes the brain’s structure as well as the way it works. This damage often has long-term effects, making it increasingly difficult for those in recovery to maintain abstinence for any length of time.
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Methadone Treatment’s Role
Relief from Withdrawal & Drug Cravings Effects
How does methadone treatment work ties in directly with the damage left behind by heroin’s effects. Methadone, a synthetic opiate agent, produces effects similar to heroin in terms of its ability to interact with the same brain chemical functions.
Rather than over-stimulate brain chemical activities, methadone supports damaged chemical pathways by helping brain cells secrete normal levels of neurotransmitter chemicals. Methadone does this without producing a “high” effect or posing a high risk for abuse or addiction.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, methadone’s ability to stabilize brain chemical activities provides much needed relief from persistent withdrawal and drug cravings effects commonly experienced in recovery.
Psychosocial Treatment Interventions
Heroin addiction breeds psychological dependency as well as physical dependence, with psychological dependence being the driving force behind an addiction problem. Addressing heroin’s role as a means for coping with daily life pressures becomes the second component behind how does methadone treatment work.
Methadone treatment programs use psychosocial treatment interventions to help recovering addicts identify addiction-based behaviors and thinking patterns and replace them with coping skills for living daily life on a drug-free basis. Ultimately, this part of methadone treatment works to reinforce methadone’s therapeutic effects.
If you or someone you know are considering methadone treatment and have more questions or need help finding a program that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360 to speak with one of our addiction specialists.