Why Do I Have to Go to a Methadone Clinic Every Day?
Methadone belongs to the Schedule II class of controlled opiate substances, which can make for a high abuse and addiction potential when not properly monitored. As a powerful opiate drug, methadone’s unique chemical formulation offers an effective opiate addiction treatment therapy as well as a powerful pain-relief agent.
Under federal regulations, methadone clinics act as the sole distribution points for administering methadone for addiction treatment purposes. Methadone clinics also provide a range of treatment services that, when combined with methadone’s effects, equip recovering addicts with the tools needed to overcome drug-using behaviors in their everyday lives.
For these reasons, daily attendance at methadone clinics not only works to ensure a person’s safety, but also helps a person overcome the damaging effects of opiate addiction in his or her daily life.
Methadone’s Therapeutic Effects
People who most benefit from methadone clinic treatment have come off a long history of opiate abuse, oftentimes having undergone drug treatment attempts multiple times in the past. Chronic, long-term opiate abuse essentially changes the brain’s chemical and structural makeup over time, leaving recovering addicts at a severe disadvantage in terms of the damaging aftereffects had on brain function.
In effect, brain cells can no longer produce needed neurotransmitter chemical on their own, so some form of physical support is needed to restore the brain to a normal functional capacity. According to the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, as a synthetic opiate drug, methadone tricks the brain by producing effects similar to addictive opiates while posing a considerably lower risk of abuse and addiction.
Methadone’s effects per dose last for 24 to 36 hours, which accounts for the once daily visit to the methadone clinic. While this may seem like a hassle, addictive opiates like heroin and oxycodone require multiple “fixes” per day to maintain the drug’s effects. Methadone rather produces long-acting effects that only require a once daily dosing schedule.
Methadone Clinic Services
Daily methadone clinic visits not only provide a person with his or her daily dose of the drug, but also provide other equally important psychosocial-based treatment services. Psychosocial-based services treat the psychological aftereffects of opiate addiction, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Psychological aftereffects show up inside a person’s thinking, motivations and behavior from day to day, some of which include:
- An inability to experience any sense of joy or contentment
- Constantly thinking about drug use
- Drug cravings
Addressing this “mindset” proves crucial to helping a person work through the root of the addiction problem. In turn, methadone clinics require patients to attend psychotherapy, group therapy, drug education and support groups as a condition of receiving the methadone treatment drug. In effect, methadone’s effects combined with daily psychosocial treatment interventions offer recovering addicts the best chance of managing drug-using urges in their daily lives.
As methadone clinic treatment exists as one of a handful of opiate addiction treatment medications, this particular approach may not work for everyone. Overall, it’s not uncommon for methadone clinic treatment to be the treatment of last resort in cases where a person has exhausted all other treatment options.
If you or someone you know is considering methadone treatment and have more questions about how it works, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.