How Do the Effects of Methadone Help?

For most, if not all, opiate addicts, the fear of withdrawal and overwhelming drug cravings stand between them and the prospect of living a drug-free life. Opiates not only hijack normal brain functions, but also leave addicts in a physically and psychologically weakened state.

Methadone, a synthetic opiate medication, has a long track record when it comes to helping recovering addicts maintain sobriety on a long-term basis. As a treatment medication, the effects of methadone specifically address the barriers addicts face in recovery.

medication therapy for opiate addiction

Methadone helps people participate in parts of their lives that they may not have been able to while in active addiction.

While a certain degree of resolve and determination greatly increases a person’s chance of success, the effects of methadone go a long way towards supporting his or her efforts.

Methadone Treatment

Opiate effects on the brain make it all but impossible for someone to go “cold turkey” and maintain abstinence for any length of time. Likewise, tapering opiate dosage amounts leaves addicts susceptible to withdrawal effects, drug cravings as well as the environmental influences that trigger drug cravings. For these reasons, opiate addiction treatment approaches tend to rely more so on replacement therapies than other treatment methods.

According to the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the effects of methadone work to replace opiate drug effects. When administered through a methadone maintenance program, the effects of methadone combined with ongoing psychotherapy and support group work provide a recovering addict with the best chance of living drug-free life.

Withdrawal & Drug Cravings

As a synthetic opiate medication, the effects of methadone simulate the effects of addictive opiate drugs in terms of preventing withdrawal and cravings effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Unlike addictive opiate drugs, methadone doesn’t produce a “high” effect, which accounts for its low addiction potential.

As a long-term, maintenance treatment, the effects of methadone greatly reduce the likelihood of relapse for people coming off severe opiate addictions. Methadone also has a slow-acting effect, so recovering addicts only need take one dose per day.

Psychological & Social Supports

For people considering methadone as a long-term treatment solution, methadone maintenance programs provide psychological and social supports that help to further participants along in the recovery process. As addiction encompasses both a physical and a psychological dependency, compulsive drug-seeking behaviors can still pose a risk for relapse, even when the effects of methadone are working.

Throughout the course of the program, recovering addicts undergo intensive psychotherapy treatment made up of both individual and group sessions. Social supports in the form of regular 12-Step support group attendance enables participants to develop the types of coping behaviors and interpersonal skills needed to build a drug-free life.

Lifestyle Effects of Methadone

After months or years of living with an opiate addiction, a person’s lifestyle inevitably reflects what’s most important in his or her life: getting and using drugs. More oftentimes than not, the addiction lifestyle is characterized by –

  • Problems at work or loss of a job
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial difficulty
  • A “less than reputable” circle of friends

People receiving methadone treatment no longer experience the types of drug cravings that drive them to neglect friends, family and work. The effects of methadone make it possible to develop a healthy, productive lifestyle made up of genuine relationships with others and real world plans for the future.

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