My Friend Got Addicted to Methadone While in Treatment: Will that Happen to Me?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Recent reports have highlighted the potential dangers, including death, of the improper use (or abuse) of methadone.” These reports, coupled with the fact that methadone is one of the two most highly abused drugs in the country, cause many to wonder if they could possibly become addicted to the drug as well. Unfortunately, it is common to know a person who has abused or become addicted to the drug, but it is still important to remember that people only become addicted to methadone if they use the drug improperly.

The Proper Use of Methadone Treatment

methadone addiction potential

When taken as prescribed, methadone is an effective treatment that won’t lead to addiction.

Methadone should only be used to treat several different conditions, as described by the National Library of Medicine:

  • It can be used as a pain reliever for people “who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications.”
  • It can be used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are in medically assisted withdrawal or detox programs.
  • It can be used as a maintenance medication for individuals in long-term opioid addiction treatment.

Although it may, in some rare cases, be prescribed for other uses, methadone is usually only prescribed when absolutely necessary due to its high abuse rate. However, the drug is extremely beneficial in the treatment of opioid addiction and dependence, and the use of it is not the same as swapping one addiction for another, as many people believe.

The proper use of methadone treatment is key to avoiding any issues with addiction. Though you will likely become dependent on the medication as you are receiving treatment, this will not interfere with your daily life and certainly not cause you as many problems as your previous opioid abuse did. As long as you take the medication as prescribed and then slowly begin to withdraw from it when the time is right under the care of your doctor, you will not become addicted to the drug.

How Can I Know I Won’t Get Addicted?

As stated by the NIDA, “The increased incidence of adverse methadone-related consequences demands that we intensify our efforts to mitigate its potential misuse or abuse, starting with physician and patient education.” By going to your clinic every day, being open and honest with your doctor about your needs, and never straying from you’re your prescribed dosage unless your doctor makes a specific change to it, you can avoid any issues with abuse and addiction. It is important for both patients and doctors to understand this distinction.

“That said, we must not lose sight of methadone’s powerful benefits as a therapeutic medication for both pain and addiction.” Because many people fear this drug and the issues it may cause, they do not see how helpful it can be. We must begin to take the stigma away from methadone treatment. Many individuals receive help from these programs for months or years and never become addicted to the drug. As long as you avoid abusing methadone, you will see likely the same, positive results.

Do You Need Methadone Maintenance Treatment?

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