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Is Methadone The Answer to Lasting Heroin Addiction Recovery?

2/21/20

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Drug overdoses resulted in 52,404 deaths in 2015, and "heroin-related overdose deaths increased five-fold from 2010 to 2017," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Today, it remains the number one cause of accidental death in the United States.

Heroin is one of the most dangerous opioids. Derived from morphine, it is a naturally occurring substance found in opium poppy seed plants. Opioids like heroin are extremely dangerous, and 90% of people addicted to heroin report using at least one other drug.

Heroin attacks the brain, permanently damaging the parts responsible for mood regulation, decision-making, and stress response. It is also profoundly and deeply addictive. Extreme physical dependence and an ever-increasing tolerance for the drug are the norm.

What Is Methadone?

If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin addiction, you may wonder if there is any hope of recovery. Rest assured, it is very possible to recover from opiate addiction! One of the most effective ways to do it is with methadone treatment or methadone rehab.

Methadone is a prescription drug with high success rates treating opioid and heroin addiction. In methadone rehab, patients are treated with measured amounts of methadone under supervision. These treatments are often supplemented with therapy.

Methadone is a form of safe substitution therapy. What does that mean? The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) describes methadone as a "full opiate agonist." As an opiate agonist, methadone prevents those in recovery from feeling a high from heroin and other opiates. Plus, methadone targets the same brain receptors as other opioids. In other words, methadone ticks off the same boxes in the brain--and beats cravings--without causing undue harm.

Conquering Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal is one of the leading barriers to recovery. Heroin withdrawal symptoms may include night sweats, shaking, clamminess, gagging, vomiting, nightmares, insomnia, muscle cramps, paranoia, anxiety, depression, seizure, and hallucinations. With such a wide array of unpleasant symptoms to power through, it is no wonder that many people begin using again to avoid or curtail these symptoms.

That is where methadone and methadone rehab comes in. With carefully measured and pre-approved doses of methadone, recovering addicts are unlikely to feel the worst symptoms of withdrawal. With painful and troubling withdrawal symptoms no longer in the equation, the chances of lasting recovery are much, much higher. Plus, patients are able to slowly wean off methadone--if they would like--as their treatment progresses.

What To Expect From Successful Treatment

Successful methadone rehab packs a lot of potential advantages. Here are a few:

  • There is a 60 to 90% of successful methadone treatment. The longer a patient continues with it, the greater the chance of his or her success.
  • With methadone treatment, recovering patients are more likely to enjoy secure, reliable employment and maintain stronger relationships with friends and family.
  • Those in treatment are less likely to take part in criminal activity.
  • Patients choosing methadone for treatment are more likely to stick with their treatment plans for longer than patients on other medications or medication-free treatment plans.

Currently, methadone is markedly under-utilized! Although it is extremely effective and safe, a mere 12.5% of patients in treatment receive methadone treatment options. That needs to change--especially given that patients undergoing methadone treatments are "76% less likely to overdose within three months and 59% less likely to overdose within a year," according to U.S. News.

Ask your doctor or doctors about the safest and most effective options for opiate detox. Do not forget to ask about the advantages of methadone!


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