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Is Methadone the Best Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Methadone maintenance treatment has been used since the 1960s to treat opiate and opioid addiction. Heroin is a very addictive opioid which causes tolerance and dependence in long-term users.
Methadone can be a helpful treatment for many people addicted to heroin, depending on their needs and the use of other treatments as a supplement.
Is Methadone Treatment Right for Me?
It is important to remember that "no single treatment is appropriate for everyone" (NIDA). Treatment for drug addiction is complex, and heroin addiction is no exception. What may be the best treatment for you may not be for another person.
While methadone treatment can be beneficial for many individuals, it is part of a bigger treatment regimen called methadone maintenance treatment. If you are considering methadone maintenance treatment for heroin addiction, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I really serious about ending my abuse of heroin?
- Have I tried other treatment methods in the past and not succeeded?
- Do I believe that visiting an outpatient facility every day will be beneficial to my recovery?
- Do I understand the necessary procedures that go along with methadone maintenance treatment?
- Do I have a good support system who will help me work through my recovery and treatment?
- Will I use the medication as directed by the health care professionals prescribing it?
What is Methadone Maintenance Treatment?
Methadone maintenance treatment is used as a long-term treatment for injection drug users, like those who abuse heroin, to "reduce or stop injecting and return to productive lives" (CDC). The drug is taken daily in order to:
- Block "the euphoric and sedating effects of opiates."
- Curb the cravings and desire for heroin, helping to keep a person from relapsing.
- Be given in small enough doses that it is "excreted slowly" and doesn't cause the euphoria caused by heroin.
This treatment also includes classes on "resocialization and vocational training" as well as therapy sessions, usually in groups. Patients are often given routine drug tests in order to make sure that they are using the prescriptions correctly and that they have not fallen into relapse.
Methadone maintenance treatment helps prevent many of the concerning factors during rehab, such as relapse and overdose. It can be an incredibly beneficial treatment for many individuals who need long-term maintenance for their addictions.
Stigmas Associated with Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Many people feel that the only way to true recovery is to work toward total abstinence from the drug, which makes them skeptical of methadone maintenance treatment.
Still others struggle with the withdrawal symptoms caused by methadone when trying to quit treatment. When considering whether or not to begin this treatment, you must truly ask yourself what is best for you. If you need a more regimented long-term approach to your recovery from heroin and you cannot quit opiates altogether, this treatment would be very beneficial to you. You must take it seriously, though, if you want the right effects from treatment.
If you believe that methadone maintenance treatment is right for you, visit Treatment Centers Directory and find a methadone maintenance clinic near you.