Methadone is a synthetic opiate that is used for pain management and for managing withdrawals and an addiction to opiates. Methadone is addictive in itself, but it blocks the opiate sensors for someone who is taking methadone and tries to add an additional opiate for a high. Methadone withdrawal must be supervised and decreased gradually to avoid lethal side effects. Long-term use of methadone for pain management or heroin addiction can result in abuse. For the individual that wishes to be free of chemical dependency, methadone addiction treatment can help to get them clean.
Methadone addiction symptoms include drug-seeking behaviors, continuing to use a drug even when there are dire consequences, and a decreased immune system that invites diseases and illness. Withdrawal symptoms for methadone users can be fever, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose, flu-like aches and pains, and severe nausea. Symptoms often start when the person has stopped taking methadone for 24-30 hours. When an individual has entered a treatment center, medications are given to help with the pain and discomfort of detoxification.
Inpatient residential treatment centers focus on getting the individual clean and sober, teaching avoidance skills, life skills, and coping skills. An effective residential treatment facility will assess the individual for physical disease, nutritional needs, mental health issues, emotional issues, and behavioral problems. Many addicted persons have engaged in illegal activities to purchase their drugs and have made their friendships through the gangs or drug dealers. Therapy for the individual will be conducted, group therapy will be required, and support group attendance will be mandatory daily. The focus in residential treatment is to teach the person coping skills to avoid relapse when they leave the facility. Many treatment centers refer persons to outpatient treatment when they graduate from a residential facility.
Outpatient treatment is available for the person who is clean. There are random and mandatory drug tests for illicit substances. Individual and group counseling attendance are required at least three sessions a week. In addition, the individual is usually required to have employment and be self-supporting in a home that is safe and clean. Support group attendance is also required and proof of attendance is expected. Long-term follow-up through maintenance counseling and supervised phone calls is required for at least six additional months after discharge.
There are also medical and mental health facilities that offer methadone addiction treatment. Hospitals offer detox and a mental health staff for therapy and group counseling. Mental health facilities work with persons who have both addiction and mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Behavioral counseling is just one of the approaches to chemical dependency addiction. The facilities also offer occupational therapy to enhance motor skills that may have been damaged by the long-term use of opiates. Physical therapy is sometimes necessary to build strength from months of malnutrition. Group counseling and social skills are stressed to teach social interaction. Persons that are chemically addicted to methadone need structure and supervision to overcome the obstacles that impair the goal of sobriety. Relapse prevention is best prevented by frequent contact with clean and sober friends.