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Some experts estimate that 23% of people who have used heroin will end up addicted to opioids. Opioid addiction has been in the news more often recently because it has grown to become a widespread problem. The stereotype of someone addicted to heroin is not what it used to be. The startling images of parents overdosing on opiates in public places with their children nearby have shattered preconceptions. It is therefore vital that treatments for addiction are discussed in detail more often.

What Treatments For Addiction Are the Most Effective?

Treatments for opioid addiction often rely on providing a substitute substance to ease the discomfort of detoxing. A common drug that has been offered to patients for more than 50 years is methadone. While this is a well-respected treatment option, it must be noted that methadone works best when administered by a doctor in a controlled setting. One goal with methadone treatments for addiction is to help the addict get to a place physically where they feel healthy enough to begin counseling and therapy.

How Do Methadone Treatments Work In the Body?

Methadone is a preferred treatment option in opioid addiction cases for two reasons. One, methadone is able to lessen the pain associated with withdrawals. Secondly, the drug blocks the patient’s body from receiving the euphoric effects from opiates. Both of these features are crucial in treating addiction with long-term success.

Methadone is a drug that alters the way the patient’s brain and nervous system react to pain. Patients often fail at quitting heroin or other opioids because the pain and discomfort of detoxing is severe. Methadone treatments for addiction are in part so successful because it helps the patient get through feeling unwell without turning to their heroin or pills for relief.

How Effective Are Methadone Treatments At Easing the Discomfort of Withdrawal?

Methadone treatments are often prescribed to help patients handle the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Some common physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal include: nausea, vomiting, anxiety, dizziness, and chills. The body will crave more opiates to counteract the symptoms. Withdrawal can begin within six to 12 hours in the case of short-acting opioids, and up to 30 hours in the case of long-acting opioids. Methadone takes away the feelings of physical discomfort, and helps the patient’s body block the addicting effects of opiates.

What Are the Limits of Methadone Treatments For Addiction?

Methadone treatments are not a long-term solution. The drug is meant to alleviate the worst of the withdrawal so that the patient is encouraged to continue on with their detox. It is recommended that patients only detox under the supervision of a medical professional. The patient will need not just a prescription, but psychological counseling and assistance as well. True reform comes from addressing the physical and psychological addiction.

Methadone does not cure opiate addiction. It is a drug that can lessen the pain that comes with withdrawal, and help the patient’s body crave their preferred substance less. The treatment must be used alongside counseling or therapy, and under medical supervision to have lasting effects.