The Good News Anyone looking for a high wants to feel the euphoria, no matter how temporary, associated with drugs and alcohol. It’s a way to minimize the pressures of everyday life while finding a few moments of peace and happiness. Many such turn to heroin and prescription pain killers, opiates, which are known to completely deaden pain and provide instant bliss. Unfortunately, opiates also create a psychological and emotional need (addiction) that has to be filled at ever lessening time increments or the addict faces the pain of withdrawal. For people who are addicted to opiates, methadone can seem to be a miracle drug. It takes away the pain of withdrawal and it blocks the physical need to get high. It works by filling the same receptors in the brain that other opiates engage and doesn’t allow the more harmful opiates a chance to take effect. But there are possible downsides also. The Dark Side of Methadone If the drug is used as prescribed by a doctor, there is almost no chance of addiction. Doctors who have been trained in the use of methadone understand the dose requirements and never allow their patients to have more than is immediately necessary. If you follow instructions and only take the dose provided, you should be able to progress smoothly to recovery and a better life. But methadone can’t stop the emotional need created by addiction. Your mind will start playing tricks because just managing the addiction isn’t enough. You may feel false withdrawal symptoms or have emotional pain that hasn’t yet been dealt with. So you start to take a little more methadone than was prescribed. It doesn’t have the same strong euphoric effects as other opiates, but at least you feel better for a short period of time. Slowly, you revert back to the same addictive behavior that marked your initial problem. You have become addicted to methadone. So, Methadone Can’t be as Bad as Heroin…Can It? How “bad” a substance is can’t be calculated by the addictive effect or even the negative aspects of withdrawal. It can only be truly defined as a deficit to quality of life. When thought of in this way, every addiction is “bad” and none is worse than another. All addictive substances and actions demand control and will eventually assert themselves. Methadone, in this way, is no different than any other addiction. Another issue…there is some evidence that methadone detox takes longer than that from other opiates and withdrawal can be much worse. Withdrawal happens when an addict or abuser has discontinued use of the drug for a period of time (sometimes as little as a few hours without the drug). Withdrawal from methadone can cause irritability, insomnia, excessive sweating, increased blood pressure, anxiety and other symptoms. The problem is that since methadone is long-acting, the drug stays in the user’s system longer and withdrawal symptoms persist longer than is the case with other opiates. Long-term users can actually face physical complications that lead to death. So, yes, it is as bad or worse than heroin and other opiates. Is There Treatment for Addiction to the Treatment? As the old saying goes, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Methadone addiction is just as problematic to recover from, both physically and emotionally as other opiates. In fact, it may be worse. First of all you have reduced the number of treatment options available to you. There are many more methods that addiction professionals can use, but methadone and like treatments are no longer an option. Another issue is the fact that methadone is a long acting opiate. Detox becomes more of an issue. Luckily, in the last twenty years other drugs have come on the market that can help people who have become addicted to methadone. Methadone was thought to be the perfect drug for people addicted to opiates because it reduced withdrawal symptoms and did not seem to have the same strong addictive properties of other opiates. Regardless of strength and addictive properties though, it can be abused. When an individual is found to be addicted to methadone, the drug most commonly used, Buprenorphine (aka Suboxone), has been shown to be the most effective treatment option. It has even less chance of producing the euphoric effects of other opiate compounds and it takes less time for professionals to completely wean an addict off of their opiate of choice. There is hope, but you also need to find the right treatment facility. What Does AKUA Offer? Detox and rehab from any substance is time-consuming and frightening. You may have heard horror stories about opiate detox, but at AKUA we strive to provide a safe and comfortable environment for recovery from methadone addiction. No treatment protocol can be completely comfortable, but the environment and attention staff give while you are at AKUA recovering from your addiction makes the process as pain-free as possible. The staff who work with patients are also trained to deal with any physical and/or emotional issues that may occur. The medical staff work to stabilize you during the detox process. Methadone detox is accomplished using Suboxone and/or Codeine and is the first priority. Further work cannot be successfully completed until you detox from the drug. During detox and afterword, you will meet with Master’s-level, trained counselors and therapists who will work with you to understand the emotional issues that have gone unaddressed. You will be attending groups and individual therapy sessions designed to help you recover successfully from opiate addiction. All while in an environment that provides you with the time needed to reflect and begin healing. Methadone is a miracle drug for some, but it is an addictive substance. If you or a loved one has become addicted to methadone, call AKUA at 844-725-8266 and speak with a staff member. It is never too late to begin your new life.