If you’ve been using methadone for opioid replacement therapy or have been on long-term methadone use, it IS possible to get off this highly addictive pharmaceutical drug.
If you are a parent or loved one of someone whose life has become unmanageable or affected by long-term methadone use, an opioid addiction treatment program may be the answer you seek.
Some of the more potent side effects of long-term use include:
- Drowsiness or sedation
- Chronic constipation
- Heart rate too fast or too slow (tachycardia/bradycardia)
- Itchy skin rash
- Slow, shallow breathing (respiratory depression)
These symptoms are often signs of toxicity related to methadone, Suboxone, naloxone, Subutex and other opioid use. Too high a concentration or too frequent a dosing schedule of opiates can cause severe side effects leading to serious medical conditions such as, overdose and even death.
How to Quit Methadone Addiction
Getting off methadone, or other forms of long-term opioid replacement therapy, is not easy. However, with the right help and a safe place, it is possible to quit. In fact, despite the fact that methadone and buprenorphine use is increasing, there are people breaking free from the addiction.
Whether you or your loved one is addicted to or dependent on an opioid – whether it be from outright abuse, or for pain relief – you can get clean. Whether the addiction came about because of maintenance or it’s been used for replacement therapy, you can have a better life without drugs.
It’s a process. It’s tough work. It doesn’t happen overnight. Harmony Place can make it easier by being a safe and “Comfortable Place to Do Hard Work,” as we often say.
Recovery Environment Necessities
Quitting drugs like methadone or Suboxone is challenging, so we do NOT recommend anyone attempt it alone. Only in a qualified, professional rehabilitation center is it safe to detox from these opioids.
Serious consequences from detoxing without medical supervision can include:
- Brain damage
Detoxing by yourself can do more harm than help, so finding a comfortable recovery environment, like Harmony Place, allows people to detox and remove the drugs from their system safely.
In addition to detox, it is critical to complete therapeutic work. Successful recovery requires a safe, healing environment.
Detox in Rehab
People wonder how methadone and Suboxone are used in rehab. If facilities are simply replacing one drug for another, what is the good in that?
The reality is, Suboxone and Subutex (often referred to as “Subs”) are commonly used during rehab. The reason is that it is imperative that a client go through withdrawal from opioids through a tapered dosing strategy to ensure safety, until they are ready to be completely weaned off of all opioids.
People also wonder if it’s possible to quit methadone without going through withdrawal. While most people experience some withdrawal symptoms, the majority of these symptoms can be controlled with medication-assisted therapy (MAT).
A physical addiction to methadone doesn’t take long to develop, and withdrawal symptoms usually start within 24 hours of their last use.
MAT for Opioid Dependence
The goals of using replacement medication to detox someone from heroin or other strong opioids are:
- Titrate to a dose that prevents significant opioid withdrawal.
- Reduce the patient’s hunger and craving for their addictive drug of choice.
- Block the euphoric effects of self-medicated opioids.
- Ensure the patient is tolerant to the potentially sedative effects of the new medication.
For cessation of therapy, abrupt discontinuation is inadvisable, due to severe withdrawal effects.
Short-Term Detox with Methadone
When methadone is used to detox a patient from opioid addiction, it should be administered as a brief course to stabilize the patient. After stabilization, a period of medically supervised withdrawal will occur with a gradual reduction in dosage.
Drugs like Suboxone, Subutex, and buprenorphine (similar to methadone) commonly spearhead long-term opioid replacement therapy programs. Most mental health professionals agree this is a risky and ethically questionable practice. Subs are very addictive, and getting off them is one of the hardest psychological addictions to beat.
Suboxone detox can be a challenge. The body can develop a dependency quickly, especially when clinics of questionable repute put individuals on Suboxone for long periods. There is also a prominent psychological factor in Suboxone use and cessation.
People who choose a reliable place to start detox from Suboxone excel in tapering off and achieving a cessation of use.
Medication Assisted Treatment Program for Opioid Addiction
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a detox regimen that incorporates medication therapy into a behavioral therapy program. MAT is evidence-based and has a lower rate of attrition for those in rehab.
Our country is in the midst of an opioid crisis, and out of the fears surrounding opioids, alarmist information persists that warns against the use of medication as part of detox.
Here are some of the arguments people make against MAT:
- It gets people hooked on a new drug.
- MAT is just substituting one drug for another.
- People will develop a new addiction and use the new medication indefinitely.
While some people have to be on long-term opioid maintenance programs for pain, maintenance programs are not for everyone. Used properly at a credentialed rehabilitation facility, MAT is not provided long-term, and most clients have rarely prescribed the new medication on an ongoing basis.
Arguments for MAT
As a taper, MAT is very effective in helping patients deal with the physical and psychological cravings that are acute when they first stop using their drug of choice. Additionally, people struggling with opioid addiction have better outcomes and are more likely to stay in treatment when they endure fewer or lighter withdrawal symptoms. In a field where relapse percentages are high, using a medication to get well and improve success should be the most important matter.
The medication-assisted treatment program for opioid addiction at Harmony Place is known for its nurturing and comforting features. In addition to caring staff and providers, Harmony Place’s MAT program comes with these services:
- Nutritional education
- Evidence-based group and individual therapy
- Art therapy
- Meditation and spirituality
- A taper schedule to get clients off replacement drugs for good
- A unique treatment plan for each individual
A Place to Restore Harmony in Your Life
Even if you are on high doses of methadone or Suboxone for opioid maintenance, it is possible to taper down and wean off these powerful drugs. You can get off these drugs completely and enjoy a healthier life.
Opioid maintenance should not be a life sentence in medication prison. If you have the motivation to get off these kinds of drugs, Harmony Place can help you walk the path to complete sobriety.