Methadone Clinics: Understanding What They Are, How They Can Help, and Where To Find Them
In 2016, an astounding 66 percent of the 63,600 overdose deaths in the United States were the result of opiate abuse. Opiates, including heroin and prescription pain relievers, are one of the most physically addictive substances there is. For some addicts, only through methadone clinics do they achieve sobriety.
1. Methadone Clinics Defined
A methadone clinic is a place where one can receive opiate replacement therapy, also known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
The World Health Organization classifies methadone as one of the “essential medicines” for opiate dependence treatment. Methadone is itself an opioid and is therefore used in opiate replacement therapy. A common myth concerning opiate replacement therapy is that one is just replacing one addiction for another; however, the amounts that are dispensed in liquid, pill or wafer form are not enough to cause any kind of “high”. Therefore, it only helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, thus improve the success of treatment.
Methadone clinics are generally separated as being either private or public. Strict federal and state laws help to ensure that the use of methadone is controlled. Only around a third of all opiate addicts in treatment receive methadone in one of the methadone clinics.
Some of the benefits of a methadone clinic as one of the opiate addiction treatment options are as follows:
- Decrease in opiate cravings
- Due to cross-tolerance, it helps it block the effects of other opiates
- A significant reduction in withdrawal symptoms
- A return to more normal day-to-day function as the physical need for opiates dissipates
2. Reasons to Use a Methadone Clinic
As mentioned, only around a third of people who have an opiate addiction actually get given methadone to help them with their struggles. Just because you have a current substance abuse problem with opiates does not mean that you’ll immediately get given the drug. There is an extensive screening process to ensure that only those who would likely fail their treatment without methadone get it.
Some of the information and tests needed before being given methadone include:
- Blood analysis
- Drug use history
- Medical History
- Co-occurring mental disorders
- The extent that the abuse affects their life
- Current health evaluation
One of the most common reasons to visit a clinic, of course, is to receive prescribed medication to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal and manage cravings.
A methadone clinic is not just a place to get the drug, but it is also a place where people come to attend counseling sessions for their addiction, which helps them to better cope with stressors, avoid relapse and helps them to repair some of their damaged relationships.
In most cases, addicts must come into the clinic to get their daily dose; however, some may be allowed to manage their doses offsite on a case-to-case basis.
3. When Methadone Isn’t The Right Choice
As one of the opiate addiction treatment options, methadone is not always the best solution. The following are some of the common reasons why a person shouldn’t use the medication:
- If they have been addicted to methadone before
- If other opioid-based drugs or alcohol are used
- If the person uses heart arrhythmia medication
- Pregnant mothers or those planning to become pregnant
- If they are prone to seizures, such as epilepsy sufferers
- If there is a history of head injuries
- If they have low blood pressure
- Methadone should not be taken if the person has sleep apnea or other breathing disorders
- If the person has hormonal problems
4. How Methadone Treatment Works
Firstly, it’s important to understand that due to the complexity of addiction and dependence, not everyone responds the same way to treatment. Therefore, before any treatment is given, a patient is assessed on an individual basis, and then a tailor-made approach to their treatment is formed.
Since the ultimate goal of opiate addiction treatment options is to turn an addict into a productive and functional member or their community, treatment focuses on not just their dependence but on many factors of their life including their work, schooling, family and social life.
After a thorough assessment of the individual, they can then begin treatment. MAT, or the use methadone in treatment, must be accompanied by the following in a whole-patient approach:
- Behavioral Therapy – Some of the behavioral therapy that is commonly used in addiction treatment includes cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interview and motivational incentives. A patient working with a counselor or therapist is helped to improve their stress-coping skills and also to address problematic behavior and thinking that have led to substance abuse in the past.
- Medical detoxification – During early recovery, opiate addicts experience severe withdrawal symptoms. This is where methadone starts to do its job by helping to reduce cravings and symptoms during detox. An addict’s comfort and safety is prioritized, and oftentimes OTC medications are used alongside methadone.
5. Risks Involved With Methadone
The process of induction is very important when it comes to administering methadone because it must be adapted for each person. Additionally, the medication must often be adjusted as the treatment progresses to ensure that there are no complications, such as addiction. It is therefore critical that methadone be administered properly by professionals.
Some of the common side effects that some people may experience due to improper doses or an adverse reaction include the following:
- Muscle tremors
- Chest pain
- Shallow breathing
- Vomiting and nausea
- Mental confusion
- Abdominal pain
- Rapidly-beating heart
Furthermore, if any other medications are used alongside methadone, careful monitoring is required to ensure that there are no complications. One of the most dangerous reactions can be that methadone remains active in the body for longer than intended and then leads to an overdose.
Some of the important things to remember and avoid during methadone treatment includes:
- Alcohol consumption
- Care needs to be taken when operating heavy machinery
- It should be stored at room temperature
- Be prepared to contact emergency care services in the event of an accidental overdose
- Methadone should also be kept away from light sources
6. Searching ‘Methadone Clinics Near Me’
There are many clinics that deal with methadone treatment across the country, but how do you find methadone clinics near me?
Better Addiction Care can help you to find a variety of different types of treatment options for opiate dependence, including methadone clinics near me. Simply use the search feature to browse through all of the rehabs and clinics by zip code, state or city.
You can also call us at (800) 429-7690 to speak with a compassionate and knowledgeable addiction specialist that can guide you through the entire process.