Methadone Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Programs

Methadone is a prescription painkiller used to treat addiction to opioids like heroin and Oxycontin. However, it can also be abused for its effects and become addictive. Drug rehab centers may offer treatment for methadone addiction at multiple levels of care, including inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Methadone is a strong opioid drug that is sometimes used to treat heroin addiction and addiction to other opioids, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Oxycontin). It is also prescribed for chronic pain relief and to treat severe pain.

Although methadone doesn’t get people high like most other opioid drugs, it can still be abused for its effects and can lead to addiction with chronic misuse. People may become addicted to methadone during the course of behavioral health treatment for other opioids, or through misuse of the drug.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 2 million individuals in the United States had an opioid use disorder in 2018. About 256,000 people specifically reported misusing methadone.

The most effective treatment for methadone addiction requires addressing the physical, mental, and emotional effects of living with addiction. At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we understand how difficult it can be to admit you have a problem and seeking help.

Here, you’ll find:

Methadone Abuse And Addiction

Methadone is a powerful prescription drug that is formally classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means it has a high potential for abuse, opioid dependence, and addiction.

Methadone is an opioid agonist that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat addiction to opiates like heroin and fentanyl. As an opioid that is less likely to cause euphoria, it has some therapeutic use for curbing opioid cravings and easing opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately, methadone maintenance treatment is not a risk-free treatment. People can still misuse methadone and become addicted to its powerful, sedating effects.

Some people have also reported being able to get high from methadone by taking very high doses or mixing methadone with other drugs.

Signs Of Methadone Abuse

Identifying addiction in yourself or a loved one isn’t always straightforward. Addiction doesn’t look the same for everyone, and many people go to great lengths to avoid having their drug problem detected by others.

Even still, there are several common signs of methadone abuse that you can look for.

These signs may include:

  • taking higher doses of methadone than prescribed
  • taking methadone for longer than prescribed
  • taking methadone without a prescription
  • mixing methadone with other drugs (including alcohol) to experience stronger effects
  • feeling unable to control or stop your methadone use
  • continuing to abuse methadone despite negative effects on physical and mental health
  • dramatic changes in physical appearance, mood, and behavior

Methadone Abuse And Addiction Treatment

Thousands of teens and adults in the New England region seek treatment for drug abuse and addiction each year. To combat the opioid crisis, states like Massachusetts have expanded available treatment options for opioid abuse.

On a local and state level, New England communities have also made an effort to make treatment more accessible for people who are struggling.

Types of treatment programs for methadone abuse include:

  • Drug Detoxification Programs
  • Inpatient/Residential Treatment
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

The type of treatment program a person needs can vary according to personal needs. However, for most people with drug addiction, the first step towards recovery is detox.

Methadone Withdrawal And Detox

Addiction to drugs like methadone can lead to withdrawal with stopped use. Withdrawal refers to a set of physical and psychological symptoms that can vary according to the drug of abuse, the severity of a person’s drug dependence, and other factors.

Methadone withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • restlessness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • muscle and joint pain
  • teary eyes
  • runny nose
  • excessive yawning
  • sweating
  • chills
  • anxiety
  • strong drug cravings

Methadone withdrawal can be very uncomfortable without medical support. Trying to detox at home is not recommended. This is more likely to lead to relapse and may risk serious side effects of methadone withdrawal, such as severe dehydration.

Medical detox is the safest way to get sober from methadone. Medical detox centers offer 24-hour support and supervision within a clean, safe, and quiet environment.

During detox, patients may receive IV therapy, medications like buprenorphine to reduce the discomfort of withdrawal, and have vital signs monitored for medical complications.

Residential Treatment

Inpatient treatment—also known as residential rehab—is the highest level of care for people who have become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It is also the most effective treatment due to the greater level of support and structure it can offer people, compared to outpatient care.

At Spring Hill, our residential treatment program offers around-the-clock medical and emotional support within a comfortable, home-like environment.

Our residential rehab program features evidence-based treatments—such as behavioral therapy. We also provide holistic therapies to help residents heal from the physical, mental, and emotional effects of living with addiction.

Our residential program offers a wide array of treatments and skill-building opportunities to help set up newly sober individuals for success in recovery. We also offer specialized mental health treatment for people with co-occurring disorders.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment programs are less intensive than inpatient treatment.

Outpatient treatment is most suitable for people who:

  • have recently received inpatient treatment at a rehab facility
  • have relapsed but don’t require a higher level of care
  • can benefit from ongoing support in early recovery

At Spring Hill, our rehab center offers intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) for people who are seeking ongoing support in addiction recovery. Patients within this program may attend treatment at our treatment center for a few hours in the afternoon or evening, up to four days a week.

Our treatment team will customize a treatment plan that is best suited to meet your needs. This may include individual counseling, dual diagnosis treatment, group therapy, and medication management services.

Spring Hill does not have a day treatment program. However, we do belong to a network of Massachusetts treatment facilities that together offer a full continuum of care, including day treatment—which is more intensive than IOP.

Methadone Addiction Treatment Services

Opioid addiction carries a high risk for relapse and serious overdose, which—in severe cases—can lead to low blood pressure, respiratory depression, and death.

For the last decade, drug abuse experts and researchers have worked to identify the most effective types of treatment to prevent relapse and reduce the risk for methadone overdose in early addiction recovery.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is the primary form of treatment for drug addiction. It is the most common type of treatment received by people seeking treatment for opioid addiction.

Behavioral therapy is offered in both individual and group settings to help shift attitudes about drug use, promote positive health behaviors, and teach supportive strategies for managing cravings and other triggers.

At Spring Hill, we offer several types of behavioral therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). These therapies can be effective for treating both substance use disorders and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is another evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction. This whole-person treatment approach involves using supportive medication in conjunction with behavioral therapy to address all aspects of addiction.

Methadone maintenance treatment is a common form of MAT. However, there are also other types of MAT that have a lower potential for abuse and have fewer side effects.

Drugs like buprenorphine (Suboxone) and naltrexone, for instance, can also be helpful in order to reduce opioid cravings and support individuals long-term in their recovery journey.

If you’re concerned about the use of medication in your treatment plan, this is something you may be able to discuss with your treatment team.

Aftercare For Opioid Addiction

After completing an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, it can be crucial to coordinate a long-term plan for maintaining your recovery. Many addiction treatment centers, including Spring Hill, offer aftercare services to help residents transition back into a more normal routine.

Aftercare may come in the form of individual case management and continued care coordination. Aftercare professionals can connect newly sober individuals to community-based treatment and recovery resources.

At Spring Hill, our primary form of aftercare is connecting patients to our alumni recovery support network. Our health care providers connect patients to current and former patients in recovery and keep former patients updated on support groups and recovery-focused events.

Begin Your Recovery Journey At Spring Hill

If you’re seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one who is addicted to methadone, look no further than Spring Hill Recovery Center in Ashby, Massachusetts.

Our New England recovery center offers residential rehab and intensive outpatient treatment programs for opioid addiction from our peaceful location in Ashby.

Located just an hour from many major Massachusetts cities, our treatment center serves all of Massachusetts and surrounding areas, including:

Living with methadone addiction, or watching someone you love struggle, can be painful. At Spring Hill, we know recovery is possible. Contact us today to learn more about our opioid treatment programs and the types of treatment we offer.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse—Opioid Summaries by State
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse—Study highlights effectiveness of methadone and buprenorphine
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators NSDUH 2018 Results
  4. U.S. Department of Justice: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)—Controlled Substances Schedules

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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