Methadone is a highly effective and equally powerful drug that is used to treat severe pain and to treat the symptoms of withdrawal associated with opiate addiction. Methadone treatment most often consists of what is known as a methadone maintenance program which is the process of taking methadone in small doses to reduce cravings for opiates and eliminate withdrawal symptoms. Because methadone does not produce a high at small doses this type of treatment has been proven to be highly effective when it is done properly and when the recovering addict does not take more methadone than prescribed. Unfortunately, it does have a high potential for abuse and can lead to addiction.
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How Methadone Treatment Works
When methadone is used to treat an opiate addiction, the medication will intercept the communication between the receptors that are associated with painkillers from communicating. These receptors, also known as endorphins, are what causes the “good” feeling when an individual gets high on an opiate. By blocking the endorphins, methadone reduces the physical craving or urge to use opiates and thus helps the recovering addict to more effectively remain drug free.
Take the Following Precautions when Using Methadone for Addiction Treatment
The following precautions should be taken any time methadone is taken as part of an addiction maintenance program:
- Follow physician instructions carefully and never take more methadone than prescribed
- Never abruptly stop taking methadone as there could be adverse reactions to the body not receiving the medication and withdrawal can be dangerous
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of methadone
- Do not drink alcohol to excess when taking methadone. It’s best to avoid alcohol all together if you are taking methadone
- Do not take other drugs while taking methadone
- Take a stool softener or laxative to reduce the discomfort of constipation while taking methadone
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