There are few situations that can be as devastating as becoming addicted to the medication that was prescribed to treat an addiction in the first place. Unfortunately, this may happen when an individual transitions to methadone in order to break their dependency to other drugs such as heroin. Whether you are curious about using methadone to help you beat another addiction or feel as if your current use of methadone has become problematic, here is a closer look at how this medication affects the body and what must be done to beat these diseases permanently.
Why Do Addictions Happen?
Up until recently, many believed that addictions were nothing more than the result of bad life decisions or a lack of self-control. With current studies, however, addictions are now classified as a disease that actually physically affects the body and mind. When any substance is taken over a period of time the body will naturally adjust to compensate for the foreign chemical. If the individual does not stop taking that substance they will develop a tolerance to it. At this point, that foreign chemical is actually needed in order for the body to function properly.
An addiction to any substance such as alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medication, and methadone can take place in as little as a few uses or will only slowly evolve over years. Generally, addicts will go through a number of stages ranging from the initial experimentation and consistent use to a complete dependency and full addiction. While every single addiction does manifest itself differently, the use of a substances is classified as an addiction when the individual continues to use even though they are aware of the negative impact that it is having on their life.
Understanding Addiction Medication
The process of rehabilitating from drugs or alcohol will require a period that is known as detox. Detox is the step in which the body will flush out the lingering toxins and begin to naturally balance essential chemicals such as dopamine. During this time, the body is actually in a state of shock with side effects that range from nausea and insomnia to extreme mood swings and suicidal thoughts. Depending on the substance that was being abused and the severity of the addiction, these physical effects can last for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
In order to help people mentally and physically break free from their addiction, some specialists have suggested the use of addiction medication such as methadone. Methadone is referred to as an opiate agonist, and this means that it stimulates the same receptors as actual opiates such as heroin and Vicodin. This medication is generally taken every 24 to 36 hours and will “trick” the body into believing that different opiates have been taken. It will also lessen or completely remove any effects that other opiates have on the body.
Can Addiction Medication Be Addictive?
It is important to understand that anything that alters natural chemicals within the body or brain can become addictive, and this includes methadone. Patients can become addicted to this medication but they often see it as a gateway to sobriety or a much safer alternative to an opiate addiction. When the correct dose is maintained, methadone is very effective and not physically dangerous. Unfortunately, one potential side effect is that an addict simply switches their addiction from opiates to methadone. Many will find themselves increasing their dose, mixing methadone with other opiates, consuming large amounts of alcohol while taking methadone, or unable to come off methadone on their own.
Treating An Addiction
Addictions can be effectively treated with this type of medication in some situations, but anyone that has struggled with a methadone dependency or continues to find themselves relapsing during treatment may need to take a hard look at the rehab process. Drug addictions develop due to a huge amount of variables such as one’s genetics, past trauma, family history, mental illnesses, or perhaps simply because they were prescribed opiate-based medication for a long period of time. Whatever the case may be, it is vital to treat these root causes of an addiction in order to enact long-term changes.
The detox period is a step that many people will relapse during, and this is one of the reasons that so many seek out an inpatient rehab facility in order to make the transition easier. Once the body has begun to flush out the foreign chemicals and the physical side effects of withdrawal are lessening, it is important to find a support system and to begin attacking the catalysts of the addiction. Within an inpatient center, this often begins by speaking with an experienced rehab specialist.
Permanent Recovery with Inpatient Facilities
An experienced rehab specialist will help an individual through this process every step of the way including understanding why the addiction has occurred. Once the specialist has a general idea about these causes, they can then offer a wide variety of services that can all take place right within the rehab facility itself. Depending on the type and severity of the addiction, guests may stay for anywhere from 30 days to 90 days or longer.
During this period they will have access to 24/7 support from friendly staff that know exactly what they are going through. Days may be comprised of everything from healthy meal plans and exercise to one-on-one counseling and art therapy. Each individual will have different needs, and this is why an inpatient facility is one of the best options for a personalized approach to drug addiction treatment.
A drug addiction is not only hurting the addict, but also the lives of all those around them. If you or a loved one is struggling with opiate or methadone abuse, it is important to take that first step as soon as possible and make real and permanent changes in your life.
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