When Does Methadone Use Become an Abuse Problem?

When does Methadone use become an abuse problemWhen methadone is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients recovering from opiate addiction, it is carefully monitored by a physician. Methadone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. Therefore, there are times when a physician will prescribe the medication to relieve moderate to severe pain that has not been relieved by non-narcotic pain relievers. Many physicians are comfortable prescribing methadone for both purposes and view it as a viable treatment option. A study conducted by The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) shows that the greatest percentage of legitimately distributed methadone occurred at the practitioner level, indicating that pain management and general practitioners are dispensing the drug more frequently.

Whether used for the management of pain or opiate withdrawal symptoms, medical professionals monitor a person’s consumption of methadone carefully, because it is a Schedule II Controlled Substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high risk for abuse and addiction.

From Methadone Use to Abuse

Coupled with other treatment options, methadone is used to assist a person who is addicted to heroin or other opiates. The concept is if an addict’s withdrawal symptoms are being properly managed, they are in a better position to take advantage of the benefits of the other therapy options. However, it is known that methadone may cause a dependence of its own. According to current statistics, methadone is connected to nearly 4,000 deaths a year, clearly indicating how common methadone abuse has become.

How Treatment Can Help Methadone Addiction

Relapse is extremely common, especially when a person was addicted to opiates, and treatment for methadone abuse or addiction should address this issue. A comprehensive addiction therapy program may include a combination of behavioral therapies such as individual or group counseling, cognitive therapy or contingency management and medications depending on the person’s individual needs. Behavioral therapies can help by doing the following:

  • Helping deal with relapse
  • Motivating people to actively participate
  • Offering strategies for coping with drug cravings
  • Teaching ways to avoid drugs
  • Helping people improve communication, relationship, parenting skills and family dynamics

Because they work on different aspects of addiction, combinations of behavioral therapies and medications generally appear to be more effective than either approach used alone.

Get Help for Methadone Addiction

Determining when a person’s use of methadone moves from therapeutic to addictive is difficult to do, especially if the person is a family member or friend. However, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about methadone addiction treatment. We are here to help.