Methadone, when taken as part of a maintenance program to overcome addiction to heroin or prescription drugs can lead to great improvements in the user’s life. Not only does methadone have the potential to restore balance into the user’s life, the medication can have a profound impact on the health, confidence and overall behavior of the recovering addict leading to a positive impact on the life of the individual. Here are just a few of the ways that methadone positively impacts the lives of those who take the medication during inpatient rehab as part of an opioid addiction treatment program.
Reduced Use of Illicit Drugs
Studies show that individuals who take methadone as part of an opiate addiction treatment program in conjunction with counseling and therapy have lower levels of illicit drug use than those who are treated using therapy alone.
Reduced Criminal Activity
Illicit drug use often leads to a wide range of criminal behaviors. Drug-seeking behavior is common and it often pairs with criminal activities such as stealing, shoplifting, or violence that takes place in an effort to obtain drugs or to obtain money for drugs. When methadone is used, an individual’s life is positively impacted by the reduction of criminal behavior as the individual no longer feels the need to lie, cheat and steal to obtain drugs.
Reduced Involvement in Dangerous Drug Use Practices
According to NIDA, individuals who take methadone are less likely to become involved in dangerous drug use practices. The instances of needle sharing for the use of drugs such as heroin or prescription opiates in those who take methadone as part of a maintenance treatment is dramatically reduced and, for many, eliminated completely.
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Reduced Rates of infection transmission
Impromptu drug use, unprotected sex and an overall lack of proper hygiene amongst drug users often lead to an array of infections including STDs, staph infections, and viral infections. Methadone improves the lifestyle of the user, reduces the instances of unsafe sex while high, and eliminates impromptu drug use which is often responsible for the infection.
Improved life balance
According to various studies, methadone maintenance treatment improves the life balance of those in recovery by providing a crutch that prevents further substance abuse, reduces the risk of relapse and provides control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.
Patients taking methadone report improved health overall. There are no longer instances of withdrawal associated with discontinued opiate use when methadone is prescribed. There are no longer instances of sex for drugs or sex while intoxicated. There are no longer instances of infection or other repercussions related to substance abuse.
Higher retention rate in addiction treatment
The National Library of Medicine reports that individuals who take methadone in conjunction with treatment in a controlled facility such as a rehab center are more likely to remain in treatment. Methadone reduces withdrawal symptoms and the discomfort felt by the user during the early phases of treatment and, when prescribed correctly, has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for the user.
Reduced rate of relapse
Individuals who take methadone daily are less likely to relapse and use other intoxicating substances. The methadone works to reduce cravings that may otherwise lead to substance abuse and drug-seeking behaviors. The reduced rate of relapse that occurs as a result of the use of methadone can not only improve the life of the individual in treatment, it can also save the user’s life. Studies show that each time a relapse occurs, the risk of overdose is heightened. By reducing the risk of relapse through quality medical intervention those in recovery have a subsequent reduced risk of overdose.
Reduced rate of suicide or self-harm
Suicide is common in individuals who are heavily addicted to drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers. Methadone stabilizes the individual’s mood, provides a consistent stream of a medication that prevents cravings and withdrawals and helps to reduce the depression that is so common when withdrawal begins to set in. Methadone reduces the rate of suicide and self-harm in those who are in recovery further improving quality of life.