An addiction to methadone is a serious illness that will require comprehensive treatment before it can be overcome. Treatment includes detoxification and rehabilitation, which should be followed up by appropriate aftercare support. Methadone treatment and rehab can take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis, both of which have the aim of teaching you more about your illness and how you can live without methadone going forward.
Those taking methadone as part of an opioid replacement programme usually have their dose controlled by a medical professional, meaning that the risk of addiction is low. However, there are some individuals who have been on such programmes for many years, effectively simply swapping the addiction they took methadone to treat for an addiction to methadone.
Nonetheless, methadone is not just taken under controlled circumstances; street versions are also available and those who take the substance without a prescription have a substantial risk of addiction. In either case, though, treatment will be necessary where an addiction has developed. As with treatment for most other types of addiction, methadone addiction is typically treated with a combination of medication, behavioural therapies, and holistic treatments.
The Importance of Methadone Addiction Treatment
An addiction to any type of mood-altering substance can have disastrous consequences for the individual. Nevertheless, it is not just the person abusing the opiate drug who will feel its full effects. Addiction is a far-reaching illness that can have devastating consequences for countless individuals.
The family and friends of those affected will also suffer, and there are implications for the wider community as well as society as a whole. It is the potential for harm to so many people that makes addiction treatment so important.
If you have developed an addiction to methadone, you probably already know that your use of this drug is having a negative impact on daily life. Your health will undoubtedly be suffering and your ability to think clearly and make good decisions has been affected.
If you are taking methadone in higher than recommended doses, you are likely to be feeling drowsy, which might then be impacting on your ability to perform well at work or take care of responsibilities at home. As you might imagine then, this is bound to affect your relationships with those around you. Your family members and friends will become upset and frustrated at seeing you this way while your work colleagues might have become resentful at having to pick up the slack.
Continued abuse of methadone could cause you to become lethargic as your reaction times start to decrease. Your movements might become slower, potentially increasing your risk of accidental injury. Moreover, when the effects of the drug wear off, you may be prone to mood swings, flipping from being depressed to euphoric when you take methadone again. You can probably see how this can place a massive strain on your relationships.
As the addiction progresses, your financial situation might start to deteriorate. If you are taking desperate measures to get your hands on the drugs, for example, it could be that you are constantly running out of money and borrowing from loved ones – but never paying it back. You might even become so desperate that you begin stealing from family members and friends. Or you may resort to criminal activity. Your need for methadone is likely to come above everything else, even your own survival. This means that you will continue taking the drug, even knowing that doing so will cause problems for you or for others.
The good news is that with treatment many of these issues can be rectified. With time, your brain and body will heal, and you will be in a position to mend damaged relationships. You might also eventually learn valuable skills that will allow you to become a productive member of your community.
Treatment Philosophy and Benefits
Now you know that there are many benefits to getting treatment. Once you are no longer living your life with the cloud of addiction hanging over you, you can start to put things right. Your relationship with loved ones will start to improve as they see that you are serious about recovery; you could even help others once your recovery is stronger.
If you are considering treatment, be aware that it is not a quick fix. To overcome your methadone addiction, you will need to commit to recovery for the long haul and be prepared to work on your sobriety going forward.
Recovery is a way of life and it will take time for you to heal. You are going to have to make substantial changes to how you live and be aware that life will never be the same again. You may be hoping that things can go back to the way that they were before you began abusing methadone, but this is not possible.
You cannot erase that fact that you have an addiction. You can get better and learn how to manage your illness, but it is not possible to cure it. Treatment is about helping you to learn more about addiction and why you became ill in the first place. When you understand more about the illness and how to avoid it, you will have the power to control your future. You can then hopefully avoid a return to maladaptive behaviours going forward.
Tolerance vs. Methadone Dependence
Mood-altering drugs such as methadone have the potential to be abused, which often occurs as a result of an increased tolerance. When you develop a tolerance to methadone, you will find that it is less effective than it was when you first took it.
When you are not getting the relief or pleasure that you desire from it, your natural reaction might be to take more. This will probably work – for a while at least. What most individuals do not realise is that tolerance continues to increase, which means that after a while, the higher dose of the drug will also become less effective. As you continue to take more methadone to achieve the relief or satisfaction you desire, the risk of developing a physical dependence grows.
Physical dependence occurs when your body gets used to methadone and starts to depend on it for normal functioning. When this happens, you will find it a struggle to break free from the substance. When you try to significantly reduce the amount of the drug you are taking or quit it altogether, you are highly likely to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms, some of which might make you feel quite unwell.
To avoid these symptoms, you could be tempted to take more methadone. This is how a cycle of abuse ensues. If you need more methadone to make you feel better, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible. At this point, you can be given help to withdraw safely from methadone at home before you develop a physical dependence or addiction.
If you have already developed a physical dependence and are suffering withdrawal symptoms, you may need to consider treatment. You will require help to break free from the drug, and detox will be necessary to break the physical bond. Consult your GP about treatment and rehab options if your use of methadone has been having a negative impact on your life; it could be the case that you have already developed an addiction.
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Determining Treatment Readiness
It is difficult to come to terms with the need for addiction treatment, but it is important that you can accept the problem sooner rather than later. While even those who have severe addictions can overcome them with the right programme, the earlier you seek help, the easier it will be to break free from methadone abuse and addiction.
Many addicts are not ready to accept that they need help. Some could still believe that the drug they are taking is beneficial to their wellbeing, despite concerns from loved ones. What you should be aware of is that if your family members and friends have been raising concerns about your methadone use, it is highly likely that you have a problem that requires help.
You should know that family members and friends are usually the first to notice when drug use becomes drug abuse. They basically have an advantage over you in terms of seeing things more clearly, as their minds are not clouded by drug use.
You know that increasing your methadone use means that you have likely built up a tolerance to the drug. Think about how you feel when the effects wear off – do you feel unwell? Do you then take more methadone to counteract these feelings? If so, you are probably caught in a cycle of abuse and the chance that you have an addiction will be higher.
Addiction is characterised by a compulsive need to use a drug, despite knowing that problems are likely to occur if you do. If you are finding it difficult to fulfil your responsibilities and meet your commitments because of your methadone use, you need help to get better. At this point, you are more than ready for a comprehensive programme of recovery that will treat both the physical and psychological elements of your illness.
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Learning about Options for Methadone Rehab
If you are ready for treatment, there is plenty available to you across the UK. The NHS runs outpatient programmes for addicts, and you can access such programmes with a referral from your doctor; alternatively, you can self-refer if you feel the need to.
Outpatient rehab is also offered by some charities, many of which are run by former addicts who want to help more people overcome their illness.
You could also access inpatient rehab programmes, which here in the UK are mainly provided by private clinics.
Finding out more about the options available for methadone rehab is important as it will allow you to become more familiar with the types of programmes and enable you to make an informed choice regarding your care based on this. Information can be found via online databases or you can consult your doctor. You could also get in touch with us here at UKAT and speak to one of our advisors about our clinics and the type of programmes we provide.
How Much Does Methadone Rehab Cost?
If you choose to have your treatment via the NHS or a charity organisation, it is likely to be an outpatient programme and free of charge. However, if you would prefer inpatient treatment, there will likely be cost involved as most of these programmes are provided by private clinics.
The cost of treatment in a private clinic will vary from one provider to the next, depending on a number of conditions. The length of stay will be a factor in how much you pay, but the level of luxury and the reputation of the clinic can also play a significant role in cost.
On average though, you can expect to pay somewhere between four and six thousand pounds for a four-week residential stay in a private clinic.
Paying for Methadone Rehab
You might be wondering why you should pay for private treatment when you could access free treatment. This is understandable, and while many of the free programmes available are excellent choices in terms of helping addicts to get well, they are in high demand.
The NHS and charity organisations struggle to meet the demands placed on them, and because they are restricted by funding issues, they can only accommodate a certain number of patients at any one time.
Private clinics do not have such restrictions. This means that these facilities can typically admit patients within a day or so of initial enquiry – sometimes even quicker than this. In a nutshell, if you want to begin your treatment for methadone addiction immediately, you will have to consider paying for treatment.
How quickly you want to complete rehab is another factor to consider when considering paying for treatment. As already mentioned, most inpatient programmes are provided by private clinics. Inpatient programmes are typically condensed over four to twelve weeks, depending on the severity and complexities of the illness, and offer the fastest way of overcoming addiction. If this is something that appeals to you, paying for treatment is worth considering.
How to Find the Best Methadone Rehab Centre?
Many people wrongly assume that there is one rehab centre that is the best and they want to find out how they can access it. What they do not realise is that what might be the best methadone rehab centre for one person, may not be the best for another.
Finding the best methadone rehab centre is about finding the one that is best for you. It is about considering your individual requirements and circumstances and then locating a provider that can meet these.
There is a lot to think about when seeking out a rehab centre. For example, you will need to consider whether a programme of inpatient or outpatient rehab is best. In general, outpatient programmes are suited to those with less severe addictions and those who have a strong and stable support network at home. Inpatient programmes, on the other hand, are ideally suited to those who require a more structured programme with no distractions.
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Types of Methadone Addiction Treatment
The type of treatments used during methadone rehab will depend on your situation and needs. In general, treatment providers utilise a whole-person approach that will incorporate a range of therapies designed to heal the mind, body, and spirit.
Medication might be appropriate in certain circumstances, but if used will be combined with behavioural therapies and often holistic treatments.
Medical science now knows that a combined approach to treatment offers the best chance of full recovery. Your provider could use medication during the detox process to help make it easier for you to break free from methadone. During rehab, you are likely to take part in various counselling sessions. These sessions may be on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting. Irrespective though, during counselling, you can expect some of the following treatments to be used:
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- 12-step therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
- Dialectical behaviour therapy
- Contingency management
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Family therapy
Holistic or alternative therapies are also commonly used during recovery to help improve overall well-being and reduce levels of stress. They can also help with relapse prevention going forward. Examples of holistic therapies are:
- music therapy
- equine therapy
- art therapy
- mindful fitness
- exercise and nutrition
Your treatment plan might contain a combination of some of the above traditional and alternative therapies to enhance your recovery.
Inpatient Facilities vs. Outpatient Treatment
In general, the aim of both types of programme is to help you overcome the emotional and psychological issues relating to your addiction.
The primary difference between the two is in how they are run. Inpatient programmes are condensed over the course of a few weeks and as such are very intensive. Outpatient programmes run at a much slower pace and are usually spread over many months. Some will continue for longer than a year.
If you choose an inpatient clinic, your programme is likely to last anywhere between four and twelve weeks, depending on the severity of your illness. Most individuals require a four to six-week stay only, but those trying to recover from more than one type of substance addiction or those who have an addiction to methadone coupled with a mental health disorder will require a longer stay.
You will be expected to leave your home and move into the clinic for the duration of the treatment programme. At the facility, you will reside with other recovering addicts and spend most of your time taking part in counselling or other recovery activities.
As inpatient clinics are quiet, distraction-free environments, you will not have to worry about daily life issues or the temptations associated with normal life. You can simply immerse yourself in your recovery journey, giving yourself the best possible head-start on your journey towards a lifetime of sobriety.
Outpatient rehab runs on a day care basis. This means that instead of staying in the clinic, you will attend counselling sessions on a regular basis but return home after each session. To make a programme of outpatient rehab work for you, you will need to have plenty of desire to succeed and a willingness to make changes to your life.
Recovering in the real world is often said to be much harder than in a secure and structured environment, but there are those that believe it is one of the biggest advantages of outpatient programmes. Being able to stay sober while also dealing with everyday life issues will make the transition easier when the programme finishes.
The duration of an outpatient programme typically depends on how many treatment hours you have each week, and this will be determined by your provider. Some programmes run for many months; others continue for a year or more.
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Private Methadone Rehabs and Confidentiality
When it comes to confidentiality in private rehab facilities, rest assured that your details will be safe and secure. You do not have to be concerned about private data being shared with third parties without your consent as staff are all bound by confidentiality policies.
With so much stigma attached to addiction, you may not want others to know you are having treatment. Those who run private rehab clinics understand this and will respect your privacy at all times. The only time anyone will ever find out that you are in treatment is if you tell them yourself.
What is Residential Methadone Treatment
Residential treatment is another name for inpatient treatment. As the name implies, this type of care takes place on a residential basis, meaning you will stay in the clinic while completing rehab.
The benefit of residential treatment is that you can forget about everyday life while you recover with care and support around-the-clock from fully qualified professional staff.
The Role of Medications
When trying to overcome methadone addiction, the first step will be to break the cycle of abuse; this takes place in a detox clinic. Nevertheless, because withdrawal can be complicated, medications are often used during methadone detox.
Some individuals benefit from using a substitute opioid medication, which allows the brain and body to get used to the removal of methadone. Taking a substitution opioid drug will lessen the severity of the withdrawal process and could also help prevent some of the worst symptoms from occurring.
Medication could also be required to ease any symptoms that do occur, such as those of nausea, diarrhoea, depression, and anxiety. Medications are only used when deemed appropriate and when taking them help make the withdrawal process more comfortable.
The Role of Therapy
While medication tends to be useful during the withdrawal process, therapy is the way in which patients hopefully fully overcome their addiction to methadone. It is important for you to learn the reasons you started abusing methadone in the first place. But know that for many the causes can be buried deep.
Therapy can help counsellors to get to the heart of your issues and then provide you with the tools to overcome your addiction. Behaviour modification techniques such as cognitive behaviour therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy are useful in helping you to identify, challenge, and change negative thoughts and behaviours. This is the reason these therapies and more are used extensively in addiction rehab programmes.
The Use of Group Therapy in Methadone Addiction
Irrespective of whether you opt for an inpatient or outpatient treatment programme, you can expect counselling and therapy sessions to take place on both an individual and group basis. Individual counselling is a crucial part of recovery as it allows you to establish a trusting relationship with your counsellor. During individual counselling sessions, you will deal with issues that are specific to you.
Group therapy is also vital when it comes to methadone recovery. It takes place in the presence of one or more counsellors and other recovering addicts; the idea is that in a supportive environment each patient can learn from each other.
Members of group therapy sessions will not only motivate each other, they will also hold each other to account when necessary. Group therapy allows you to see yourself as others do and is a terrific way for you to learn more about yourself and your illness.
Since human beings are social creatures, being part of a group can be a boon to recovery. It shows you that you are not alone and that there are others going through a similar situation to yours. You probably already know that addiction is a lonely place, and you may have spent a long time feeling alone with no one to confide in. Group therapy will help you learn how to interact with others again.
After Methadone Rehab
Once your programme of methadone rehab has concluded, you will have to return to normal everyday life. This applies whether you have spent weeks in an inpatient clinic or if you have been recovering on a day care basis with regular treatments in an outpatient facility.
At some point, your rehabilitation will end and know what to do next can be the difference between a lifetime of sobriety and a devastating relapse. It is important, therefore, that you have support in place or you may struggle.
If you have been having treatment in an inpatient facility, the return to normal independent life might be slightly harder. You will have to adjust to life without around-the-clock care and support, and your recovery will be in your own hands.
Fortunately, you will not be expected to make this transition without help. Your treatment provider will almost certainly offer aftercare support, which will mean being able to access regular counselling sessions if required.
Support groups are also available in local communities across the country, and these are seen by most in the addiction recovery field as an integral part of the recovery process. You may have heard of groups such as Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These groups are known as fellowship support groups and are a fantastic resource in terms of maintaining your sobriety.
Never Too Late!
No matter how long you have been abusing methadone, you can get better by making the decision to get help now. It is not uncommon for people with addiction to assume that they will never be able to get their life back on track. When your life is ruled by the substance you are abusing, it can be hard to imagine anything different.
However, you should know that even those in the grip of the most crippling of addictions who believed they had lost everything have managed to regain control of their life by committing to detox and rehabilitation. All you need is a real desire to succeed.
Think of why you want to get better. Then keep that thought firmly in your mind. You will then find that recovery can become a reality. It is never too late to say goodbye to substance abuse and to
welcome a new and healthier life. You just need to want it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during methadone rehab?
When you begin a programme of methadone rehab, you will learn all about your illness and the reasons you began abusing methadone in the first place. Maybe you already know what led you down this particular path, or perhaps you have no idea how you ended up living a life of substance abuse.
Rehab is a learning process – you will learn what triggers your addictive behaviour and how you can avoid a return to it in the future. You will learn how to live in recovery and to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you.
How long does methadone rehab last?
It is common to wonder how long a programme of methadone rehab will last, but there are several factors to consider before this question can be answered. For most people having treatment in a residential clinic, rehab will last for between four and six weeks. However, this can be longer if the individual has more complex needs.
For example, substance abuse and mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand. This is known as a dual diagnosis and requires a complex treatment programme as both conditions need to be treated at the same time. Similarly, if you have been abusing methadone with another substance, you may have more than one type of addiction, which will complicate your treatment somewhat.
Methadone rehab: away from home or not?
The location of your rehab clinic is something you will need to consider carefully. Most people look for the nearest clinic to where they live, whereas others are looking to get away from their familiar surroundings and prefer a clinic further afield.
Where you have your treatment is all down to preference and convenience. If you would like your loved ones to be able to visit and take part in family therapy, a local clinic might be better. Nevertheless, if you want to stay anonymous, you may prefer a clinic in another city or a completely different part of the country.
Why seek help for methadone addiction?
Without treatment for your methadone addiction, your current situation will almost certainly deteriorate. Addiction does not go away without treatment, and even if you did manage to quit methadone on your own, the reasons you became addicted in the first place will still be present, threatening to send you back down the path of addiction again at a later date.
If you have an addiction to methadone, seeking help will allow you to regain control of your life. When you are no longer in the grip of methadone abuse, your health will improve, and you can rebuild your relationships with family members, friends, and work colleagues. You can also look forward to the future, something that might have been alluding you thus far.
What other options exist for someone who cannot afford treatment?
Private rehab treatment is expensive and as such could be out of reach for some individuals. The good news is that here in the UK there are free options available too. The NHS provides treatment for those struggling with addiction and you can access your local drug treatment service by referring yourself or getting a referral from your doctor.
You may also be able to access treatment for addiction through a local charity. You can find out more through online information databases.
What factors into the cost of addiction treatment?
How much you pay for addiction treatment will depend on how long you stay in the clinic and the provider in question. Some clinics have excellent records of success and can charge more for their services. How luxurious the clinic is, as well as specific facilities available, will also play a role. You can also expect, for example, to pay more for a private room than you would for a semi-private one.
Am I addicted to methadone?
If your loved ones have suggested you need help for addiction, they are likely to be right. Most family members or friends will not raise the issue of addiction unless they are sure they are right. But to know for sure, you should take a look at your own circumstances and how you are using methadone.
Is your use interfering with everyday life? Do you continue to take it regardless? Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using methadone? If you have answered yes to these questions, it might be worthwhile talking to someone about your situation. You can call us here at UKAT for a full assessment of your circumstances or consult your doctor for advice.
Why do people start taking methadone?
Methadone is a drug that is commonly used in the treatment of opioid addictions such as heroin addiction. However, because it has similar effects to heroin, some people abuse it for recreational purposes, believing it to be less harmful than heroin.
There are also some individuals who take the drug as a way to escape from reality for a while. Painful memories from a past experience or the stress of daily life can often be enough to send people towards substance abuse.
What are the signs of addiction?
Addiction is characterised by a compulsive need to use a particular substance, even when knowing that in using it, negative consequences could arise. Those with an addiction will feel compelled to use drugs and will put it above everything else, including those they love and things they used to enjoy.