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Methadone Myths

by Nick

Methadone has been used for the treatment of opioid addiction for more than 50 years. While Methadone maintenance has been effective in helping people addicted to heroin and prescription opioids, there are many common myths about Methadone Maintenance treatment. That’s why we want to review some common myths about methadone and let you know the truth about this kind of treatment option.

Myth #1: Methadone Will Make You Feel High

Reality: In a medically-supervised treatment program, at a therapeutic dose, methadone will not make you feel high. When you just begin your treatment, you may feel sleepy or have a lightheaded sensation for a few days and may experience other side effects while the dosage is adjusted. Within a few weeks, your body will develop tolerance to the initial feeling of sedation. Soon, you’ll start to feel normal and you’ll have reduced cravings for opioids.

Myth #2: Methadone Can Make You Feel Sick

Reality: The only time when you may feel sick after using methadone is if your dose is not properly adjusted. This is when the amount of methadone you’re taking may not be enough to stop you from having withdrawal symptoms. If you ever have a feeling of sickness, it will be mild and short-lived. The amount of methadone you take will be modified, and you’ll start feeling better in a few days.

It’s true that while you’re taking this medication, you may develop a cold or other illness. However, you are better off taking methadone to manage cravings for opioids than using illicit drugs. When you’re taking methadone at a therapeutic, you won’t have the strong urge to use. You’ll also be able to eat a proper diet and take care of yourself. You’ll wake up feeling strong and energized instead of having a nauseating feeling.

Myth #3: Using Methadone for a Long Time Can Damage the Thyroid Gland, Memory and Liver

Reality: Methadone is approved by the FDA as a safe drug for treating withdrawal symptoms in people with opioid use disorder. So, long term use of the drug is safe. Methadone does not damage internal organs like the kidneys, liver, pancreas or intestines as long as you take the prescribed amount. Also, it won’t affect your thinking or the ability to remember things correctly. If you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition like cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis, taking methadone for treatment of opioid addiction can help you improve the outcome of your treatment for your liver condition.

Myth #4: Methadone Causes Your Bones and Teeth to Rot

Reality: This common methadone myth isn’t true, but it’s important to understand why it has been widely circulated.

Dry mouth is a known side effect of taking methadone medication. With a dry mouth, plaque can form more rapidly on the surface of your teeth. Unfortunately, having excess plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

To protect your teeth while using methadone or any other medication, you need to observe a basic dental hygiene routine. Brush your teeth and floss daily. Rinse your mouth with an approved mouthwash. Visit your dentist two times a year to get your teeth examined and cleaned and reduce the amount of sugary foods you consume daily. You should also drink more water to keep your mouth moist while taking Methadone.

If you’re taking methadone and it feels like your bones are rotting, then it’s because the amount of methadone is inadequate. Bone ache is a withdrawal symptom. So, as soon as your doctor adjusts your prescription, you’ll no longer experience any bone ache or withdrawal symptoms.

Myth #5: Methadone Makes You Gain Weight

Reality: Some people gain weight while taking methadone, but this doesn’t apply to everyone. The weight gain is because taking methadone helps boost your appetite and improve your health, so you feel better and eat more food than you did in active addiction. It’s common to find people who have lost a lot of weight due to drug use gaining weight after they start their methadone maintenance treatment.

While methadone does not cause you to gain weight directly like sweets and foods high in carbohydrates, it can slow down your metabolism, lead to water retention and indirectly cause weight gain. If you need to reduce your weight gain during treatment, talk to your doctor and make sure you’re eating foods that have adequate fiber including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Also, follow a daily or weekly exercise routine. If you keep your body healthy and maintain an active life, you won’t experience excessive weight gain from taking methadone.

Myth #6: It’s Difficult to Stop Using Methadone

Reality: Methadone has its own withdrawal symptoms. This doesn’t make it hard to stop using methadone. Its withdrawal symptoms show up at a much slower rate than those of other drugs like Heroin. If you stop using methadone, the withdrawal process will take a much longer time. During this time, your doctor will gradually reduce the amount you need to take.

Myth #7: People Who Take Methadone Are Addicts Whether or Not They Use Other Drugs

Reality: Methadone is a drug treatment for opioid dependence. It’s meant to help you recover from addiction. It’s a form of medication and not a substitute for misused drugs. It can help you maintain a normal, active life and get back to work or school.

Myth #8: Methadone Cures Opioid Addiction

Reality: Addiction restructures the brain and it’s a chronic disease. So, Methadone shouldn’t be seen as a simple cure for opioid addiction. Methadone simply enables you to start living a healthier life. Think of methadone as tool you can use to avoid going back to drug use. Methadone can help you reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for drugs, so you can steer clear of them and start to live a more productive and fulfilling life.

Get Methadone Maintenance Treatment From Health Care Resource Centers

If you need help recovering from opioid addiction and you’re considering methadone maintenance, then reach out to the nearest HCRC location in your community. You can call us now at 866-758-7769 or complete out our online contact form today.

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