Is Methadone Necessary in Codeine Addiction Treatment?
Individuals who need help for codeine addiction may choose one of several different treatment options depending on their particular needs. There are a number of treatments for opioid addiction, including the synthetic opioid medication methadone. According to CESAR, “In 2000, there were an estimated 1,200 treatment facilities in the U.S. dispensing methadone.”
Many individuals believe that methadone is only a treatment used for heroin addiction, but it can be extremely beneficial in cases of other types of opioid abuse, even codeine or codeine cough syrup addiction. Still, you may be wondering if methadone is necessary in the treatment of codeine addiction. Like all medication options, its necessity in a treatment program is based on the needs of the patient and whether or not it fits them.
Methadone as an Addiction Treatment
Methadone has many beneficial aspects that allow it to be a choice treatment type for certain opioid addicted individuals. Among those aspects pertaining to the medication itself and listed by the CDC are
- Methadone “blocks the euphoric and sedating effects of opiates,” causing a person to be less likely to abuse codeine and other opioid drugs while being treated.
- It relieves the symptoms of withdrawal, lowering the patient’s chances of both relapse and overdose.
- It doesn’t cause euphoria when it is taken in the correct dosage as prescribed by a doctor. This allows people to take the drug daily and still live their lives without experiencing intoxication.
- It relieves cravings for opioid drugs.
- It can be taken once daily and can affect the individual for upwards of 24-36 hours (CESAR). This is why those being maintained on the drug usually visit the clinic or treatment facility once every day.
As an addiction treatment, methadone is often used as part of a larger program called methadone maintenance treatment. Often, facilities that dispense this drug will also allow patients to attend group therapy sessions, vocational counseling, and other beneficial treatment types. According to the NIJ, methadone maintenance treatment “involves providing patients with comprehensive rehabilitation services” in addition to dispensing medication that allows them to recover more comfortably with a lower chance of relapse.
Methadone as a Detox Treatment
Methadone may also be used in your codeine addiction treatment regimen as a detox drug. For many patients, methadone maintenance is used first and detox can occur after they become more stable, sometimes weeks or sometimes years later. However, some patients choose to be slowly weaned off an opioid drug with the use of medication first, which also minimizes the effects of withdrawal.
It is important to remember, though, that the individual who is eventually taken off methadone after all symptoms of withdrawal subside must still attend some sort of addiction treatment. Detox itself is not a solution to addiction, and those who are weaned off their dependence on codeine with the use of methadone will still be addicted to the former drug and likely to relapse if they are not given the proper treatment they need. This is why, in many cases, detox is done within addiction treatment, and patients are able to continue into therapy and other treatments for the addiction itself.
Is Methadone Right for My Codeine Addiction Treatment?
Methadone could be a very beneficial medication for the treatment of both your withdrawal symptoms and your addiction to codeine, depending on your needs. Codeine can cause an intense withdrawal syndrome, for which methadone would be a perfect treatment. But certain individuals may find their needs are better met by other methods. Ask yourself the questions below and find out whether methadone is right for your codeine addiction treatment.
- Have I been abusing codeine for several years?
- Long-term abusers often do very well on methadone because they can be maintained on the drug instead of rushed through detox. MMT treatment can continue for years as long as it is beneficial to the patient.
- Have I tried several other treatment types with no success?
- Again, methadone is ideal for those who need to be maintained in the long term, something that individuals in treatment for the first time usually do not want or need.
- Would I prefer an intensive treatment method that also allows me to live my life?
- As most methadone clinics are outpatient based, patients must still visit every day, but they can also work, return home each night, and continue to live productive lives while in treatment.
- Do I have a strong support system of friends and family members?
- With a strong social support network, you can attend outpatient treatment and avoid the higher costs of inpatient treatment. Those who are not suffering from other, co-occurring mental disorders also fare better in outpatient treatment.
- Am I serious about my recovery?
- Methadone, unlike some of the other medication-based treatment options for opioid addiction, has a high potential for abuse, marked by the DEA as a Schedule II drug. If you are serious about your recovery, you will be more likely to do well in methadone treatment. Though doctors will monitor your use of the drug and you will often not be able to take methadone home and administer it yourself (especially at first), you will still need to be serious about your recovery to resist the temptation of abusing methadone.
If you answered yes to these questions, you may want to choose a treatment program that incorporates methadone, as it seems that it would be a good fit for you. Especially if you choose a methadone maintenance clinic that provides you with therapy and other treatment types as well, you will likely find that you are taking positive steps toward your recovery by starting with this treatment.
However, if methadone does not seem like the right choice for you, there are other treatment types available for codeine addiction. The NIDA states, “Several options are available for effectively treating prescription opioid addiction,” including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- Individualized drug counseling
- Group therapy
- Support groups
- Narcotics Anonymous
Methadone isn’t a necessary treatment, but it can be a beneficial one, especially if you need long-term maintenance in order to stop abusing codeine. When choosing a treatment type, it is best to consider your feelings as a patient and your needs, as the treatment that best suits you will often be the most effective.