Avatar universal

does methadone treatments work?

I have been addicted to prescription drugs for 10 yrs. I have tried several times to quit myself, but the MAIN reason I kept relapsing is the withdrawals. They are horrible..in 10 ys there has only been a handful of days that I have not taken something..I know that I am not strong alone to oversome this, but I am looking into a methadone clinic to assist me in overcoming my addiction..I have heard some say that it helped them alot but I also hear about people abusing it & getting addicted to that as well..I know my weaknesses & dont want to get high to get off treatment..but I cannot go thru withdrawal without some interventiion..so my questions..what are the effects of methadone, is it helpful or harmful, what are my choices..does the methadone work preventing relapses or would i need to get counseling at the same time to work on my coping skills??just any info will be appreciated..I want to overcome this the right way because without help I know I will not be here long on the road im going!
20 Responses
185545 tn?1331074866
Methadone is only as helpful/successful as the commitment and motivation of the consumer. I mean, if people only sign on to a methadone program as a way to supplement their illicit narcotic use then no, its never going to be very effective.

Methadone works best when the consumer is highly motivated to improve their lives and eschew illicit drug use. As a tool methadone is unmatched in its ability to provide a stable environment, allowing the consumer to explore various therapies and coucelling options, methadone exposes the consumer to regular medical consultations,  it provides freedom from withdrawals (whilst you're on it), it provides  financial security/often costing a fraction of an equivalent dose sourced  illegally,  it is  LEGAL giving the consumer  peace of mind and freedom from the legal repurcussions which can arise when buying illicit narcotics.

In my opinion it is disingenuous for people to say methadone is just trading one addiction for another. If it were a like for like exchange (eg, illegal heroin for illegal morphine) then I'd probably agree but it isnt. Responsible methadone consumption in conjunction with responsible administration is nothing like active addiction and can be a crucial stepping stone on the path to sobriety (if thats what you want). Even for those unfortunate souls who have surrendered to their addictions, maintanence therapies are much more preferable than the daily lottery of active addiction.

I'm certainly not trying to convince you to sign up for a methadone or suboxone program. I just wanted to give you an alternative perspective to the one thats been provided already. If you want to get off narcotic pain killers, you will have to endure physical withdrawals whether you go on the methadone/suboxone or not. There's no escaping this. Just remember that it is never as bad as we make it out to be in our heads. Dont let you fears paralyse you and prevent you from reclaiming you life.

All the best on your journey
kind regards Jeremy. Recovered Ex-Addict
271792 tn?1334979657
Hi & welcome,

I would never suggest that someone go on Methadone to overcome any addiction. All you would be doing is trading addictions. And if you think the withdrawal from pain meds is bad, the withdrawal from Methadone is so much worse. It also destroys your bones, teeth, hair and anything else you can think of. And that is just for starters. Most people will gain a lot of weight on it and when you see someone on Methadone who has gained weight--you can tell. They look like the walking dead.

Have you considered other options, i.e. short-term detox? Normally what they do is detox you with Suboxone (also addicting) but it is done in a short time. I know people who were successful with it but they also engaged in aftercare during and after the treatment. It would be best to join a support group and even take relapse prevention classes.

Kicking the withdrawal and getting clean is the easy part. STAYING clean is where the work comes in.

I can't tell you what to do but I really hope you consider some other form of treatment. Best of luck and stick around here. You will get suggestions and members will share their experiences with you. It will give you some good insight.
1855076 tn?1337115303
I agree.  No experience but do your research.  Methadone has saved lives but it seems there aren't many who come off it who would do it again.  There are people here who will advise you, but in the end, you have to make your own decision.  Research everything.  If I had to choose, I'd do the suboxone.
Avatar universal
thank you..I am trying to see my best option & since I know nothing of this end of the addiction I dont want to jump into ANYTHING without asking questions..& I definitely dont want to start a treatment that is more addicting than the problem I having in the first place..its just the area I live in has NO help here..the closest help is a methadone clinic in a city about 50 miles away..im not sure if methadone is the help i need, but im not sure in this city I live in has many options for me..I just know that I have to have some help because I can no longer continue this way..I appreciate the time you took to answer my question..I have yet so many..im scared in what i dont know..but I am hopeful that this is the start of something better for me..
Avatar universal
will do ..& youre right..that definitely has me researching harder before I jump into anything that could be so harmful to me..its hard to ask people for answers because you get very ashamed of the situation your in so you stay in the situation because of what others would think, but yet im so thankful for places like this that could answer my questions..& actually gettn excited that this could be the end..ty
271792 tn?1334979657
You took the first step and that was admitting you have a problem. That is huge and I commend you for it. I know you are scared hun. That is normal. After ten years I am sure you are wondering a whole lot of things.

Are the meds prescribed? If so, have you considered getting honest with your doctor and having him/her set you up on a good and safe taper plan? Some people swear by the tapering method and have had success with it.

I started using drugs when I was 13 and I am rapidly coming up on 60. Of that 47 years I accumulated 10 clean years---not all at once. I DO know how hard it is and I DO know what you are feeling. Now is the time to make a plan and set goals. You need to be strong and know that it will happen. Work for it and you can have it. There is no way to avoid withdrawal altogether so you will need to wrap your had around that and know that you can do it with minimal discomfort if done correctly.

Please keep posting even if you just want to vent. Someone is always around to listen and talk. Be good to yourself and keep your eyes on the prize.
Avatar universal
when i started to abuse them I was not getting prescriptions, then I learned I had cervical cancer, which supplied my addiction even more..to date my addiction is at its peak , recently I was hospitalized for my illness & almost lost my life..facing my own mortality made me realize that if my cancer didnt kill me, my addiction would..& that was the one thing I was truely scared of..losing my life & just like I have to fight the illness I have to fight the addiction to..I have tried to taper myself off of the pills, tried tramadol which kept me from having withdrawals without gettn high but were addictive itself,& even quiting cold turkey..which was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, worse than fighting this illness..I really thought I would die from that because thats how sick i got..which made me even more ashamed because i couldnt just stop it was like I was so weak..I have been wanting to do this since october but I now know that I am not strong enough on my own & that I will need a support system & counseling to learn other coping skills..I thought this was kind of crazy for me to get on here & even ashamed of what ppl would think, but its actually making it easier..talking to ppl that have overcome this..it makes me feel hopeful & lts me know im not the only one..thank you so much..my first appointment is this tuesday & I hope that maybe in a month or so I can post some poistive feedback about my progress..but still have alot of researching to do before I accept this program so I can make the best educated decision!!
1909286 tn?1379435137
  Hey... I would definitely do your research before taking methadone!!...I took it for over 7yrs for an opiate addiction and it was the worst 7 yrs of my life!..I think methadone is an EVIL drug...if I knew then what I know now I would have never touched the crap!!!!!!....
271792 tn?1334979657
Don't ever be ashamed. Addiction is a disease just like cancer. You didn't ask to be an addict so never feel like you are less than. I am sure you are a good person--you have a bad disease. But there is help and there is hope.

I am glad to see you are going to counseling. It is absolutely another step in the right direction.

Keep going forward. Know you are not alone and post anytime you need to. Let us know what you decide. I wish you the best.
Avatar universal
HI I would think long and hard b/4 going on methadone it seams like a good idea till you try and get off you have a taper that last months then a ruff setox and the symptom dont jusr go away I was sick for 90 days b/4 I started to come around it differnt for everybodt but dont take it thinkning you will beat the withdrawals methadone withdrawals are the worst and can last a wile I wouls tray tapering off what your on b/4 I went to a clinic good luck with whatever you decide ......Gnarly
1855076 tn?1337115303
I know it's probably hard to not feel ashamed, but please don't.  It serves no purpose and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

I would say that giving your illness you really should get off the medication under medical supervision.  And I think talking to your doctor about whether suboxone or methadone would be better would be helpful.  I'm not sure if your oncologist could prescribe either of those things but even if he can't, he should be involved in what's going on.

Is your pain gone or do you still have to deal with it?  If you do, you need to have a plan for that as well.

Best of luck with everything.  You'll get a lot of support here.
1767882 tn?1331409169
Hello - I'm going to support the voices who are saying be very, very cautious about methadone. I've been a member here for about six months, the last three completely clean, and I have read many, many posts from people who've taken methadone. I have not myself, but after all the reading I've done, I would NEVER touch it. I can tell you that I'm not a strong person when it comes to dealing with pain, and I did a cold turkey withdrawal from 60-80 mgs a day of oxy and hydro, whichever I could get. Some days were over 100 mgs, some down to 50 when I had to stretch my supply. I was using opiates for around 7 months without a break, every day. The WDs were very unpleasant but now, looking back, I am absolutely overjoyed I did it. I was very fearful of the withdrawals, but I now know the fear was 10 times worse than the actual withdrawal. I've read stories here that gave me goose bumps about the nightmare of methadone withdrawal.
These are people who have been there. They know. It's not another study, or a doctor's opinion, it's real life. I give that kind of information a lot of attention. Good luck and keep posting.
Avatar universal
I am ending my second week on suboxone.  My doc prescribed one 8 mg strip to be taken once per day.  Yesterday I decided to start cutting them on half to have two doses per day.  I did the same thing today and ended up throwing up.  Could that be from cutting them in half?  What's the doc's concern with the number of doses I take per day versus the mg amount?  This is probably the fourth or fifth time I've tried to quit.  I've been on various opiates and benzos, off and on for the past 20 years.  My addiction problem has gotten increasingly worse within the past 6 to 8 years.  I want the suboxone to work.  I want to be able to say I'm a recovering addict!!  Any suggestions or information I can get will help!!
Avatar universal
From the details I got from http://www.bellwood.ca/ , people with serious addictions are at great risk of death from overdose and infection. Methadone treatment is found very much effective to prevent death, stabilise lifestyles and improve social functioning.
4597556 tn?1383305043
I totaly agree with gnarly im trying now to get off for 3 and a half months not a good choice, the withdrawls are terrible ive been withdrawling the whole time getting off this drug just good advice dont do it. ps the wds can last in the years range just depens as gnarly said, just ween off what your on 3to 4weeks of wds is nothing compare to methadone, good luck god bless you john
4597556 tn?1383305043
i just want to reply to methadone yes people die overdose but people also overdose on methadone, some people cant handle methadone because its to dam strong i think anyone on pain meds is better off weening off then go threw hell getting off methadone, and risk the chance of useing on methadone then the chances of death is greater as my friend gnarly told me methadone is nothing to F..k with and hes right im liveing proof as every one on this site is, WEEN, thank you john
5254643 tn?1365631749
I was on ti for 10 months as a kid and they detoxe me it was the worst w/d i ever went through. Im 54 used drugs my whole life- except for a 5 yr clean-
methadone will take u and keep you. I am now just 14 days from 100mgs -cold turkey- I SWEAR id rather be tied and disemboud than go through that again. Just go through it or go to a detox place.
I beg you dont do it, detox and go to NA. i came from a family of users they all died young from drugs and alcohol the only way is ALL OR NOTHING.the ppl in the rooms need the new comer, they r not freaks they r just like you.

u can do it, its hard yea but find a way methadone is not the answer
Avatar universal
I have a dear friend, she is young and struggling with coming off heroine addiction. She is on a methadone program. My question is... Did you relapse at all during or since you have been off methadone? And how long did you take it?
480448 tn?1426948538
Please start a new thread, as this one is old and won't get as much attention.

To start a new thread, click on the orange "post a question" button on the top right of the page.

We also have a forum for loved ones living with the addictions of others.  That may provide some guidance and support for you, in addition to any info you need.
Avatar universal
I've been on a methadone program for 2 years now, and I think you have it all wrong. For me, it wasn't "switching addictions" in any way. The drastic changes from my life before methadone and life after maintenance are amazing. From living on the streets, working in nasty strip clubs, and stealing to support my habit or even eat (when I wasn't deathly ill from heroin withdrawals) to, now, owning a home and small business,  with a husband and young son. I thank my higher power everyday for the life I live today the life that wouldn't be possible without methadone treatment.
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