Millions of people suffer from an opioid use disorder (OUD) associated with prescription and illicit opioid abuse, with rising numbers of opioid use being on the rise every day. The most common OUD treatment form is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The comprehensive treatment combines the use of counseling, medication, and behavioral therapies.

A Methadone Clinic is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) certified opioid treatment program for people addicted to narcotics such as heroin or morphine.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid used to treat opioid addiction and chronic pain from injury, long-term illnesses, and surgery. Methadone was discovered in Germany in the 1930s, and in the 1960s, methadone started being used to treat withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for opioids without producing a high. When your drug cravings are reduced, the risk of relapse as you recover will be significantly minimized. This helps you entirely focus on your healing and enables you to deal with the underlying issues of your opioid addiction without worrying about withdrawal symptoms. MAT can help anyone who:

  • Has a severe addiction to opioids
  • Has not been successful with other forms of addiction treatment
  • Struggles with a relapse cycle when trying to quit
  • Is not responding to other forms of medication-assisted treatment

Methadone is safe and effective when taken as prescribed by a doctor. Depending on your addiction level, withdrawal symptoms can be mild, severe, and life-threatening. Common opiate withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Excessive yawning
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps

How Do Methadone Clinics Work?

There are various treatment options in methadone clinics for patients willing to stop opioid use. Methadone is an opioid, and it has unique characteristics for patients ready to quit opioid use making it an effective treatment and rehabilitative tool. Methadone clinics use replacement therapy to help cope with withdrawal symptoms and cravings experienced by patients when they are using opioids.

Methadone effects are felt within 30 minutes of intake. Once the dose is repeated, its half-life can exceed 24 hours. This means that the effects will remain for 24 hours. Methadone is available in tablet and liquid form.

Can Anyone Go to A Methadone Clinic?

Once a patient visits a methadone clinic, they must be screened and evaluated before therapy, including their medical history, blood test, and urine test. They will be given detailed information about the treatment program and guidelines. If the patient is given the go-ahead to begin their treatment program, their intake will be closely monitored. This is because methadone can be habit-forming.

There are Some conditions can put methadone treatment at risk, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma and other medical conditions that may affect the respiratory system
  • Hormonal problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Certain prostate conditions

If you have any of these conditions, inform your doctor before beginning your MAT program because the treatment can be dangerous.

What Are the Benefits of Visiting a Methadone Clinic?

Numerous kinds of research confirm that methadone is the safest and most effective when administered by a medical health professional. Taking methadone as instructed in your MAT program ensures you achieve the best treatment results. The following are the benefits associated with treatment in a methadone clinic:

  • Decreasing or ceasing opioid use and cravings
  • A reduction or avoidance of opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Lowering the risk of overdose
  • Reducing the risk of developing hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS
  • Blocking of the effects of illicit opioids
  • Counseling sessions 
  • Greatly increasing the average life expectancy  
  • Less risk of engaging in criminal activities
  • An improvement in family stability and employment potential
  • Positive outcomes for pregnant women and their children
  • Stopping the physical need for illicit opioid substances to improve the quality of life