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Is therapy required in conjunction with taking methadone?

Discussion in 'Opiate Withdrawal Treatment' started by pineywood, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    I have just begun to understand the methadone is prescribed to individuals that are withdrawing from an opiate. If I have read the threads and article correctly, this drug is suppose to help so a person does not go cold turkey off a dangerous drug, like heroin?

    I am a little confused, how switching a person from an extremely dangerous addictive drug to a perhaps less dangerous prescribed medication known to be addicting does not also have a big risk involved?

    Is there a requirement to go to therapy in conjunction with taking methadone? Or simple is a visit to a doctor that prescribes the drug all that is required?

    Excuse me, in advance for sounding ignorant in this area.
  2. Bonzer

    Bonzer Community Champion

    Heroin is a narcotic. Going cold turkey will have severe withdrawal symptoms and make you suffer a relapse. Methadone reduces withdrawal symptoms without causing the high that had been associated with heroin or other opioids. It also helps you in drug-related detox. It, however, has its side-effects. So, based on your condition and constitution, your doctor prescribes either methadone, naloxone or any other drug as the medical professional deems it fit. I hope this helps.
    pineywood likes this.
  3. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Thank you for your response. Yes. It does help explain the options of why another medicine is prescribed to help with the withdrawal process. I was just kind of wondering, if therapy was a requirement or simply an option in conjunction with the newly prescribed medication. I would assume, with the potential side affects, a psychologist would closely monitor the patient. It just seems like it would also be beneficial to get to the root of why a person began in the first place to take a controlled substance, such as, this addicting narcotic.
  4. amin021023

    amin021023 Community Champion

    Opiate withdrawal symptoms are extremely harsh, it's almost impossible to quit without any drug to take the edge off. A combination of therapy and medication might work.
  5. blur92

    blur92 Senior Contributor

    It is probably best do require further therapy. Heroin is a very difficult addiction to overcome and is easy to relapse into. Moreover, methadone can be addictive and may replace heroin for the recovering person which would damage any progress they have made.
  6. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    Methadone alone will only replace the drug and won't do anything to adress the reasons why that person got addicted in the first place. nor does it teach them coping strategies to deal with the everyday problems that life throws at us. For this reason, I think therapy should be a requisite of methadone and other drug substitution treatment.
  7. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    I hear this phrase often in therapy over the years, "coping strategies". How right you are, without being equipped to cope there is such a higher likelihood to relapse, let alone get abstain from the get go. I do, hope someone steps up with some input and first-hand knowledge experience on the combination of Methadone and therapy.
  8. blur92

    blur92 Senior Contributor

    This was an excellent thing to point out. I couldn't agree more with you. If utilizing drugs has been a coping strategy for an individual then there not going to quit once they quit the specific substance they abused. Instead, they're going to go on to something else and methadone would be conveniently available to them. Using that alone is just putting a new addiction into the hands of a long time addict.
  9. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Initially, I thought the same way. But now that I am learning more about addiction, I am not so sure it is the best idea to stop cold turkey. Of course, I do think in conjunction an experienced therapist that is knowledgeable in the recovery process would greatly benefit, too.
  10. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Methadone is just a substitute for Heroin in order to counteract the withdrawal symptoms without the high. However, where I live it is also acknowledged that Methadone is potentially just as, if not more, dangerous than Heroin and for this reason, yes it is absolutely necessary to use Methadone in conjunction with some form of therapy, counseling or rehabilitation.
  11. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Thanks for the reply. I am learning more about Methadone and its benefits. I agree and see your point about therapy being absolutely necessary, but is it required?
  12. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I completely agree with this. I would get help asap because the withdrawals are killer.
  13. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Withdrawals can indeed be killer. That is, they can be fatal. It's possible for the withdrawal symptoms from Heroin to kill a person, without them overdosing. That's why it's so important to get help when attempting to quit.

    Ah, I think I understand what you mean. Yes, if a person is prescribed Methadone then they would be required to have some form of therapy or counseling for rehabilitation. As I mentioned in my reply to Matthodge1 above, withdrawal symptoms from Heroin can be fatal which is why it's so important to get the necessary help when quitting and Methadone is a dangerous substance too, they won't prescribe it to you unless you go to the necessary sessions. If a patient fails to go the sessions, the doctor usually refuses to prescribe more Methadone. That's pretty much how it used to work here in the UK anyway.
  14. AleFirmani

    AleFirmani Member

    How methadone treatment works varies greatly depending on where you live. In Italy, where I moved for my recovery, methadone clinics are run through the government's socialized medical care and therefor less subject to the corruption and money making schemes some American clinics have been accused of. At my clinic in Italy, I was assigned a psychiatrist who I have seen regularly from day one and had to give mandatory urine tests three times a week. Two years down the road, I still see my psychiatrist regularly who monitors my psych medications as well as my methadone treatment *and taper* but I only go to the clinic once a week to get my weekly medications and give a urine sample. I am also diagnosed bipolar so this dual treatment really works for me. I only have ONE psychiatrist who is completely informed about my personal situation and I assume he does the same for the rest of his patients. My treatment and medications are completely free. I KNOW this is not the case of private American clinics. If you do not have some sort of health coverage, weekly methadone treatment can run you a pretty penny in the states. Also, in my experience they are not as staffed with doctors so much as addiction counselors that are not responsible for prescribing meds. There is usually only one or two REAL Pdocs per clinic in the states that oversee all the patients. I think this is why methadone treatment has gotten such a bad reputation. Its because of these private American clinics charging patients for a service that should be provided by the state and then that leaves room for corruption. The pdocs at these clinics have hundreds of patients that they only know by a number in their computer. I do not know how things are run in the UK but I believe it is similar to here in Italy. After years of rehabs, jails, suboxone treatment, probation, etc I was never able to get clean until I moved away from my environment and put all my faith in my methadone treatment here. It worked for me because I got all the things I was missing in my prior treatments (one on one personalized treatment including cognitive therapy, a pdoc, methadone, and my psych meds)
  15. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Thanks for taking the time to clarify!


    Also, thank you for taking the time to explain your personal treatment and the differences that can occur between different countries. I hear you loud and clear about how your personalized care has helped you, where others failed. I, also, can relater to a degree about your dual diagnosed thus treatment. I say somewhat, because I am not bipolar, so I can never truly understand, but I do have two family member that are diagnosed as bipolar (mother and brother). I have not, nor I doubt I will again, speak about my brother, but I think it is relevant in the context of your sharing, that when he was in Germany, his treatment was so much better in so many ways, similar to your description. It really truly and deeply saddens me, that there is so much red tape in the US. I pray that he will eventually find the care he needs and so deserves. So, again thank you for your reply and I am glad to hear you are doing so much better!
  16. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    It's very hard to quit without a combination of therapy and medication might work from what I understand. The withdrawal symptoms are down right scary and having something to get through helps some folks.
  17. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    Precisely. I feel like there are many people who do not realize that or just simply do not know that about addiction.
    pineywood likes this.
  18. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    Yes, withdrawal can be deadly. That is exactly why I get nervous whenever somebody says to go Cold Turkey. I know it has worked for some and they come out of it alive and well, but I have heard to many horror stories.
    pineywood likes this.
  19. LilAnn

    LilAnn Community Champion

    I believe any major change in your life will benefit from some therapy. Sometimes that therapy can be in an inpatient facility, or just a friend to talk to, or anything in between.
    pineywood likes this.
  20. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Any kind of a drug like this you have to go for the prescription regularly. The whole thing is quite a racket. Off of one drug onto another. Scaring people and telling them they have to do this or that. No matter what if you go for help they make it this big psychological issue and yes you have to do therapy with a shrink and a counselor. There's always Narconon; it is an alternative drug addiction rehab. They detox you without drugs. 100% effective. I've done their detox for prescription drugs. I love the program. I think they have nurses there but no psychiatrists.