Effective Help to Get Over Opiod Addiction

In 2015, about 21,000 adolescents had used heroin within the past year. Estimates are that 23% of people who use heroin will go on to develop an addiction to opioids. Opioid addiction accounts for much of the addiction suffered by 20.5 million people in the United States over the age of 12, as of 2105. Opioid addiction is life-changing, and it can be life-threatening. Attempting to quit can seem impossible due to opioid withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe.

Even though opioid withdrawal symptoms can be severe, getting off the drugs and taking charge of your life is still a far better choice. In 2015, drug overdose became America’s leading cause of accidental deaths, killing 52,404 people. Fortunately, there is good news: it’s possible to get effective opiate treatment that minimizes opioid withdrawal symptoms. This medicine-based treatment is available at methadone clinics and is considered the standard for medical care for opiate addiction.

Why Get Help?

For most people, opioid withdrawal symptoms are too severe for them to succeed on their own. Opioid withdrawal symptoms happen when the body is suddenly deprived of the opiate molecules that activate certain receptors of the brain. The brain gradually becomes dependent upon these molecules, and the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms depend upon how long the person has been addicted, how much they were taking, how often, and their personal physical health. For this reason, trying to stop a pill addiction without help is usually not effective. Cold-turkey, non-medical treatment for opiate or pain pill addiction is only effective 5% to 10% of the time. Medical intervention with methadone, however, does help.

Do Methadone Treatments Work?

Methadone treatment has a proven track record as the most effective treatment available for getting rid of opiate addiction and has been helping people get free for more than 50 years. Success rates without methadone are only 5% to 10%: with methadone, those rates jump to 60% to 90%. The longer a person remains in methadone treatment, the greater their chance of becoming completely drug-free and able to stay that way.

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone changes how the body, in particular, the brain and the nervous system, respond to pain. It blocks the pain of opioid withdrawal symptoms while simultaneously blocking the euphoric high that opiates bring on. This provides double protection. The brain no longer finds opioids so enticing, and getting off them is no longer so painful and difficult. Methadone comes in pill form, liquid form, and wafer form. The drug is taken once a day, and the effects of methadone can last between 24 and 36 hours.

Where Can I Get Help?

If you or someone you love is struggling, help is available. There are methadone centers and clinics nationwide, certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). Getting access to a clinic can be as simple as visiting a doctor, walk-in clinic, or hospital and asking for help. They can give you a referral to a methadone treatment center as well as help to evaluate your physical condition before you start. If even that seems like too much, try calling the helpline run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-662-HELP or going to the SAMHSA’s help site. Either of these options will let you talk to someone and find treatment centers near you.

There is an effective treatment for opioid addiction, and one that minimizes the effects of opioid withdrawal symptoms. In 2011, a survey done by SAMHSA showed that in March alone there were 270,000 people taking methadone. You or someone you care about could be the next person to get rid of opiod addiction and take back your life.

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