Overcoming methadone addiction isn’t an easy process, but you can apply some tips to help you beat it. Methadone is a medication for combating opioid addiction. But it also has very high addictive tendencies, which can be hard to conquer.
Canada is currently battling two pandemics — COVID-19 and substance abuse. Daily, the opioid-related hospitalization and morbidity rates in Canada continue to increase. But, you can play a part by combating your methadone addiction today.
While you’ll always need professional help, there are helpful tips you can practice on your own. Here, we expand on the tips to beat methadone addiction.
A Quick Look at Methadone Addiction
Originally, methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist that medical experts use for opioid maintenance therapy in opioid dependence. Medical experts also prescribe methadone for chronic pain management. It also has similar effects to morphine, but it’s less sedative.
Due to the sensitivity of methadone medication, only trained medical professionals can administer it, and it must be under supervision. In addition, the medical professional has to make sure the individual takes the drug at the correct dosage. Using methadone to combat opioid addiction is a long-term treatment and can last for a year and even up to 20 years.
However, since methadone is an agonist drug, it can also be very addictive. As a result, most people become methadone addicts even from regular medical use. After a while, methadone can lead to dependence and tolerance. In other words, people who mostly abuse methadone have a legitimate prescription but end up becoming addicts in the long run.
But the good news is that, like other opioids, you can also overcome methadone addiction. However, here are some of the withdrawal symptoms you may undergo when trying to stop the illicit use of methadone.
- Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness
- Increased tearing or watery eyes
- Muscle aches or joint pain
- Shivering or goosebumps, among others.
You need to understand those methadone withdrawal symptoms may take about two to four days to develop and up to ten days to wear off. But there are steps you can take to help you beat methadone addiction. We’ll discuss them in the next section.
Must-know Tips to Beat Methadone Addiction
These tips are not a substitute for medical attention. But, they can certainly add to the effectiveness of any methadone treatment program.
Quitting Cold-Turkey is Bad
Quitting methadone addiction instantly isn’t the best way of recovery. Understandably, stopping the use of methadone can be difficult, and you wish to get it over with immediately. But quitting methadone addiction cold-turkey or instantly can be life-threatening. In addition, you need to understand that your body now depends on methadone to function properly.
So when it’s time to quit methadone addiction, you need to do it gradually. Your body system also needs to stop functioning without methadone systematically. All you need to do is try to avoid methadone each day, just for that day. It’ll give you more control of the entire recovery process. Also, don’t hesitate to go for methadone addiction treatment to help you recover safely.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
External factors also play a great role in helping you overcome addiction to methadone. As someone going through a challenge like methadone addiction, the quality of people around you can abet your recovery or make the process more difficult.
So you need to be around people who understand what you’re going through and are ready to help you out. You don’t necessarily have to cut off people from your life as a result, but you can find a way to maintain friendships that’ll help you recover faster.
You need to avoid people that have the same problem of methadone addiction because it may cause you to rescind your recovery. That’s why it’s advisable to be around people who will support your need to stay clean. It may be difficult to leave your long-term unhealthy relationships, but it’ll pay off over time.
Exercising your body is one great way to stay healthy, improve your fitness, and support recovery from methadone addiction. Physical fitness is good for not just the body but the mind also. It’s also one of the most helpful tips to get rid of methadone addiction.
When you exercise, your body produces endorphins which can elevate your mood instantly. Endorphins are hormones that are secreted in the brain and nervous system with lots of physiological functions. These hormones activate the opioid receptors of the body, thereby creating an analgesic effect.
Exercising regularly is an important tip to help you beat methadone addiction. Also, when you have an exercise routine, it can help you structure your days, helping you curb the possibility of a relapse.
Methadone addiction can cause one to lose appetite, have poor eating decisions, damaged organs, and have gastrointestinal disorders. Generally, methadone addiction aids eating disorders.
When you use methadone, you may suffer appetite repression due to the excess production of dopamine and competing debates on whether to eat or continue drug use. For instance, you may eat fewer than two meals daily, skip meals, and fail to nourish yourself by not eating vegetables and fruits.
Another issue you’ll likely encounter from using methadone is opioid-instigated constipation. To avoid such issues, you need to increase fibre intake and food containing lots of serotonin.
Meditation is a set of techniques that encourage a heightened state of awareness and an intensive focus or attention on something. It’s also a technique that can help you change your consciousness and connection to something. Meditation also has a wide number of advantages to facilitate psychological well-being.
As an individual, one of the ways to get results to problems like methadone addiction is through meditation. It’ll encourage you to develop a pattern that’ll help you relieve anxiety and stress.
You need to find time to reflect and work your way through methadone recovery by flexing the power of your mind as regards. To help you reflect better, you need to develop a meditation practice that can help you achieve peace and calm, as a troubled or gallivanting mind is one of the causes of methadone addiction.
Find New Hobbies
Hobbies are activities that people love engaging in for the purpose of pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation. For example, you may have a job, but you love playing the guitar or even soccer.
As a person battling methadone addiction, a tip that can help you beat it is to pursue new hobbies. It’s a way to engage your mind and focus on something different, asides from using methadone.
Exploring new areas of interest will help you keep busy. It can also enable you to find joy and purpose, thereby replacing old and unhealthy habits like the illicit use of methadone. You can also pick up on old hobbies and try to master them better.
Related Article: How to Get Off Methadone
Seek Professional Help
Recovery from methadone addiction isn’t an easy process. To quit methadone addiction properly, it’s advisable always to get the assistance of professionals in the relevant field. There are many professionals available to help you on how to overcome methadone addiction.
Asides from the other tips on how to beat methadone addiction, seeking the assistance of a medical expert in a relevant field is the most important. Behavioural therapists and physicians have already structured programs that can set you up to conquer methadone addiction.
Professionals will guide you throughout the withdrawal period until you’re completely free from methadone addiction. You also need to understand that it’s safer for a professional to be present in other to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. It’ll enable you to maintain sobriety and avoid possible relapse.
There are several approaches a professional therapist may implement to help stop methadone addiction. But below are three approaches that can help you recover from methadone addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
The CBT treatment approach helps you to recognize unpleasant or saddening emotions and thoughts. Then the therapist will guide you through the CBT approach and help you formulate different productive skills that’ll assist you in managing and addressing those unwanted thoughts and emotions.
For instance, if you use methadone when you’re weak, your body now depends on it to reduce stress and calm down. You can’t feel calm if you don’t use methadone because that’s the way your brain is now conditioned.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) will teach you how to spot stress signals, dare your desire to use methadone, and replace the bad habit with a more helpful one. In addition, the therapist will enable you to overcome methadone addiction by facing it head-on.
The contingency management approach helps you reinforce methadone addiction quitting tendency. In addition, it means that the therapist may set consolation prizes for you when you don’t use methadone.
When you participate in a contingency management treatment plan for methadone addiction, you may receive gifts like movie tickets or gift card vouchers for every negative test result. Rewarding someone is an excellent way to encourage the person to quit the illicit use of methadone.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
The motivational enhancement treatment approach has to do with the therapist asking general questions about the individual. From the answers to the questions, the therapist will know the reason behind the individual’s addiction problem. Then the therapist will prioritize those reasons to have a specific direction on what next to attack and how.
The MET treatment plan is a good first-step approach for treating methadone addiction. It’s an effective approach because it becomes easier to combat methadone addiction when you understand why you use it.
People use methadone for different purposes, and sometimes anything or anyone can spur you to use it. Those things or people that sparks the fire in you to use methadone are known as triggers. Therefore you need to avoid such things or people to stay methadone-free.
You need to stay away from other methadone users around you consciously, or you can let them know that you’re taking a long break for now. To avoid peer pressure from them, you can tell them that it’s due to health reasons. It’s a good idea to tell other methadone users about your decision, but a better approach to the situation may be to avoid them completely.
If you know you can’t overcome them, you can go as far as taking a compulsory break by temporarily relocating. Avoiding triggers allow you to have a better focus on quitting your addiction to methadone.
Lastly, you need to do away with anything that reminds or triggers you to use methadone. If you wish to overcome methadone addiction, keeping any trigger around may be dangerous. You may be tempted to go back to it in the long run, making relocation the best bet if it won’t affect anything too serious in your life.
Volunteering is a willful act of contributing positively towards a cause, mostly by actions or services. For example, as an individual trying to quit methadone addiction, you can find a cause you deem worthy and contribute or volunteer.
Participating in charity while trying to recover from methadone addiction enables you to help yourself while assisting others. It helps you to find a sense of purpose and commit to it. Volunteering also gives you the room to make healthy friendships and connections.
Building the right friendships while giving back to society makes you feel better about yourself. It also makes you feel good about your impact in achieving the set goal for the volunteer team.
Group Therapy and Counselling
One good tip to help you beat methadone addiction is being around people who’ll encourage your recovery. The kind of people in your life, especially when seeking methadone addiction recovery, really contributes to the process.
You need to be around people that understand the situation at all times, and one great way to do that is by joining group therapy sessions. You can meet and connect with like-minded people to keep track of everyone’s recovery progress in the group.
Such a soft competitive ambience can enable the individual to achieve a faster methadone addiction recovery. If you stay around people seeking addiction recovery, chances are you’ll get better quickly. For instance, when someone gets better and recovers fully from methadone addiction, it encourages others. On the other hand, if you’re always around unsupportive, your chances of methadone addiction recovery are bleak.
Group therapy is an important step to treat methadone addiction because the therapist is present to guide everyone towards recovery. And most times, addiction recovery can be faster if it’s done in a group.
Related Article: How to Find the Right Methadone Clinic in Toronto
Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is also battling an addiction to several forms of opioids. Methadone, being one of the medications for combating addiction, can also be very addictive.
However, you can put methadone addiction under control. You simply need to follow the tips to beat methadone addiction in this article. In addition to these tips, you should have the support of an addiction professional.
You can check out our methadone addiction treatment center to help you overcome methadone addiction safely. Here at Inspire Change Wellness Centre, we offer personalized methadone treatment plans for every patient. Discuss treatment options with our methadone specialist today!