Treatment is on a case by case basis. Treatment involves medication, group counseling, individual counseling, and many other forms of support in the recovery process.
Methadone is a longer acting opiate effective for 24-36 hours after ingestion. Methadone attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain, and in sufficient quantity, blocks the effects of other opioid not experience withdrawal symptoms. At a stable/blockade dose (all opioid receptors in the brain are filled by Methadone) the opiate addict will not experience withdrawal symptoms, will not experience a decrease in cravings associated with opiate use, and will be protected from overdosing on opiates. If all receptors in the brain are filled with methadone, any other opiates will not have anywhere to attach to in the brain and will be flushed from the system therefore preventing an opiate overdose.
This does not mean a patient is protected from overdosing on other types of drugs while on methadone. Methadone does not provide a euphoric rush. A patient on a stable/blockade dose is able to perform the duties of their job, drive, and participate in activities. A methadone patient at their optimal dose will not be “nodding off”.
What Is Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is one of the three medications commonly used to treat opioid addict. The other two are methadone and naltrexone. Cost varies for the different medications. You may need to take this into account when considering your treatment options.
The person who takes buprenorphine feels normal, not high. However, the brain thinks it is receiving the problem opioid, so withdrawal symptoms stay away. Buprenorphine also reduces craving. If cravings continue to be the problem, your doctor will adjust your medication or help you find other ways to reduce them.