Are There Alternatives to Methadone Treatment?

Methadone was created in Germany in 1939 as a less addictive alternative to morphine, although it wasn’t approved for use until 1947.

The use of methadone as a painkiller spread throughout Europe. Around this time, the US began using methadone as a treatment for heroin withdrawal because it acts on the opioid receptors in the brain without causing the person to get “high.”

The number of people who were addicted to methadone grew in both Europe and the US. Still, methadone remained as the go-to drug for treating heroin withdrawal for several decades. Today, the risks of methadone are more well known, which has led to advancements in opioid addiction recovery treatment, particularly in terms of alternative routes.

Are There Other Maintenance Drugs Available?

doctor talks to patient about maintenance drugs available instead of methadone use

Suboxone is a drug used to help with heroin and other opioid addiction. Its active ingredients are buprenorphine and naloxone. The buprenorphine is an opioid painkiller that acts on the same receptors in the brain as heroin and other opioids. Although it is an addictive substance, the naloxone blocks the euphoric effects of opioids and thereby reduces the chances of abusing buprenorphine. It tends to cause fewer side effects and is safer to take during pregnancy than methadone, as noted by a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

Zubsolv is similar to Suboxone, as it contains the same two active ingredients. Rather than a film or tablet like Suboxone, Zubsolv is a small, sublingual tablet, meaning it dissolves under the tongue. It has a different flavor than Suboxone and absorbs more effectively. Due to its better bioavailability, Zubsolv has smaller doses of the active ingredients, which results in fewer side effects.

Are Natural Addiction Treatments Available?

Nowadays, drug addiction treatment centers offer more natural means of treating heroin and opioid addiction as well. Doctors prescribe holistic treatments to ease nausea, anxiety, diarrhea, and pain caused by withdrawal. Some examples of natural approaches include meditation, acupuncture, massage, and yoga.

All these therapies help to restore balance to the body and mind, helping individuals to feel better as they go through withdrawal.The idea behind natural methods is to allow clients alternative methods to cope without the side effects of maintenance drugs. Although studies reveal a great deal of benefits for clients who undergo medication-assisted detox, it is possible to go through the recovery process without the use of methadone or buprenorphine. That being said, due to the severity of opioid withdrawal, a combination of traditional medications and holistic approaches is often used.

Counseling is another important aspect of a recovery treatment. In therapy sessions, a professional talks with the client and gets information on how the opioid use started, the client’s family background, and what triggers the client to use opioids. The counselor then guides the client through the recovery process by addressing the psychological aspects of addiction. Therapy essentially retrains the person’s brain to live without opioids or other substances of abuse.

Methadone may be the right choice for some people in opioid addiction treatment. Each treatment approach should be tailored to the needs of the individual client. It is up to the individual’s doctor and treatment team to recommend the best course of action, whether it includes the use of methadone or alternative methods.

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