If you have been prescribed methadone in order to treat moderate to severe pain, you may believe that it is inherently safer than many other substances simply because it is available on prescription. However, the opposite is true – this medication is so addictive and potentially dangerous that it cannot be safely sold over the counter.
The same is true for those who have been prescribed methadone as a substitute for heroin. While the risk of overdosing on methadone is extremely low when used as directed, it is still possible to become addicted to this substance.
When methadone is purchased and used illegally, the risk of addiction and overdose is higher as the amount and frequency of the dosage is not being monitored by medical professionals.
So, how do you know if you are addicted to methadone? An addiction is a physical and/or psychological compulsion to repeat a certain behaviour or ingest a particular substance, even when this action does not serve you. 
The two key signs of addiction are:
- Being unable to reduce or completely stop using a particular substance despite wanting to
- Experiencing negative consequences as a result of the substance but continuing to use it
Even if you have been prescribed methadone by a doctor, it is entirely possible that you may have developed an addiction to this substance and should seek treatment within a professional rehabilitation centre.
Do I need to go to rehab for methadone addiction?
Methadone addiction can be obvious to friends, family members and colleagues, but it may take some time before the individual recognises and acknowledges that they have a problem. This realisation may not occur until the psychological aspect of addiction treatment commences, and therefore it can be difficult to convince someone to seek help for a problem that they do not believe they have.
If you can relate to some of the below statements, you may be dealing with a methadone addiction and should seek treatment within a specialised rehabilitation centre or treatment programme.
- I have attempted to obtain multiple or forged prescriptions for methadone
- I need to take a higher or more frequent dose of methadone in order to experience the same effects
- My performance at work or school is suffering due to my use of methadone
- I am purchasing and using methadone without a prescription
- I am neglecting my responsibilities at work, home and school
- I experience withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking methadone
- I can’t imagine my life without methadone
- Friends and family members have expressed concern about my methadone use
- I spend a large amount of time obtaining and using methadone
- I have been dishonest when confronted about my methadone use
- I feel irritable and agitated when I am unable to take methadone
- I have attempted to reduce or completely stop using methadone and have been unable to
- I have experienced negative consequences due to my methadone use but continue to use it
While you may not display every symptom of addiction, you may recognise some of these signs in yourself or someone you care about. In this case, your next step should be to call our team at OK Rehab and discuss your concerns with a member of our friendly team.
We can advise and support you through the process of seeking treatment and use our experience and resources to find a rehabilitation centre that suits your lifestyle and budget.
How much does methadone rehab cost?
Completing a treatment programme within a rehabilitation centre can often be costly, but there are a number of options available that can significantly reduce the price while still providing an effective recovery plan.
There are a number of factors involved in calculating the cost of methadone rehab, and each treatment centre will vary in terms of price. These factors include:
- The type of treatment centre
- The length of the treatment programme
- Whether the treatment programme is inpatient or outpatient
- Selecting either an individual or a shared room as an inpatient
As an estimate, a 28-day inpatient treatment programme can range from £6,000 to £12,000 while a shorter stay of around 10 days can cost between £2,000 and £6,000.
If the addiction is less severe, a home-based treatment programme can also be an effective option. These are usually priced at around £1500 but specific requirements must be met to ensure the physical and psychological safety of the patient.
How long does methadone rehab take?
The length of a methadone treatment programme varies depending on the patient and their unique needs, but most last between 7 and 28 days with the most common plans ranging between two and four weeks.
A longer stay is generally more effective as this gives the patient and counsellor more time to explore the causes of the addiction and develop coping strategies and methods to prevent relapse, but this is subjective and depends on the severity of the addiction. 
It is recommended that each patient complete the treatment programme and stay for the duration of the plan. However, patients are usually free to leave of their own accord unless they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
What happens during methadone rehab?
While entering treatment for methadone addiction can be overwhelming and intimidating, gaining a greater understanding of the process can provide comfort and help individuals to feel more confident about their decision to recover within a rehabilitation centre.
A pre-treatment assessment involves a thorough physical examination as well as a series of questions relating to the behaviour or substance use in order to determine the severity of the addiction as well as any underlying conditions that may be impacting the patient.
The goal of detoxification is to completely cleanse the body of methadone, usually completed over a period of time with a gradual decrease of the dosage. This method can lower the chances of experiencing severe and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms which could lead to relapse and allows the body to rebalance over time and learn to function without methadone in the system.
While some treatment programmes simply address the physical aspects of methadone addiction, the most effective plans examine the psychological reasons behind the addiction as well as providing strategies and coping methods in order to deal with triggering situations and potential relapses.
The period of time after completing treatment for an addiction is the most dangerous, due to a lack of monitoring and the potential availability of methadone. An effective aftercare plan can preempt potential triggers and factors that may result in relapse and give the patient the tools they need to navigate life after rehab.
How does a methadone rehab assessment work?
Before a patient enters a rehabilitation centre, a professional assessment and diagnosis must be established in order to determine the most effective method of treatment.
It is not recommended to self-diagnose with any type of disorder. There may be a number of underlying factors involved in the development of the addiction including co-occurring mental health disorders and past trauma, all of which can influence the type of treatment that is prescribed. 
During the assessment, a doctor will ask a series of questions to determine the severity of the addiction along with any other underlying issues. They may conduct a physical examination and refer to the patient’s prior medical history as well as speaking to friends and family members, in order to ensure they have all the relevant information about the addiction.
Which counselling methods will I be offered during methadone rehab?
Arguably one of the most important aspects of addiction treatment, counselling allows you to express your feelings and emotions in a safe and non-judgemental environment. You will be encouraged to unburden yourself and discuss any past experiences and trauma that may have impacted your behaviour and lead to the development of an addiction.
As well as being therapeutic and relieving, counselling is also a proactive way to prepare for life outside of the treatment centre. With the support and guidance of your therapist, you will discover coping skills and strategies to help manage your emotions as well as healthy behaviours and activities that you can turn to instead of methadone.
Common types of therapy offered during methadone rehab include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Dialectical behaviour therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Medically assisted therapy
What happens if I relapse after methadone rehab?
Once the treatment programme is complete, many patients believe that the hard work is now over. However, the most difficult phase of addiction recovery is only just beginning.
The period of time directly after leaving rehab is the most common time to relapse, particularly if the individual is struggling to find a stable routine and dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation. The combination of intense methadone cravings and a lack of professional monitoring can cause many people to revert back to self-destructive behaviours at the first opportunity.
However, a relapse can be used as a learning opportunity and a reason to reach out to other people in recovery via local support groups or programmes such as the 12 Steps. Recovery from a methadone addiction doesn’t just happen overnight – it can take years of trial and error before long-term sobriety is reached. The important thing is that you should not give up, no matter how many times you relapse.
Remember, relapse is simply a bump in the road as opposed to the end of the recovery journey.