Is treating methadone and depression together important? Yes! Let’s find out why.
In 2017, 68% of the more than 70,200 deaths from overdoses were caused by an opioid. This is six times higher than in 1999! Every year, the number of deaths increases at an alarming rate.
As bad as these figures are right now, they could be worse if detox in the form of MMT or Methadone Management Treatment, didn’t exist.
What is Methadone?
Methadone (also known as Methadose) is a synthetic opioid prescribed to people who want to stop using illegal opioids. It alleviates drug cravings and drastically reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Methadose has similar effects to other opioids like heroin and morphine without the euphoria associated with the use of these drugs and fewer adverse side effects.
The duration of methadone treatment programs ranges from a few months to a few years. It can be used in long-term addiction maintenance or short-term detox. Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) is usually done in outpatient clinics.1
Detox, which is the process of ridding the body of opiates and its associated toxins, can be done in less than one month. However, it could take up to six months. Doctors usually prescribe this medication in a single daily dose. Methadose is most often taken by mouth, and sometimes by injection into a muscle or vein. When used for opioid maintenance therapy, methadone is generally administered as an oral liquid.
But are methadone and depression related?
Can Methadone Cause Depression?
Is there a link between methadone and depression?
The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that showed that depression is widespread among patients receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. This includes methadone maintenance treatment (MMT).2
The data shows that 50% of all patients undergoing MMT were suffering from clinical depression and needed treatment for methadone and depression. Some people might conclude that opiate detoxification through MMT might cause depression, but that’s incorrect.
Many people experience feelings of abject despair after undergoing a period of detox. One of the reasons for this is when the opiate receptors the brain are no longer getting the drug to which they’re accustomed, a chemical imbalance occurs. This can lead to depression.
Another thing that can happen is opioid receptor down-regulation. This is when the number of opioid receptors on the surface of cells decreases as the result of chronic opioid use. This can also cause a chemical imbalance in the body. So, methadone and depression are related, but the drug itself doesn’t appear to be responsible for depression.
Depression Following Detox
What happens when you stop methadone and depression treatment begins?
Sometimes depression that follows detox is because it was a condition that occurred before drug use—one that the drug itself masked. Researchers have established an undeniable link between undiagnosed depression and opioid use. An all too frequent occurrence in our society is that people start using opioids for prescribed conditions and end up continuing them because they help cover up emotional distress.
That’s why taking opioids like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin makes it difficult to maintain emotional equilibrium.
What ends up happening is these opiates hide all kinds of uncomfortable feelings—including depression.
Lastly, opiates hinder the production of endorphins and interfere with the body’s ability to manufacture serotonin. Both things contribute to an entrenched state of clinical depression.
Can Methadone Help Depression?
Lifting the seemingly unending cloud of clinical depression isn’t one of the touted benefits of Methadose.
However, some people taking methadone for a while report an incredible sense of well-being. This is because MMT helps accelerate the opioid recovery process.
Is It Safe to Take Methadone for Depression?
Methadose is highly effective in treating opioid use disorders. And because MMT requires the patient to be supervised by a medical professional, it’s safe too.
Medical professionals are trained to be aware that an individual with opioid dependence will likely be suffering from depression. So, they’ll treat both with a comprehensive plan that includes medication and behavioral therapy.
Can You Become Addicted to Methadone?
While Methadose is used to treat opiate addiction, it can be addictive itself. This usually happens when people use it recreationally or take more than the recommended dosage.
Methadone Vs. Suboxone
Both Methadose and Suboxone are opioids. However, while Methadose is prescribed for opioid addiction and chronic pain, suboxone can only be used to treat opioid dependence.
Treatment for Methadone and Depression
If Methadone use disorder has reared its ugly head in your life and is destroying everything you hold dear, a medically supervised detox can help.
Detox will give you the freedom to stop the use of this drug in a safe setting. The process includes medications to alleviate painful symptoms of withdrawal, like NSAIDS (steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), anti-anxiety drugs, and muscle relaxants. Other medications will help to curb the overwhelming cravings that come with addiction.
Detox is successful when the last vestiges of the drug have been eradicated from your body. Depending on how dependent you are on the medication, this process can take a couple of days or several weeks.
Therapy and Counseling
Treating Methadone and Depression
There will also be intensive counseling and therapy to help you cultivate keen insights into the nature of underlying causes that lead to the disease.
There are a couple of types of therapy you might be recommended to undergo.
One of these is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which will help you eradicate the dysfunctional thinking and behaviors that lead to substance abuse.3
There’s also Contingency Management (CM) therapy. This is where an individual gets rewarded for drug-free urine samples. Usually, the longer you’re drug-free, the higher the value of the reward.
The Methadone Clinic Controversy
MMT is controversial.
That’s because some people feel that giving those suffering from substance use issues methadone to treat their disease is only replacing one addiction with another.
They believe that methadone doesn’t end to addiction, but only allows it to continue in more socially normative ways. These individuals don’t understand that MMT is a harm reduction strategy that reduces illegal drug use, improves communities, and increases the overall quality of life.
Another problem some people have with the drug is has a street value, and there’s always a risk that legal supplies can be diverted to the illegal market.
More About Methadone
Methadone and Anxiety
Methadone and Bipolar Disorder Coming Soon
Methadone and BPD Coming Soon
Methadone and Depression
Methadone and PTSD Coming Soon
Methadone and Alcohol
Methadone Detox Coming Soon
Methadone Overdose Coming Soon
Methadone Side Effects Coming Soon
Methadone Withdrawal Coming Soon