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Methadone is a drug with similar characteristics of heroin used to help heroin addicts rid themselves of their addiction. In many ways it mirrors the way heroin affects the body. However, when given in a controlled environment and at increasing smaller dosage it is the best treatment for heroin addiction.
Methadone detox is usually done in a methadone clinic. This type of clinic is not a drug treatment center but a place staffed by physicians and other professionals who have received training in administering methadone. A person who is going through methadone detox for heroin use must go to the clinic every day to receive their dosage of the drug. The cost of methadone detox is around $13 per day which makes it cheaper than heroin. Many people who are addicted to heroin feel that since methadone is addictive itself they are really trading an illegal drug addiction for a legal drug addiction. They may have heard that methadone is worse than heroin. However, no study has shown that the use of methadone is more harmful to a person's body than heroin use.
Addicts often believe that detox from methadone use can be worse than heroin detox. The withdrawal symptoms are basically the same and include depression, chills, sweating and insomnia. Methadone detox is less intensive although it may take as long as 6 months to undergo methadone detox.
The way methadone detox for heroin use works is: when a patient first begins rehabilitation they must go to the clinic each day (usually in the morning) to receive their daily dose. After a time, they will be allowed to take home doses of the medication. This will only happen when a physician has decided that the person is stable enough to handle medicating themselves. No more than six doses may be taken home at once. This is to insure that they must return to the clinic once a week. If they fail to return they will suffer withdrawal symptoms. A patient is randomly tested for drug use and may be required to attend Narcotics Anonymous. A social worker may be assigned to check upon them at various times.
All of this can make it hard for a person to get back into old habits and having a regular routine and being required to answer to someone helps promote "staying clean". One of the best things a user can do while on treatment is to think about the life they want to have after completion of detox. The time and energy that once was spent on heroin use can now be used to come up with a plan for securing the life they envision.
After detox is completed, a person may still come in contact with people who are continuing to use drugs and find themselves in situations where drugs are available. The support of family and friends is very important and a recovering addict should not be ashamed to ask for help if they feel the need to do so.