Methadone Vs Suboxone
Posted: September 17, 2017, 10:55 PM

Posts: 243
Joined: August 18, 2016

Sorry it took me so long to respond but I just saw your post! First of all, congrats on getting off of methadone. You seem to be doing very well and it is always a pleasure to watch someone reaching for recovery.

This is my second time on methadone. I was first on it over ten years ago for a little over two years and I tapered down to zero with absolutely no withdrawal symptoms at all. When it comes to tapering, slow and steady wins the race! When I got to 30mg, I slowed my taper to 1 mg every two weeks. It may seem like it was at a snails pace, but because I did it that way, I did not have to suffer. Unfortunately, I relapsed a year later and my life continued to spiral out of control even though I was in counseling and going to meetings. I first became addicted to opiates after a near fatal horseback riding accident and before my first time on methadone, I spent years on pain management at very high opiate doses. Before my first time on methadone, I was prescribed Duragesic patches (fentanyl patches) and the prescription was to wear 3 patches (that was 3 of the 100 mcg patches) at a time evry 48 hours. I was also on Actiq, which is the transmucosal fentanyl lollipops at a dose of 4 of the 1600mcg pops a day. I also was prescribed 8 milligrams of dilaudid 5 times a day. While these doses were warranted when I first was injured, it quickly became an addiction and I began running short by a week or two every month.

I eventually went on methadone, but I have to admit that I did not use it correctly the first time. I would take benzos with it. I did nothing for my recovery in the way of counseling, peer support etc.

This time, I have been back on for almost four years. You mentioned that you feel your emotions were suppressed while on it. I have found the opposite to be true in my case. Methadone has allowed my mind and body to stop screaming so that I was able to be receptive to counseling and working through my emotions.

This period on methadone I have done the exact opposite of what I did my first time and what I find a good portion of the methadone poplulation does. First of all, I have had all negative drug screens since I began. I take methadone, my seizure medication and medication for rheumatoid disease at the same time every morning. I do that because methadone for me is just another medication I use to keep myself healthy and on track. I made sure that I didn't look at it as "different" then other medication. I take it, forget it and get on with my life.

I NEVER take methadone and then go lay down. I found that a ton of methadone patients take their dose and then go zone out. First, I do not get sleepy because I am at a proper dose and do not abuse any other drugs. Properly dosed, methadone should not make you tired except for maybe the first week or two or after a dose adjustment. If you are drowsy or nodding or fall asleep the minute you sit on the couch, the dose is too high.

After I take my morning medications, I exercise, eat breakfast and take a shower. I find having a morning routine that I do without fail keeps me positively focused on my day, kick starts my day with healthy habits and puts me in a good frame of mind.

When I started medication again, I utilized my counselor like there was no tomorrow! It was hard for me to mesh with a counselor the first time I was on methadone because I had more formal education then my counselor had and, at the time, I found that off-putting. I have learned that we can most certainly learn from those who have less formal education, but at the time I wasn't confident that they could do effective therapy. (How's that for out of contol ego? lol) This time I happened to get a counselor who is an actual certified therapist. When I first started I had to meet with her for 1/2 hour once a week. For the first 6 months I probably spent at least two hours a week in her office trying to claw my way back to life! Though the clinic has a minimum amount of counseling yu have to have there is no maximum! I have definitely received my money's worth of therapy. It is in her office that I was able to establish new habits, new boundries and effect positive change in my life.

You mentioned that you do not think that medication needs to be a life sentence and for some people I am sure that is true. I do not consider being on medication to be a "life sentence" or "liquid handcuffs". I find that the attitude of "when are you going to come off" is usually, though not always, is usually perpetrated by those who mistakenly think recovery doesn't count unless you suffer to get it. I find that view to be dangerous as many addicts will die trying to suffer thrugh it. We need to see a major paradigm shift in the use of MAT.

I often wonder why the stigma against methadone exists. Most of it is based on misinformation and the more I learn about the science behind it, the more I believe it could help more people if done correctly (which means no benzos or other drugs, lots of therapy, peer recovery support, education or job support, treatment of co-occuring mental illness etc.) There are many double blind scientific studies that have found that cognitive impairment and physical reaction times do not slow down when on a proper dose...I find that complaints of those on methadone about fatigue, lack of motivation, weight gain etc are not because of methadone, but are due to doses that are not correct, not dealing with underlying issues through therapy or peer self help groups and not taking care of their health with diet and daily exercise. Untreated depression and anxiety can also be a contributing factor.

As for if I have thought about weaning soon? I honestly haven't. It is working very well for me! I don't even think about it except for the two times a month I have to go pick it up. (The maximum take-homes my clinic does is two weeks). I spend no more time on methadone than I do on my other medications. My counselor does skype sessions whenever I need to bounce ideas off of her. I also have found SMART recovery to be another wonderful tool in my recovery toolbox.

I am very happy you have found recovery and glad that you are feeling well off the medication. I can not predict if I will come off....when the negatives outweigh the positives perhaps I will wean again. For now, methadone along with counseling, SMART etc has allowed me to be the wife, mother, daughter and friend I always wanted to be. I am now an honest, upstanding citizen working in a field I love. I just started taking classes to get my master's in public health and policy. My life couldn't be better and I owe it to the combination of recovery tools that I have put together and practice every day without fail. Recovery is no longer an every day has morphed into a comfortable, exciting life. What a relief not to wake up every day and count days or hours clean! I now get to enjoy and learn every day. Life is no longer exhausting but a joy.

Good luck in your recovery! Do what works for you! Everyone's path to recovery is as unique as the individual. I encourage everyone to do what works for you! If you find yourself stuck and struggling, ask questions and try another way! We can do it!!!!!`

This post has been edited by lolleedee on October 20, 2017, 12:24 AM
Posted: April 25, 2018, 11:28 PM

Hello, I am a 35 year old recovering addict at the end of my taper. My sister is 29 at the very end at 2 mgs. Methadone IS the right fix for many people. The suboxone works for some but everyone is different. The trick is longevity clean and associating opiates with pain rather than pleasure. This can take many years of treatment and the taper can take about a year. The place kept trying to sloowww me down cuz slow and steady wins the race but i went from 100 mgs down 10 mg every 2 week until 50 mf. Then by 5 mg down to 20 and then by 3s to zero but every three weeks from 20 to 0. EXCERSIZE helps withdrawl greatly. It can take a long time before the user is ready for a taper. He patient but out does wonders fort many. Best of luck.
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