Methadone Program: The way to treat methadone addiction: Part II

A girl enjoying the benefits of completing a methadone program to treat methadone addiction with a day at a spa. She has a towel over her head and cucumbers on her eyes.

In Part I, we discussed methadone in all of its addictive and destructive potential. Now that we’ve established why methadone programs exist, today, in this blog, we discuss why methadone is prescribed. And how methadone addiction is treated in a methadone program. 

Methadone program: Why is methadone prescribed?

As we established in Part I, methadone is “heroin without the high”. And it’s commonly prescribed to treat heroin addiction. As a synthetic opioid, it’s used as a treatment option as a part of a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) regimen for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). Methadone helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing those with OUD to function normally without experiencing the intense highs and lows associated with opioid abuse. 

Methadone maintenance therapy is a long-term treatment that, when combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, aims to support recovery by stabilizing the individual’s opioid dependence and reducing the likelihood of relapse. 

Methadone treatment for pain

Methadone is also prescribed, sparingly, for treatment of  chronic pain. Its long term analgesic effects after it is imbibed,  allows for far less frequent dosing. Especially when compared to some other opioids. In pain management, it may be prescribed when other pain medications have been ineffective or when a person has developed tolerance to other opioids. However, any less than an extremely supervised and discerned methadone prescription is a recipe for methadone abuse. 

Because of its high potential for abuse (it’s almost as addictive as heroin), the federal government has classified methadone as a Schedule II controlled substance. Due to its aforementioned potential for misuse, addiction, and overdose. 

When used as prescribed and under proper medical supervision, methadone can be an effective and beneficial medication for managing opioid addiction or chronic pain. However, it must be carefully monitored and administered by healthcare professionals in specialized clinics or treatment programs to prevent misuse and ensure safety for individuals using it for either addiction treatment or pain management.

Treating Methadone Addiction with a Methadone Program

Because methadone is extremely addictive and extremely serious, it’s extremely important to treat methadone use disorder (or methadone addiction) as quickly as possible. Beyond the diminished quality of life that comes from living with methadone addiction, all substance use disorders are easier to treat when treatment begins early. Treatment plans vary depending on the individuals physical and medical needs, but here’s a skeleton key for how methadone addiction is treated:  

  1. Medically Supervised Withdrawal (Detoxification): Gradual tapering of methadone under medical supervision can help manage withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals may adjust the dosage slowly over time to minimize discomfort and safely each person under our care through physical withdrawal. Any opioid withdrawal can be deadly and dangerous if it happens outside of medical supervision. Detox and withdrawal can be uncomfortable. But under our care, you or your loved one can be sure that you’ll be safe and healthy. 
  2. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Some individuals benefit from transitioning to another medication, such as buprenorphine, to assist in managing withdrawal symptoms while reducing cravings. This controlled tapering process can support recovery and minimize the risk of relapse.
  3. Behavioral Therapies: Counseling and behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, motivational interviewing, and group therapy, are essential components of methadone addiction treatment. These therapies address underlying issues, help develop coping skills, and modify behaviors associated with addiction. Because methadone is often prescribed for pain, many people who are attempting to live their lives without methadone often need many forms of therapy to deal with the fear of pain that comes from being weaned off of the drugs. Pain makes people make stupid decisions. Fear of pain is almost as bad. But with our help, you or your loved one can learn to live the life that you intend to. 
  1. Support Groups and Peer Support: Participation in support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or other recovery groups provides a sobering ballast. Along with encouragement, peer support, and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of community during the recovery process.
  2. Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Addressing co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma, is crucial in treating methadone addiction. At NPAC, here in Port Lucie, Florida, we specialize in treating every dimension of addiction. From the physical to the psychological. Integrated treatment that addresses both substance use disorder and mental health conditions is often more effective.
  3. Continuing Care and Aftercare: After the initial treatment phase, ongoing support and follow-up care are essential for maintaining sobriety. Continuing care may involve ongoing therapy, participation in support groups, and access to community resources to sustain recovery efforts.
Treatment in a methadone program will leave you feeling as new as the woman in this photo. She's basking in the afternoon light streaming in through an open window, while holding a cup of tea.

This concludes our series on methadone addiction and methadone programs. If anything in this series has struck a chord with you, and you are ready to seek treatment for you or a loved one, don’t wait. Get help now. Your life is worth it. And it’s worth living without addiction. 

Need to treat methadone addiction? Then it’s time to get help now!

In a society where stigma still shrouds neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction, the Neuro-Psychiatric Addiction Clinic is a safe haven. Here, our patients find a wealth of scientific knowledge, cutting-edge treatments, and a compassionate environment where their struggles are met with empathy and understanding. By choosing this clinic, people in need and their loved ones take a decisive step towards embracing a brighter future, one where the rays of hope and healing replace the shadows of addiction and neurological imbalance with a renewed sense of purpose.

Start your journey to wellness today at one of the nation’s leading addiction and mental health treatment facilities. Benefit from recovery in style with great people in a pleasant South Florida location in Port St. Lucie. Call us at (888) 574 3506 or complete the form here. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions regarding our treatment programs.

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine