Can Stimulant Addiction Be Treated with Methadone?

Methadone is not an official treatment option for stimulant addiction. However, there has been some promise in the research on this particular area. It is important to seek treatment if you have been abusing stimulants; call 800-816-1059(Who Answers?) today to find rehab centers near you and to learn more about recovery.

Current Stimulant Treatment Options

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “At this time, there are no medications that are FDA-approved for treating stimulant addiction.” While patients are sometimes given antidepressants, anticraving agents, and antipsychotics to treat their withdrawal symptoms, this is not the same as the way methadone minimizes withdrawal and re-establishes the normal brain functions of opioid addicts who take it, allowing them to avoid relapse more readily.

The current options available to stimulant addicts are all behavioral therapies. The most commonly used include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: teaches patients how to see their drug abuse in a new way, how to cope with stresses that can lead to relapse, and how to recognize and avoid triggers
  • Contingency management: uses urine testing and a reward-based system to help patients avoid relapse and stay strong in their recoveries
  • The Matrix Model: uses several different methods from various therapies as well as a positive relationship between counselor and patient to create a beneficial treatment experience the patient will want to become involved in
  • Group therapy: helps patients relate to one another about their substance abuse and make changes through social support

Is Methadone a Viable Treatment Option for Stimulant Addiction?

Treated with Methadone

Methadone treatment has been shown to reduce drug use amongst stimulant addicts.

Although there is no way to be certain yet if methadone will become a beneficial treatment option to stimulant addicts, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services states, “A comprehensive study of an urban methadone clinic… conducted over an 18 month period on 133 clinic patients showed that with effective methadone maintenance using adequate dosages, the majority of patients remain in treatment and reduce cocaine abuse as well as illicit opioid abuse.”

It is common for stimulant abusers––especially those who use cocaine––to take other drugs as well, so this treatment option would be very beneficial to polydrug abusers if viable.

In addition, another study from 2008 cited the effects of “methadone on cocaine-dependent rats.” The rats seemed to experience a resetting effect on the parts of their brains formerly affected by cocaine, and they also did not experience a cocaine high while on methadone.

This research is promising, but it is not enough to state with certainty that methadone is a safe and effective treatment for cocaine abuse, let alone all types of stimulants. While it is known that methadone is a beneficial treatment option for opioid addicts, the only official treatments for stimulant abuse accepted currently are the therapies mentioned earlier.

With any luck, more studies will be conducted on this subject in the near future to give us a clearer picture on whether or not this particular medication will one day be viable for stimulant addiction treatment.

Where Can I Find Stimulant Addiction Treatment?

If you have been abusing stimulants and need to find a recovery program that will suit your needs, call 800-816-1059(Who Answers?). We will help you find a rehab center in your area as well as answer any questions you have about stimulant abuse and addiction.