Methadone Treatment Program in Mississippi

Dr. Saurabh Bhardwaj

Dr. Bhardwaj, Medical Director is a Board-Certified Addiction Psychiatrist (ABPN) and currently the Medical Director of Defining Wellness Center in Brandon MS. He is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Center for Innovation & Discovery in Addictions (CIDA) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He has been in Mississippi since 2018, building Addiction services for the state's only medical center and joined Defining Wellness Center in 2022 to provide specialized dual diagnostic services. He is a recipient of Ruth Fox scholarship from AAAP and trailblazer teaching award from UMMC. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

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If you find yourself among the millions of people who battle with addiction and want to stop, chances are you have questions as to where to start. We’re here to help.

In the fight against opioids, methadone has emerged. Its use has been quite effective in overcoming heroin substance use disorder.

People who have developed a substance use disorder connected to painkillers have found methadone helpful. We know this sounds good. We know that people overcoming those disorders need something like methadone, but things must be done carefully.

Unfortunately, methadone is also an opiate. This is the reason why careful administration is vital. Normally, medical professionals supervise the administration of this drug, and the substance is heavily regulated by the U.S. for this exact reason. Developing a methadone substance use disorder is definitely possible. This is what we’re going to talk about since it’s something we’ve seen at Defining Wellness Centers.

How Does It Work?

Part of the reason this drug is heavily regulated is that it affects the brain the same way heroin and OxyContin would. Both drugs are a big problem in the U.S., so the concern makes sense.

Methadone binds to the same receptors that drugs like heroin and OxyContin do. The reason it works is that it blocks the effects other opioids might have on the user. When someone is trying to overcome substance use disorder linked to opioids, this drug is there to help lessen some of the unbearable pain people go through. It’s quite powerful. Overdosing isn’t too hard, which is the reason careful administration is important.

Sadly, proper monitoring doesn’t always happen, no matter how good people’s intentions are. The reality is that methadone has killed people. One out of three prescription painkiller deaths were associated with this drug.

You should also know that methadone is used in the medical industry to help deal with severe chronic pain. It’s usually the preferred solution to deal with severe chronic pain as opposed to things like morphine. The reason is simply that methadone has a longer half-life. A person who takes morphine is going to have to take it again within a few short hours. A person who chooses methadone will be able to suppress the pain the entire day.

Leading to Substance Use Disorder

While people can find the drug on the streets, that’s not always the reason people develop a substance use disorder. Most of the time, the reason people develop something like this is because of self-medication.

A person dealing with chronic pain is sometimes prescribed methadone to deal with the issue at home. That person receives specific instructions regarding how long to take this medication and how much at a time.

Sometimes, people make mistakes, or they just don’t listen. At times, the discomfort is too much to bear, so people take more of the substance.

Whatever the reason, the person starts to use more methadone than needed. This is one reason people develop a substance use disorder associated with this drug. This isn’t to say that it happens to every person prescribed methadone, but it’s something to keep in mind. This knowledge simply helps people understand why using methadone is so regulated.

The following are a few examples of how someone might start to develop a substance use disorder associated with this drug.

For the High

This happens when the sole purpose of using the drug is to get high. People may like the euphoric feeling they experience while taking this drug. This is a sure way to develop a disorder.

Feels Like a Need

Some people may start to feel like they need the substance. If the drug starts to feel like a need, like something you’re looking forward to, then you may be heading down the wrong path.

Trying to Get More

A person who’s dealing with a substance use disorder is going to start craving the substance more and more. The person may go so far as to try to obtain more even if they have to lie. A person doing something like this is developing the disorder.

Disregard to Side Effects

People who’ve developed this disorder stop caring about the side effects associated with higher doses of methadone. Some of these side effects can be quite distressing, yet it won’t stop people who’ve developed a substance use disorder.

Side Effects Associated With Methadone

Yes, there are some side effects when you take methadone, especially when you take it in high dosages. The following are some of those side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Mild to severe stomach pain
  • Mild to severe dry mouth
  • A sore tongue
  • Flushing
  • Difficult urination
  • Mood swings, sometimes extreme
  • Poor vision
  • Insomnia
  • Erection issues, general sexual desire issues

As mentioned earlier, these are the types of side effects someone with a disorder may ignore. The problem is that things can get worse with continued use of the substance. When the body requires more to get the same effect, even worse things could happen. The following are some serious issues that could happen if the drug is used in greater quantities:

  • Major seizures
  • Severe itching
  • Hives or a rash may appear
  • Swelling of the eyes or tongue
  • Breathing problems
  • Inability to swallow
  • Some hoarseness
  • Uncontrollable fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion, agitation, and loss of focus
  • Nausea, vomiting, and general weakness

Experiencing any of these is an emergency. They are warning signs that things could get worse. The danger is that folks dealing with a substance use disorder don’t always worry about having the means to call anyone for help.

We’ve heard stories of things getting worse, which is why we work tirelessly to provide the help folks need so that they can overcome this disorder. We have success stories, and we want to give you the power to fight this disorder with professional assistance.

What Does Substance Use Disorder Look Like?

Substance use disorder linked to methadone can develop rather quickly. There are some major signs that you’re completely dependent on the substance, and you’re going to learn what those are here.

Stockpiling It

One major sign that things have taken a turn for the worse is if you’re stockpiling the drug. As mentioned earlier, this is a highly regulated drug. Someone with a substance use disorder will know that and will take steps to have more than enough.

It starts with a little lie here or there to a doctor, but things move along quickly. Sometimes, the person dealing with this disorder will visit different hospitals and may start to turn to the streets to make sure they have enough supplies. This could get dangerous relatively quickly for a person with this disorder.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Someone who’s developed a substance use disorder to methadone may experience withdrawal symptoms. This happens after the body becomes dependent on the substance.

After a few days without the drug, a person who’s developed a disorder is going to feel those symptoms. These symptoms will start small, but the longer the person goes without methadone, the stronger these symptoms become. These symptoms could include the following:

  • Mild to severe body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Mild to severe diarrhea
  • Bad cramping
  • Severe chills
  • Restlessness

What a person experiences can drive them to do all sorts of things they normally wouldn’t do. This could include stealing, among other things.

What to Do If You’ve Developed the Disorder?

If a substance use disorder has developed, then it’s important to recognize that it’s not something you can just overcome on your own. Methadone is powerful, and you need an experienced team like ours to help. What we do here at Defining Wellness Centers is provide you with a three-tier treatment approach. We use technology, healthy living, and therapy to help you overcome addiction.

Now, we understand that each person is different, and every drug is different, so each treatment is personalized to your experience. Every step is closely monitored and adjusted to make sure you come out on the other side triumphant.

The following are some ways we help people.

Using Technology

We use a lot of technology to make a difference in the treatment of our clients. Alpha-Stim is one of the tools we use.

The reason we like it is that it helps balance the brain’s signals during treatment. This is vital because it means we can try to provide some relief if you’re dealing with insomnia or anxiety. These are common during treatment.

This may sound a little wild, but don’t worry about it. The device doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort, and there are no side effects.

Vibroacoustic therapy or VAT is another piece of technology that we use. In essence, this is sound therapy. It’s known to help in many ways, like by improving sleep and stimulating blood flow. Blood flow is vital because it’s how your body repairs itself. Boosting restful sleep is important since it’s often affected during treatment.

The healing process can be exhausting, and each person requires special care. We’re using tools to help speed up things as much as possible.

Healthy Living

Healthy living is a major part of your recovery. Our team encourages everything, from Pilates and yoga to tai chi. We do this because exercise is important to our clients as they try to go through this treatment process.

Exercise is not only known to help regulate mood, but it also helps improve sleep. These are things our clients need right now. On top of that, healthy living is also something that could help with detoxification. The more your body moves, the easier it’ll be to start to remove toxins from your body.

We have a fitness center, too, that’s complete with everything you might need, from treadmills and weights to bicycles. You should also know that we have a basketball court and a golf course available to our clients. We want to ensure fitness and wellness are accessible to you.


Professionals approach substance use disorder in several ways, including through therapy. There are times when this disorder connects to all sorts of underlying conditions that you might not know about.

On top of figuring out where this substance use disorder stems from, our therapy approach is also necessary because it shows us what you’ve been through. These sorts of disorders traumatize the body and mind.

Both aspects of a person need to be analyzed and dealt with if genuine success is the goal. Our dual-diagnosis treatment program is what we use to try to pinpoint traumas you might have experienced as your disorder developed or even before. The problem with not addressing deep-seated issues is that they can make you even more susceptible to relapse. We don’t want any of our clients to relapse, so we make this a big deal.

We’ll also help you learn new coping mechanisms. This is important because it helps you deal with stress or trauma in the future. Sometimes, being unable to handle stress or trauma can lead to a relapse. Life is always going to be stressful because it’s full of trauma. Every time these things happen, you shouldn’t feel powerless. You should feel powerful because we’ll teach you to react more effectively.

Our team is here to make substance use disorder treatment as effective as possible. We want you to be one of our success stories.

Begin your Recovery Today

If you are ready to take the step towards a new life, call Defining Wellness today and learn more about how we can help you.