Many health care professionals and addiction treatment center use methadone to treat opiate addiction like heroin. But long-term use of the drug can result in drug dependence. Eventually, the event will lead to drug addiction.
When taken properly as prescribed, methadone is relatively safe.
Some of the uses of methadone include:
- treatment for opiate addiction
- as a pain reliever
As a long-lasting opioid synthetically made, it still contains properties with high potential for abuse. Patients can become addicted to methadone even if they use it as a treatment medication. Most methadone treatment involves health care facilities which administer the dose to patients.
However, it holds some drawbacks. These are:
Most of the centers are located far from where users live.
- The long wait.
Only a handful of certified centers exist. If users arrive in centers they may need to wait in line to get their dose.
- Unsafe environment.
Since centers are well popular within the community, dealers try to sell illegal drugs outside the facility.
- Mischievous Motive.
Most certified methadone facilities see users as a source of income rather than someone who needs help recovering from the addiction. They feel contemptuous when users say they want to stop using the drug.
However, prolonged use of methadone can also produce withdrawal symptoms if an individual suddenly stops using the drug. Going through methadone withdrawal is a discomfort sometimes painful experience. It is important to have a medical practitioner monitor the health condition of the user during this sensitive period.
Using methadone has its own disadvantage. However, successful addiction treatment is very plausible.
Here are some of the facts about methadone in treating opiate addiction:
- Methadone can ease withdrawal symptoms. As a long-lasting drug, it prevents intense cravings up to 24 hours or more.
- The drug is inexpensive, requires no needles and most of all legal to use.
- Many people can access methadone without going through much trouble of getting one.
- Anyone can buy methadone from various certified pharmacies. Unlike illegal drugs that are only available on the streets and drug dealers.
- Methadone formulation came from license pharmaceutical companies.
- Undergoing methadone treatment will let users keep their job and function normally in their daily routine.
- Going through methadone medication is socially acceptable and does not give out discrimination.
However, methadone contains addictive properties similar to other opiates. Here are some of the negative effects of methadone:
- Methadone is more addictive and more difficult to undergo withdrawal than OxyContin and heroin.
- Some people develop drug dependency over methadone. Simply because they cannot endure the pain related to withdrawal symptoms once they stop.
- Doctors prescribe methadone to prevent painful withdrawal symptoms. However, many users take the drug along with other drugs or alcohol to get ‘high’.
- It is a very powerful drug, especially when mixing with alcohol and another drug.
Detoxifying on Methadone at home
Even though methadone is a very addictive drug, detoxifying at home remains a possibility and is considered effective. But it may involve some discomfort to the user and it will take time. Here are some of the things that might help during detox:
- Commit quitting methadone regardless how hard it would be. The detox process for methadone usually lasts from six up to ten months.
- Read different subjects about methadone; how it works, how it affects the body particularly about withdrawal symptoms. This will help to prepare the mind and the body on what to expect during the process.
- Find an alternative medical practitioner who can monitor the physical and psychological problems during the detox. An alternative doctor will not easily prescribe a drug but instead, will address directly address the problem.
In higher doses, methadone acts as a very powerful addictive drug. Usually, the drug used as a substitute for an opiate addiction treatments, leading users to trade the methadone over their original addiction. Tolerance can build quickly, controlling users to take more of the drug to get the same effect. Along with tolerance, dependence also develops and users will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms occur because the body managed to adapt the drug in its bodily function. Without methadone, it needs to re-establish its normal function. As the drug leaves the body, it makes it painful for the user making recovery more difficult.
Although detoxifying at home is possible, it is best to do the withdrawal process in a medical environment. Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs often include medical detox. This is due to the adverse symptoms of methadone produces.
Withdrawal process for each individual varies because of the genetic make-up. Similarly, depending on the severity of the addiction, the duration of withdrawal also varies. These two greatly influence on how long the withdrawal process will take.
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms of methadone are less intense than other opiates like heroin and morphine. It includes flu-like symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Stomach cramps
Other symptoms include:
Duration of Withdrawal
Symptoms usually show up within 24 hours from the last drug intake. Since methadone is a long-acting drug, it can take between 15 to 60 hours before methadone leaves the system. In rare occasions, withdrawals symptom may take several days to begin.
Events during withdrawal symptoms:
- In typical cases, methadone withdrawal last for about three to six weeks.
- For severe cases, it may take several weeks.
- The worst symptoms occur during the first 7 to 10 days.
- Flu-like symptoms usually appear first followed by psychological symptoms.
- Over the next few weeks, withdrawal symptoms will start to fade, making it easier for users to recover from addiction.
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