Side Effects of Methadone

If used properly following under strict supervision methadone is an effective medication for severe pain. As a long-lasting drug, experts use it for Methadone Maintenance Treatment or MMT. For users who have been addicted to opiates such as heroin, MMT can ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. The medication also helps the user’s chance of recovery in preventing relapses, a common occurrence during rehab.

Even during this MMT, health care providers need to meticulously monitor administering the drug to prevent overdose and further withdrawal symptoms. Methadone contains a long-lasting drug life which stays in the system for as long as 56 hours. If another dose is taken too soon, it can lead to a fatal drug overdose.

Quick facts about Methadone

  •    Between the year 2001 to 2007, methadone abuse drastically increased seven-fold when doctors begun prescribing it as a pain reliever.
  •    In a report about drug overdose in Florida that spans over five years, methadone ranks as the second cause of death. Cocaine still tops the list for drug overdoses fatalities.
  •    In the US, methadone overdose fatalities increased about 400% from the year 2001 until 2004.
  •    The most common effects of methadone are addiction, drug overdose and death.
  •    Users typically combine methadone with other drugs and alcohol which lead to drug overdose.
  •    Any substance that contains the following can increase the dangerous effects of methadone, these are:

o    antidepressants

o    alcohol

o    anti-anxiety medications

o    antihistamines

Prolonged use of methadone can result in tolerance to the drug. Once tolerance develops, addiction sets making the situation even more dangerous for users. In controlled condition, methadone is relatively safe but in other instances, it can provide a long list of health hazards as long as users abusing the drug.

Methadone Side Effects

  •    Weight gain
  •    Nausea
  •    Intolerance to heat
  •    Low blood pressure
  •    Vomiting
  •    Irregular heartbeat
  •    Insomnia
  •    Loss of sexual interest
  •    Loss of appetite
  •    Difficulty urinating
  •    Swelling of hands and arms, feet and legs

A separate study conducted in New Zealand added health hazards which include:

  •    Abscesses
  •    Sleep disturbances
  •    Dental problems
  •    Sweating
  •    Headache
  •    Fatigue
  •    Depression
  •    Hay fever

Several symptoms of methadone users

  •    People who abuse methadone suffers from poorer health condition than the other group of population.
  •    42% of methadone users also suffer psychological problems like depression.
  •    Users tend to have the poor diets, skipping meals for days and have cravings for sweet foods.
  •    Methadone users also have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep because of nightmares.

Effects of Methadone in Pregnancy

When a woman takes methadone during her pregnancy, her newborn suffers. The baby may suffer withdrawal symptoms that of adults after birth. However, the mother may not suffer from the withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  •    weight gain or weight loss
  •    irritability
  •    over activeness
  •    seizures

If a mother who used methadone during pregnancy and breastfed her baby, the drug can make its way into her milk feeding it to her baby. Babies may show these symptoms:

  •    vomiting
  •    nausea
  •    itchiness
  •    poor appetite
  •    trouble sleeping

The increasing number of drug abuse factors in for overdose cases in the country. Watch out for these methadone overdose symptoms:

  •    Constipation
  •    Nausea
  •    Stomach or intestinal spasm
  •    Small pinpoint pupils
  •    Nausea
  •    Dizziness
  •    Fatigue
  •    Drowsiness
  •    Blue lips and fingernails
  •    Vomiting
  •    Muscle twitches
  •    Limp muscles
  •    Weakness
  •    Cold, clammy skin
  •    Difficulty breathing
  •    Stopped breathing
  •    Shallow breathing
  •    Slow breathing
  •    Disorientation
  •    Coma
  •    Sudden death

In a suspected drug overdose, bringing the user to an emergency room is the safest thing to do. Ignoring to do so could lead to more fatal results and possibly death of the user.  Upon arriving at the emergency room, doctors may administer several things such as:

  •    Activated charcoal medication
  •    Fluids via intravenous
  •    Breathing tube
  •    An antidote to reverse the effects of the drug
  •    A tube inserted through the mouth into the stomach to wash it out (gastric lavage)
  •    Induced vomiting

Doctors may also treat other methadone overdose symptoms as they arise. For severe cases, they administer appropriate medication for heart or kidney problems.

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Crystal meth rehabilitation: How long?

Ready for a change?

Are you facing a problem with crystal meth? Feeling intimidated while seeking treatment?

Don’t be. The real harm can happen if you stay addicted. So, if you’re facing:

  • Criminal or legal charges
  • Financial problems
  • Relationship problems

… rehab can be the first step to turning your life around.

What does rehab look like? The truth is that there is no single formula for treatment. Every recovery experience is different and unique. The way YOU respond to treatment will be different from OTHERS.

We review crystal meth treatment programs here. We’ll walk you through medical treatments and what you can expect at each stage. Finally, we invite your questions at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all questions and comments with a personal reply.


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Rehabilitation: How Long Does It Take?

Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine, a very powerful stimulant. This drug is commonly abused by snorting, injecting, or smoking because of the euphoric effects and rush it provides. But the high comes with a price: crystal meth is highly addictive.

Most people who become addicted to this drug will need to go to crystal meth rehab. This is because the cravings for meth can be intense when you quit, drawing a person into relapse. In fact, your best bet to long term sobriety is in finding professional help. But how long should rehab last?

The length of time a person stays in rehab is different for everyone, since everyone’s situation is different. Still, there are some general guidelines. Depending on the severity of a person’s addiction, rehabilitation could take anywhere from a few months to a couple years.

Minimum recommended time in rehab = 30 days
Average duration of inpatient rehab = 90 days
Average duration of outpatient rehab = 1 year

Minimum stay in treatment

Medical experts advise people with crystal meth addiction problems to spend at least 30 DAYS in treatment. Choosing a longer treatment program will give you even more time to work on your addiction issues in the safety of a supervised environment. A rehab duration of 60-90 days can help you achieve an initial chemical stabilization, and start to work on the internal issues behind drug use.

Program Types

One big factor that will impact the amount of time you spend in treatment is the type of program you choose. Your choice will also impact the cost of treatment. So, when should you choose a crystal meth inpatient program? And when outpatient? Here are a few of the most common types of rehab programs and their generally recommended guidelines.

Short-term inpatient crystal meth rehabilitation

A short-term inpatient crystal meth rehabilitation program may be an option for those with relatively mild addictions. These types of programs typically require a one to three month stay in a residential facility.

Long-term inpatient crystal meth rehabilitation

Most people with crystal meth addiction will need long-term inpatient crystal meth rehabilitation, particularly if they are suffering from severe addictions. These types of programs require a longer stay in a residential rehab facility, which can range from three to twelve months.

Outpatient crystal meth rehabilitation

In some cases, a person may benefit from an intensive outpatient crystal meth rehabilitation program. Durations for these programs usually range from 12 to 16 weeks, however, outpatient aftercare can last for several months to several years.

Rehabilitation: Short-Term Vs. Long-Term

When it comes to rehab, the short-term vs. long-term decision should be made with the help of an behavioral health specialist. These professionals have the experience and knowledge it takes to determine what you need in terms of treatment based on their individual situations. Who can you see to help you make the choice about a rehab program?

  • A clinical psychologist
  • A psychiatrist
  • A social worker
  • A medical doctor who specializes in addiction

Generally, however, short-term treatment is not recommended for most people experiencing crystal meth addiction, due to the severe cravings associated with meth. Casual users may benefit from short-term crystal meth rehabilitation, but individuals with moderate to severe addictions will usually need long-term – inpatient! – crystal meth rehab in order to effectively overcome their addictions.

What Rehab Looks Like

At its most basic, rehab is like a summer camp for adults, with planned activities and group work at the core of the program. A typical inpatient program generally requires you to reside in a rehab facility during treatment. During this time, participants attend daily therapy, counseling, and education sessions. These basic treatment methods help participants learn more about addiction as well as learn methods and techniques to overcome it.

Inpatient stays are often recommended over outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment gives people a safe drug-free environment where they can focus on treatment away from the temptation of the drug. The simple fact that participants are under 24-7 supervision – unable to obtain meth – will often do wonders to speed up recovery. You can start to get into a regular routine of eating, sleeping, and exercise.

Plus, you’ll work on the “inner issues” that fuel addiction – the past trauma, adaptive behaviors, and psychological compulsions that bring you back to meth again and again, Inpatient rehab immerses participants in intensive psychological treatment each and every day. This focused concentration on self can help you find the inner resources you need to make a transition to a drug-free life.

Stages of Rehabilitation

Although the process of rehabilitation is different for everyone, it usually involves most of the same basic steps and stages. Below is a basic crystal meth rehabilitation timeline.

STAGE 1. Screening and assessment

An initial drug screening and psychological assessment is the first step during rehab. This process of evaluation usually takes a few hours to complete, and is performed to help addiction specialists create a personalized crystal meth addiction treatment plan. Assessment should include:

  • A physical exam
  • A medical and family history
  • An interview (s)
  • Drug testing

2. Medical detox

Those who stop using crystal meth will typically go through withdrawal, which can often be very uncomfortable. To help minimize the chances of relapse and help ensure a safe and more comfortable detox, people addicted to crystal meth are generally encouraged to enter a medical detox program. Medical detox offers 24-7 support. The prescription of medications like antidepressants can also be elpful during this time.

3. Pharmacological treatments

Crystal meth is not typically treated specifically with medications. Some prescription medications, however, can help reduce severe withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety and depression.

4. Psychological treatments

Two of the main psychological treatments used during crystal meth rehabilitation usually include individual therapy and group therapy sessions. Family therapy is also encouraged, which can help loved ones better understand crystal meth addiction and learn how to support people during their recovery.

5. Aftercare

A reputable rehab will offer an addiction aftercare program, which greatly increases the chances of a successful recovery. While in aftercare, you will continue a “step-down” approach to mental healthcare. You’ll continue to attend psychotherapy sessions on an outpatient basis and may be recommended to a sober living community.

6. Supportive services

People in recovery for crystal meth addiction need a great deal of support to successfully overcome their addictions. Rehabilitation facilities will typically help people remain drug-free by offering supportive services, such as help finding a job, housing, child care, or financial assistance.


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Crystal Meth Rehabilitation Time

For individuals who are considering crystal meth rehabilitation, time is often a major concern. To find out how long crystal meth rehab might take for you or your loved one, feel free to leave a comment below. We’ll do our best to give you a timely answer. If necessary, we’ll refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)

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