Coming off methadone is not easy, but it can be done with the proper clinical help and support. According to the U.S. Library of Medicine (NIH), methadone is used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and cannot be treated with other medications. It is also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in treatment programs to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs.
Methadone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. Methadone works to treat pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It works to treat people addicted to opiate drugs by producing similar effects and preventing withdrawal symptoms in people who have stopped using these drugs. Coming off methadone brings on painful detox symptoms where getting off methadone is virtually only possible in a medical detox center.
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A Little History on Methadone
Methadone is an opioid, just like heroin and opium, created in Germany around World War II to treat pain. It didn’t make its way to the United States till after the war but was not widely used due to the painkillers misunderstood side effects it caused. Like most painkillers, patients started becoming addicted to the drug. It wasn’t until the early ’90s that it was used regularly to treat other opioid addictions called Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT).
Methadone comes as a white powder that is usually dissolved in a fruit-flavored drink for addiction treatment and taken once a day. If for the treatment of severe pain, it can come as a tablet or oral solution.
To receive MMT, you must be enrolled in a treatment program approved by the state and federal governments and must treat patients according to specific federal laws. Methadone must be taken under the care of professional staff unless otherwise directed.
There have been many studies about the pros and cons. It even has been included on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines for treatment for heroin dependence. Research on MMT has found some pros to be:
- MMT significantly reduces drug injecting;
- because it reduces drug injecting, MMT reduces HIV transmission;
- MMT substantially reduces the death rate associated with opioid dependence;
- MMT reduces criminal activity by opioid users
The Effects of Methadone
Even though Methadone does not create the “high” or euphoric effect that opioid addicts chase, it does have a sedative effect. However, if you don’t have a tolerance, it will get you high. You grow a tolerance to it, which means you have to take more for the drug to work, which in turn increases into a dependence that turns into an addiction. And where there is an addiction, there is a chance for overdose.
Per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2017, about 261,000 people age 12 and older reported using methadone for a non-prescribed purpose at least once in their life. Methadone was responsible for 3,194 overdose deaths in 2017, or about 1 per 100,000 people.4 In 2014, it accounted for 1% of all opioids prescribed for pain but was responsible for 23% of all prescription opioid deaths.
While there are some positives and successes from Methadone Maintenance Treatment like quitting illegal street drugs such as heroin and putting yourself at less risk of criminal acts to gain access to drugs, it is still a drug. It might not be as bad in some ways, but you are replacing one addiction with another. You once could not stop using heroin; now, you are unable to stop using methadone. You still depend on it to function. The prescribed minimum for methadone is said to be once every day for a year, and that’s just the minimum. This is no way to live.
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Just like any other opioid, there are fears of withdrawal, and the physical dangers are high. The withdrawal symptoms for methadone are the same as any other opioid, including:
- Agitation, restlessness, and anxiety.
- Increased tearing or watery eyes.
- Runny nose.
- Shivering, trembling, or goosebumps.
- Muscle aches or joint pain.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Abdominal cramps.
We Are Here for Coming Off Methadone
We At Allure Detox understand the struggles of trying to quit methadone and can help you safely detox off this narcotic. To detox from methadone safely, addicted individuals must receive medical supervision. Our medically assisted West Palm Beach methadone detox center relies on comfort medication and around-the-clock care to safely make the process of coming off methadone much easier and less uncomfortable. We know that methadone has a highly long half-life; that’s why men and women addicted to it must be tapered off slowly. By placing our patients on a supervised taper schedule, the likelihood of completing the detox process and treatment program is much higher.
Each member of our West Palm Beach drug detox team specializes in methadone addiction recovery. Our detox center for methadone addiction is modern and comfortable. We allow our clients to rest during their detox for coming off methadone to attend counseling and group therapy sessions. Our counselors first help each patient understand that their addiction can be overcome with help and support. We focus on relapse prevention techniques so that once you’re off methadone, you’ll have the proper tools and knowledge in place to avoid using it again. Contact our methadone detox specialists around the clock for a confidential assessment.