What is Methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic opioid drug typically prescribed for treating severe pain. It is commonly also used as a solution to assist rehabilitation for opioid addicts – especially those using heroin. Methadone maintenance is most common amongst the “therapeutic” use of methadone, it allows opioid addicts to ween themselves off from use of any opioid substance— including methadone itself. Despite the “therapeutic” use of methadone, this medication can often become its own addiction, as users depend on methadone after discontinuing use of other opioids.
Methadone utilizes and attaches to the same receptors as morphine and heroin, which allows it to stabilize patients and minimize the painful withdrawal symptoms they may be experiencing when they detox. While this is a legal substance, it is understood that there is a very high likelihood of users becoming addicted to it. Illegal use of methadone can lead to extreme physical and mental dysfunction.
Following in line with other drugs that contribute to The Opioid Crisis, much of the abuse and misuse of Methadone happens simply by receiving prescriptions. Due to its potency, it is much easier to overdose on methadone than on many other opioids. It is especially lethal if mixed with other drugs, be them prescription or illegal.
Common Side Effects Include:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Impaired Balance
Overdose Symptoms Include:
- Heart Attack
- Being unable to stay Awake
- Blue tinted skin and fingers
Because of the lethality of methadone use, it is imperative that if you are using the medication that you ONLY use it as a doctor has prescribed, and even then, it is important to be very careful. If side effects begin to kick in, you should get medical attention immediately. Methadone builds up inside the body over time, so even taking one dose more than recommended can lead to an overdose.
Compared to other painkillers, methadone has a very long half-life. It can stay in the body for upwards of 50 hours or more. However, the painkilling benefits end after about eight hours. As an addiction solution, this is beneficial because it will alleviate withdrawal longer without additional uses, but for pain relief it becomes challenging. Even slightly overusing methadone can lead to death.
Compared to many other opiates, Methadone’s withdrawal effects are less severe. Many other opiates leave the body quickly, resulting in quicker onset of withdrawal and more acute symptoms. Methadone can last in the body for nearly three days straight – causing symptoms to onset slower. It was originally created to treat heroin addiction and other addictions, so this also causes it to have slightly less effects.
That being said, Methadone withdrawal can include:
- Muscle Aches
- Nausea and Vomiting
Not everybody suffers all the symptoms or the most severe ones; the severity of symptoms usually depends on the length and frequency of methadone abuse. Age and overall health profile can also have something to do with how severe the withdrawal is from any drug. Methadone is traditionally prescribed to treat an opiate addiction, and then the methadone maintenance can develop into methadone dependence or another addiction you need to treat.
Methadone Detox Meds
In methadone withdrawal, relief during the five to ten days of these symptoms can be provided through various medications including:
Buprenorphine (Subutex or “subs”)
Buprenorphine with naloxone (Suboxone or “subs”)
These detox medications aim to ease the physical discomfort and help the user get some rest and relaxation. Warm baths, mild exercise, electro-chemically balanced nutrition, and the compassionate support of recovery-sensitive physicians, nurse, and counselors help ease a person through withdrawal. At Royal Life Centers, we make sure that all of our guests are given the same level of love and care so that they can start their life of sobriety with success.
Methadone detox medicine such as buprenorphine should be discontinued as soon as possible because buprenorphine maintenance can change into buprenorphine addiction, just like how methadone maintenance turned into methadone dependence or methadone addiction.
What happens after medical detox?
Following medical detox at Royal Life Centers, guests will begin a comprehensive, collaborative approach to substance abuse treatment designed to support physical, mental and spiritual wellness. We offer a variety of detox options for treating drug addiction beyond just methadone. Our program helps to promote a lasting, sober lifestyle through sobriety and beyond. Our addiction specialists, from our therapists and case managers to our facility staff, are dedicated to providing the best in care and support. Our holistic, evidence-based approach to psychotherapy incorporates individual and group sessions. We use other holistic methods, such as art, music and animal therapy to help our guests to learn to express themselves and communicate. Our treatment features state-of-the-art activity, movement, and adventure therapies to create one program that treats mind, body, and spirit. At Royal Life Centers, we believe that emotional healing is just as important as physical healing.
Guests may begin their recovery journey in our residential inpatient program and continue with us through PHP, IOP, OP, and sober living at our graduate housing residences. At Royal Life Centers, the guest is always our top priority, and we consistently do all we can to effect lasting change, that they might continue to lead healthy, sober lives long after they have left our care. This is not just our goal, but our mission.
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