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Detoxing From Methadone

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

March 18, 2019

Methadone is a medication used for the treatment of individuals who suffer from addiction to opioids like heroin. Used under supervision in rehab centers, methadone can provide a safe and effective form of treatment for opioid abuse.

The slow onset of the medication helps recovering individuals avoid developing another addiction. However, some may need to take methadone for years, and this can result in physical dependence on the drug. Detoxing from methadone requires careful monitoring and professional support. RehabCenter.net can connect you with rehab centers that provide quality support and care.

Methadone is one of several medications used to treat substance abuse, particularly opioid addiction. This type of medication allows a person to safely detox, or rid the body of harsh chemicals acquired from substance abuse. Many people may need to take methadone for years. As a result, methadone can foster addiction, and people taking it may need to detoxify their bodies from years of abuse.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a narcotic medication typically used for the treatment of opioid addiction, such as heroin addiction, and is also a pain reliever. It is similar in effect to morphine and acts in the body like other opioid medications. Unlike other opioids, though, methadone is slow to release—meaning the person being treated runs a low risk of addiction when the drug is administered properly. The drug is available for oral administration in the form of tablets, liquid, and powder. Dosage varies but is measured according to a person’s opioid craving intensity. As a person’s opioid cravings decrease, so does the methadone dosage.

What Are The Side Effects Of Methadone Use?

The Center for Abuse Substance Research (CESAR) explains that, “though methadone is primarily used for treating narcotics addiction, users can still experience negative side effects.”

These side effects can include:

  • Constipation
  • Feeling of crawling skin
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Slowed breathing
  • In extreme cases, death

Long-term abuse may cause lung or respiratory problems. Some women may experience changes to their menstrual cycle or complications to their pregnancies if taking the medication while pregnant.

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How Is Methadone Abused?

In most cases, methadone presents low risk for addiction. As explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “buprenorphine and methadone are prescribed or administered under monitored, controlled conditions, and are safe and effective for treating opioid addiction when used as directed.” Part of the reason people become addicted to drugs is the “rush” feeling they experience; methadone produces no rush because of the slow onset. At the same time, a person undergoing treatment with methadone experiences a significant decrease in cravings.

However, people undergoing treatment with methadone may need to be on this medication for several years. The amount of time depends on the amount of substance abuse the person has suffered. Methadone can be crucial to helping a person stop addiction, but can cause physical dependency as a result.

What Are The Effects Of Methadone Abuse?

When use turns to abuse, a person may go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms are the consequences experienced when not taking the substance.

Symptoms of withdrawal from methadone are similar to those of other opioids and may include:

  • Aching muscles
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent yawning
  • Goose bumps
  • Increased sweating
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Pupil dilation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

How Can A Person Detox From Methadone?

Detoxification is a harsh process which involves ridding the body of toxins. Methadone is used to treat addiction; it trains the body to be satisfied with the effects of methadone without the rush feeling. This can foster dependency and make the addicted individual’s ability to wean from the drug that much harder. But detox from methadone is possible.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states, “withdrawal from these drugs [opioids] on your own can be very hard and may be dangerous.” To achieve such a feat, a person needs ample support and professional care. This sort of recovery aid can be found at a rehab center, and at RehabCenter.net, we have access to some of the most reputable rehab facilities.

Why Is Detox So Important?

Detox is important because the truest way to rid a person of addiction is abstinence. Many people are scared of the detox process because withdrawal can be intense, painful, or frightening due to the physical effects. Yet detox is the first step in treatment and a new way of life for addicted individuals. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administratio (SAMHSA) states, “detoxification seeks to minimize the physical harm caused by the abuse of substances.”

After a person completes detox, he or she can enter treatment. Utilizing a treatment plan of counseling, therapy, medication, and support, rehab centers can help an individual recover from substance abuse. Inpatient care allows addicted individuals to heal in a substance-free environment with constant support and monitored assistance.

How Can You Get Treatment For Methadone Abuse?

Completing detox on your own is both risky and dangerous. Inpatient rehab centers have a level of care that offers the recovering individual a leg up during, perhaps, one of the most difficult times in their lives. If you are in need of treatment services, or would like to learn more about resources to inpatient rehab centers, contact us today at RehabCenter.net.

Center For Substance Abuse Research - Methadone

National Institute On Drug Abuse - Is The Use of Medications Like Methadone Buprenorphine Simply Replacing One Addiction With Another?

U.S. National Library Of Medicine - Opiate And Opioid Withdrawal

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