Methadone Abuse: Helping People Get on the Road to Recovery
Methadone abuse is a growing problem in the United States. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that has been used as a painkiller and an addiction treatment for years. Methadone abuse can occur when someone takes it to get high or by taking more than prescribed by their doctor. Methadone users can be less responsive and have slowed reaction time, among other dangers.
Learn more about methadone abuse and how to seek help if you need treatment using methadone to get off other opiates, or are looking to detox from methadone itself.
Is Methadone Safe?
Methadone is a prescription medication that the FDA has approved to treat opioid addiction and severe pain. If methadone is taken correctly, it can assist in ending your opioid addiction.
In terms of how safe methadone is, it is essential to know that when controlled and in a safe environment, it is a reasonably safe drug.
However, many considerations and cautions should be in place before beginning your journey using this drug. If addiction occurs, it can lead to many health risks and challenges.
Who Prescribes Methadone?
Methadone is a prescription medicine, but only someone with special training or credentials can prescribe it.
Your first prescription (or script) will come from your primary care doctor or a prescriber at your drug treatment center. This might be a nurse, doctor or a prescribing pharmacist. They’ll ask you to pick a pharmacy where you want to get your pills. You may either visit a local pharmacy or one near to home or work.
To begin, you’ll generally go to the pharmacy once a day and pick up your methadone there. If that is difficult for you, speak with your prescriber about it.
The reason that methadone is so closely regulated is due to the addictive nature of the drug. Because of this, it is recommended that you take methadone in a controlled environment, such as Zinnia Health. That way, you can ensure you receive the proper doses at the appropriate time.
How Long Do You Have to Take Methadone?
You will generally be on methadone for a long period if you’re receiving it for maintenance treatment. If you’re undergoing detox, your dose will gradually be decreased until you don’t need it anymore.
It can take up to 12 weeks to complete. If you’re detoxing in an institution or residential treatment center, it might be faster.
How Do People Become Addicted to Methadone?
Methadone is a highly regulated opioid that is used to treat addiction and cravings. It is so controlled that people who take methadone in an outpatient setting must visit a clinic each day to receive their dose. It’s a strong opiate with the potential to be habit-forming.
Methadone is used to help treat opioid addictions, so becoming addicted to the new substance that makes your body feel better is common. People become addicted to methadone the same way that they become addicted to other opioids like heroin, morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin) and fentanyl.
Methadone is a long-lasting opioid, which means if taken regularly, the body will develop an increased tolerance for methadone over time.
This can make Methadose or Dolophine withdrawal symptoms worse than people who only use once in a while because of their increased tolerance levels.
Who Abuses Methadone?
The important thing to know about methadone addiction is that it can happen to anyone taking methadone. Methadose or Dolophine are opioids, which means that they have the same effects as heroin, morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin) and fentanyl.
Anyone taking methadone is at risk of becoming addicted. However, addiction is much more common with methadone abuse. Methadone is long-lasting, so it can take up to six hours for the effects of methadone to wear off.
Sometimes, users may take another dose before the previous dose has worn off because of the long-lasting effect. This can contribute to methadone abuse.
Taking methadone in a controlled setting with experts and professionals is the best way to minimize the risk of methadone abuse.
What Are the Signs of Methadone Addiction?
Because the symptoms of methadone addiction are often less apparent than those of other opioids, detecting it may be difficult.
Because many people use methadone as part of a treatment program for opiate drug abuse, they may not exhibit any symptoms that appear unusual or unanticipated.
- Dizziness and a light euphoric sensation are two of the first signs of opioid dependence.
Some symptoms that are common include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Weight changes
- Vision problems
- Urination problems
- Flushing of the skin
What Should You Do If You Start Noticing These Symptoms?
If you start to notice any of these symptoms and take methadone, make sure you seek professional advice or support. Methadone can be dangerous in high doses, so make sure you carefully follow your doctor’s instructions.
You can visit your doctor or reach out to Zinnia Health, which has on-site nurses and experts who can help you on your road to recovery.
How Long Does a Methadone Detox Take?
Because methadone is a long-acting opioid, the complete withdrawal and detox process can take considerably longer than it does with other narcotics or addictive drugs.
The symptoms may begin as early as the first 24 hours after last using methadone, and the entire withdrawal process might take up to several weeks, depending on how serious an addiction you have.
Here’s a closer look at what you can expect during the first few weeks of your methadone detox.
Typical Detox Timeline
The timeline for recovering from methadone abuse will vary for everyone based on multiple factors. Those factors include age, weight, how long you have used methadone, personal metabolism, and addiction risk.
Days One to Two
The first two days are usually normal, with the initial withdrawal symptoms not generally appearing for at least 24 hours after the final dose was taken.
The following symptoms may show up during the first two days:
- Muscle aches
- Increased heartbeat
- Fever and chills
Days Three to Eight
It’s during this time that the methadone withdrawal symptoms are usually at their worst. The symptoms might range from barely noticeable to very severe, depending on the level of addiction. This is also when cravings are at their peak.
Additional symptoms that you may experience during days three through eight include:
- Aches and pains
- Flu-like symptoms
Days Nine to 15
After you’ve made it through day nine, you’ll probably notice that some symptoms have lessened. That does not, however, imply that you are out of the woods yet.
You will almost certainly still have:
- Strong cravings
- Physical discomfort
After you stop taking methadone, you might experience symptoms such as intense cravings, poor energy levels, and sleeplessness for weeks. Many people also report experiencing post-withdrawal symptoms, commonly known as PAWS, during the weeks and months after stopping methadone.
Some have reported experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) for months or even years.
The following are some of the most frequent symptoms associated with post-acute withdrawal:
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor concentration
Common Fears of Methadone Detox
Many people have pre-determined fears about methadone detoxes. Methadone detox is not as dangerous as it may seem, and there are many options for treatment. Methadone abuse can be a serious problem that requires professional help to overcome; however, with the right support and methadone rehab program or therapy sessions, you will begin feeling better in no time.
Some common fears are as follows:
1. I Have Tried to Detox at Home and Was Not Able to Succeed
At Zinnia Health, you will be in a controlled environment where a team of professionals will monitor your methadone intake so that you do not have the chance to abuse it.
If you are in the detox stage, Zinnia Health will use its experts to assist you on your journey to recovery. Talk with professionals who know how you feel and listen and support you free of judgment.
2. I Will Relapse After Recovery, so What Is the Point?
The best way to avoid relapse is by using methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) or an addiction treatment program that incorporates MMT for at least one year after you stop taking methadone.
Research suggests that this method can significantly reduce your risk of long-term side effects if you have been abusing opioids for over ten years before entering into methadone maintenance treatment or addiction treatment program.
3. I Will Feel Sick for Months and Maybe Even Years
While it is true that methadone detox can take longer than other opiate withdrawals, with the help of professionals and monitoring of your unique situation, Zinnia Health will provide you with the best chance at being symptom free as quickly as possible.
Methadone detox can be safe with assistance from professionals who help you throughout your journey for support and guidance.
4. How Can I Ensure That I Do Not Become Addicted to Methadone?
While everyone is different, taking methadone in a controlled and safe environment is the best way to ensure that you are not at risk of addiction.
Still, dependence can occur, and many people want to taper off or detox from methadone at some point.
Methadone detox can be safe with help from professionals who monitor your progress throughout the process for support and guidance.
5. Is Methadone the Same as Methamphetamine?
No, methadone is a federally regulated prescription medication used as an analgesic for pain and as part of treatment programs to help individuals addicted to heroin or other opioids stop the abuse.
Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive stimulant; it can cause serious health problems such as heart problems and brain damage.
Meth has no medical purpose and should not be confused with methadone.
How Can You Ease the Fear of Methadone Treatment?
You might use what you learn during treatment to reduce your anxiety. Try these techniques:
Deep breathing has also been found to be relaxing. Sit in a chair with your back straight and your feet parallel on the floor. Place your hands just above your waist, where you would wear a belt. Breathe in slowly as you count to seven while keeping it for five seconds before exhaling again.
As you practice this standard relaxation method, your body will eventually learn to enter deep breathing mode whenever you’re nervous or scared.
It’s an approach your therapist may teach you. It entails selecting a location, a focal point and physical relaxation.
Talk to people who are in the same boat as you. Attend 12-step programs. Listen to other individuals’ tales and then share your own when you’re ready.
Get Help With Methadone Detox Today
Methadone is a great drug to help cure opioid addictions, but it can be abused and cause methadone addiction. If you do find yourself abusing methadone or think you may have become addicted, there are many things you can do to overcome the addiction.
Methadone detox is a crucial step in overcoming methadone abuse and becoming healthy again. It can take up to 20 days or more for methadone effects to stop completely after your last dosage; however, methadone withdrawal symptoms usually end within 14 days.
The first step in identifying if you need to seek professional help is being aware of the symptoms and possible signs.
The second step is to accept the fact that you need help.
And the third step is to take action and commit to making yourself healthy again.