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Overview of Methadone detox

It seems that each decade brings with it the threat of some dangerous new substance that puts much of our society in a chokehold, so to speak. From small, rural communities to larger metropolitan cities, people have proven time and again that they are helpless to the destructive power of substance abuse. Despite knowing the very real risk of becoming addicted, each person who begins to experiment with substance abuse assumes that they’ll be able to hold onto their sobriety and independence. Unfortunately, we’ve come to realize that for many people, that’s not the case.

While all substances pose some level of danger—after all, there’s no such thing as “safe” recreational substance abuse no matter what the substance of use may be—it goes without saying that some are inherently more deadly than others. After OxyContin was released in the mid-1990s, prescription drugs because a major threat, but recently the wave of prescription drug addiction has given way to a heroin epidemic. As a result, the search for better and more effective means of treating heroin addiction so that those who have become addicted to this deadly drug can get their health, their independence, and their lives back before the drug kills them.

That’s where methadone comes into focus.

Click below for detailed Opiate detox guides

How Detoxing From Methadone works

Those who are familiar with methadone are most aware of its use in opioid addiction treatment programs. Specifically, it’s an opioid medication that’s used in replacement therapy—typically in what’s referred to as methadone maintenance programs—for heroin and painkiller addiction. The idea behind the use of methadone in replacement programs is based on harm reduction rather than abstinent recovery. One of the reasons why heroin and painkiller addicts are either resistant to recovery or reject recovery altogether is due to the fact that most of them harbor an intense fear of withdrawals. When these individuals have experienced withdrawal symptoms, it was likely during the times when, for whatever reason, they were unable to procure the substance or substances they needed to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay; therefore, they experienced opioid withdrawal at its fullest and unmitigated intensity.

Since the prospect of abruptly ceasing drug use—often referred to as “going cold turkey”—is so off-putting, methadone maintenance programs offer an alternative. Users can switch from heroin or painkillers to methadone instantaneously and never have to deal with withdrawal symptoms. The methadone is an opioid itself and binds readily with the body’s opioid receptors, satisfying an addict’s cravings and ensuring that withdrawal symptoms don’t occur, but without offering the same high that’s associated with heroin and painkillers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), methadone is one of the essential pharmaceutical medications that any country needs in order to function optimally. However, methadone isn’t without its opponents.

Despite evidence indicating that success rates in methadone maintenance programs making this form of treatment valuable for opioid addiction recovery, there are some who view methadone maintenance as simply substituting one addiction for another. These individuals argue that the goal of recovery is to become independent of any chemical substances while people in a methadone maintenance program must continue to take the drug for months or even years until they decide to try to taper off the methadone. Moreover, there’s been an issue in recent years regarding the diversion of methadone on the street and growing rates of abuse, resulting in people becoming heavily addicted to the drug without being in a program where their use would be supervised and where they would have regular access to methadone, preventing them from resorting to desperate means to obtain the drug.

Although methadone is your hallmark opioid substance in many ways, it is also unique in that it has an extremely long half-life. The term half-life refers to the length of time for the body to process and eliminate half of the amount of a drug’s initial dosage. While the goal of a methadone maintenance program is to keep patients at a stable dose that affords them at least 24 hours between doses, people abusing methadone in dangerously high amounts may experience a half-life of up to 65 hours. So not only is the drug more powerful, but it lasts substantially longer than other substances. This causes a problem when substance abusers are abusing methadone daily and when their bodies have become accustomed to regular consumption of extremely large doses of methadone. In such instances, it’s been said that methadone withdrawal can be worse than that of heroin and painkillers, making it essential for methadone addicts to find methadone detox treatment.

WHAT DOES THE Methadone DETOX PROCESS LOOK LIKE?

Methadone is one of those things that can be a lifesaver or deadly, depending on whether it’s being used for its intended purposes or abused for recreational enjoyment. Either way, there’s no denying that methadone is a powerful opioid with long-lasting effects, resulting in the body becoming very strongly dependent on the drug. That’s where methadone detox comes in.

The purpose of any detoxification treatment is to restore a person from a state of physical addiction to a point where his or her body is no longer physically, chemically dependent. Additionally, detoxification is meant to be cleansing for the body, ridding it of any toxins or other harmful substances—in addition to the drugs—so that it can return to a state of optimal functioning and wellness. This is true of a methadone detoxification as well, which begins with the intake process. During intake, a rough estimate of the detox timeline is made based on the severity of the individual’s addiction. After intake, the patient is escorted to his or her accommodations to relax and receive continuous, round-the-clock observation and treatment. The high level of medical care serves two main purposes: ensuring a patient’s safety at all times and keeping the intensity of methadone withdrawal symptoms to the lowest possible level. By the end of methadone detox treatment, a patient is ready to begin addressing the mental and emotional aspects of addiction through counseling and other therapies.

Most people associate recovery with withdrawals, but they fail to realize that they’ve only had intense withdrawals because they’ve never received medical treatment while withdrawing before. And with methadone being a much stronger, more long-lasting substance, it’s important for people to complete a methadone detox in an actual methadone detox program. The symptoms of methadone withdrawal are much like what one would expect of heroin or painkiller withdrawals, but at a greater level of intensity and lasting for a longer period of time. In fact, methadone detox has the potential to be at such a level of severity that a patient would be weaned off the substance at a rate of up to 2 milligrams per week.

Some of the physical symptoms of methadone withdrawal include sweating, intermittent hot flashes and cold chills, yawning, sneezing, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea, high blood pressure, sensitivity to light and watery eyes, restlessness, racing heartbeat, dull aching in the legs and joints, and dizziness. There are also a number mental and emotional symptoms, including anxiety, suicidal ideation, extended periods of severe insomnia, auditory or even visual hallucinations, increased perception of odors, increased sexual sensitivity, panic, paranoia, and extreme susceptibility to delusions.

Methadone Detox Withdrawals

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Most people associate recovery with withdrawals, but they fail to realize that they’ve only had intense withdrawals because they’ve never received medical treatment while withdrawing before. And with methadone being a much stronger, more long-lasting substance, it’s important for people to complete a methadone detox in an actual methadone detox program. The symptoms of methadone withdrawal are much like what one would expect of heroin or painkiller withdrawals, but at a greater level of intensity and lasting for a longer period of time. In fact, methadone detox has the potential to be at such a level of severity that a patient would be weaned off the substance at a rate of up to 2 milligrams per week.

Some of the physical symptoms of methadone withdrawal include sweating, intermittent hot flashes and cold chills, yawning, sneezing, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea, high blood pressure, sensitivity to light and watery eyes, restlessness, racing heartbeat, dull aching in the legs and joints, and dizziness. There are also a number mental and emotional symptoms, including anxiety, suicidal ideation, extended periods of severe insomnia, auditory or even visual hallucinations, increased perception of odors, increased sexual sensitivity, panic, paranoia, and extreme susceptibility to delusions.

List of Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Aching in the joints and legs
  • Nausea
  • Watering eyes
  • Yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Insomnia
  • Increased sexual sensitivity
  • Panic
  • Delusions

Can you detox from Methadone at home?

With a methadone detox program, there’s virtually no reason to be concerned about the dangers of an abrupt cessation of substance abuse or the escalation of one’s withdrawal symptoms to the point of becoming dangerous or life-threatening. As such, it’s generally discouraged for anyone addicted to methadone to simple stop taking the drug and detox at home on their own. If a person were to detox on their own at home, there’d be no way of ensuring his or her safety; if the at-home detox were to turn into an emergency situation, there would be nobody available to tend to the individual. Additionally, it’s less likely that an at-home methadone detox would be successful since a person is significantly more likely to be tempted to relapse by his or her environment. By comparison, a methadone detox in an inpatient detox center gives a person all the resources that he or she needs to detox safely and successfully.

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How long does it take to detox from Methadone

Addiction is a very unusual, complicated disease that affects everybody differently. Generally, there are physical, psychological, and oftentimes even spiritual effects. However, there’s no denying that methadone has very strong effects on the body. It throws off the brain’s neurochemistry, causing the body to become dependent on the methadone in order to maintain even basic functions like memory, learning, mood, managing anxiety, and a number of other functions. When a person addicted to methadone stops taking the drug, the neurochemical levels in the brain plummet, resulting in the body experiencing many of the effects that are associated with methadone withdrawal.
As well, the length of time that it takes for a person to complete a methadone detoxification varies based on a number of factors. For instance, the amount of time a person has spent in active methadone addiction, the size of his or her methadone habit, and whether the individual had been abusing any other drugs in addition to the methadone will affect the length of time it takes for a methadone detox. On average, it tends to take about two weeks or potentially a little more to successfully complete a methadone deto

  • Although methadone comprises only 2 percent of all prescriptions, more than 30 percent of all deaths from prescription drug overdose involve methadone
  • It’s estimated that a million or more Americans are addicted to heroin while 120,000 Americans are currently on methadone.
  • Methadone can subdue chronic pain for up to 24 hours, which is much lower than the 4 to 6 hours of morphine
  • Methadone withdrawals tend to appear between 24 and 48 hours after the last dose