Finding out about the effects and risks of methadone detox is vital to making the right decision regarding a methadone rehab program. The treatments and services offered by different drug rehab facilities can differ, so it’s important to understand the needs of you or your loved one when you make a choice. Methadone is a drug usually issued to heroin addicts to help them get clean, but its similar effects have made it an abused drug in its own right. It is normally a green, drinkable liquid, but it can also be found in pill and intravenous forms.
Methadone is primarily used to treat heroin addiction. It imitates the effects of heroin without having the associated risk of addiction. The drug can still be addictive, but it is much less so than heroin. The aim of methadone treatment is to curb the effects of heroin addiction with steadily decreasing doses. When the patient only needs tiny and infrequent doses, then the substance can be stopped altogether. The prescriptions are closely controlled, but it’s almost impossible to stop people selling their prescription or robbing a drug rehab centre.
The effects of methadone are very similar to those of heroin, which is why some people use the drug recreationally. It depresses the nervous system, reducing both physical and psychological pain, relieving anxiety and slowing down body functioning. The user also experiences increased temperature, a sense of detachment from his or her surroundings and an overwhelming relaxation. The drug’s effects last for a few hours, but don’t include the euphoria experienced with heroin. This makes it less addictive, but there is still a risk of habitual use.
Physiologically, methadone still acts in the same way as heroin. This means that it binds to the brain’s opioid receptors and stimulates them in the same way. The brain is adaptive, and restructures itself to account for this new chemical input. It becomes hard-wired to accept the substance, and even begins to need it for normal functioning. The reduced euphoria makes methadone less addictive than heroin, but the process still causes addiction. The user begins to feel like he or she needs the substance in order to feel “normal.” This is why it’s prescribed to heroin addicts, but it can also cause an addiction of its own.
The risks of methadone are generally less serious than those of heroin, but can still cause some problems. The main one is respiratory depression, and with extremely high doses users can fall into a coma or stop breathing. Prescribed methadone is subject to controls which make it safer, but street methadone can be much more concentrated and increase the risk of negative consequences. If the drug is mixed with alcohol or benzodiazepines then overdose is much more likely.
Methadone rehab clinicsgenerally decrease the dose of methadone in the same way as when it’s used for heroin. When this physical approach is combined with psychological counselling to tackle the root cause of the problem, relapse is much less likely. Counsellors will teach addicts healthier coping mechanisms which can help them overcome their reliance on substances. As well as this, the increased understanding of how they are influenced by social pressures and negative thought patterns helps them avoid temptations.
If you or a loved one is suffering from methadone addiction, we can provide free advice on the different treatment options available at nearby drug rehab centres. If you are having difficulty deciding on a specific drug rehab program, or aren’t sure which method of treatment is most suited for your needs, we are here to help. Our advice is completely free, and we have a detailed knowledge of the different drug rehab centres around the country. If you or a loved one is addicted to methadone, don’t struggle through it alone. Get in touch and see what we can do for you.