Learning about methadone detox is important if you or your loved one has become addicted to it. In essence, it is very similar to any other opiate withdrawal, but there are additional issues presented by methadone as a substance. Although it is commonly used to aid gradual reduction of heroin, withdrawal from it requires both physical and psychological treatment. The fact that it is issued by the government makes it seem like methadone detox shouldn’t be a particular issue, but this isn’t the case.
The process of becoming physically dependent on a substance causes withdrawal symptoms when the individual stops taking them. Dependence occurs because the brain changes to suit the addition of the new chemical and therefore cannot function normally without it. When the chemical is removed the brain craves it to avoid further restructuring, and this causes a variety of negative effects. These are linked to the specific drug, so opiate withdrawal symptoms are slightly different from those experienced for cocaine addiction, for example.
The fact that methadone is used to help people overcome heroin addiction is both its main positive and its main negative attribute. To help people reduce cravings for heroin, methadone has a longer duration of action. This means that a single dose of methadone appeases the addict’s brain for longer than one of heroin, and therefore that they need to take less. The consequence of this is that methadone withdrawal symptoms also persist for longer than those for heroin. Withdrawal from heroin can take less than a week, but methadone withdrawal could last between five and six weeks.
The actual symptoms of methadone withdrawal are similar to those for any opiate withdrawal. Generally they include aches and weakness all over the body, diarrhoea, insomnia, irritability, depression, sweating, nausea, reduced appetite, stomach cramps, shivering and sneezing. It’s been described as feeling like having the flu but a thousand times worse. The fact that this goes on for a long period of time gives you an idea of the sheer level of discomfort. You’ll probably start feeling withdrawal symptoms when your dosage goes down to 50mg per day. Throughout this period, cravings and a desire to reduce withdrawal symptoms will make it more difficult to stay clean.
You can attempt methadone detox without any additional medical assistance, but the extreme discomfort means that any extra support is valuable. The drug rehab you choose for detoxification should provide psychological support and offer medicines to help manage the symptoms. Some people don’t agree with using sleep and anxiety medicines such as benzodiazepines in treatment, but reducing the withdrawal symptoms removes one of the major factors which drive individuals back to using. As always, additional treatment is required after detoxification to address the deep-seated root causes of addiction.
If you or your loved one is looking for a centre to help during and after methadone detox, making the right decision can be a daunting task. Opiate withdrawal is never easy, and the extended duration of methadone withdrawal makes it even more of a challenge. Getting the right treatment is essential, and we can help you determine your requirements. We’ll suggest the best centres to you and answer any questions you might have. Our advice is completely free; all you have to do is pick up the phone and get in contact!