Methadone Treatment & Addiction
After heroin addiction, it seems like you’ll never be the same again. In the case of methadone treatment, that is the grisly truth–for the fact of the matter is that you are still not free of the shackles of addiction. Methadone addiction is just as real as heroin addiction, and it can continue for years as the user is afraid of the gruesome pain of withdrawal if he stops.
However Methadone seems to be unknown to many as are its effects and dangers. Characterized as a synthetic opioid, Methadone’s main use is by patients who are suffering with opioid dependency.
To a lesser degree the drug is also used to manage pain in those who experience it severely or chronically.
Scientifically many argue that Methadone works because it is said to have a “cross-tolerance” for those using other opiates like prescription pain medications, heroin and even morphine. This technically means that when one takes Methadone in high doses they should not be able to experience a high on the drugs just listed.
With that said the use of the drug by opiate addicts has birthed a number of other problems. Some of those include Methadone addiction, increased overdose risk and the ongoing issue of the dangerous side effects caused by using the drug.
The History of Methadone
The substance is one with a history that dates back to 1939 when the drug was synthesized in Germany. Made by a pharmaceutical company with the name of IG Farben one theory surrounding the production of Methadone is that it came from the Hitler era as a painkiller. Later used in wars to help injured soldiers Methadone was a legal drug. At that time it’s addictive potential and side effects were relatively unknown.
As the 1950’s approached, Methadone made it’s way into the United States for general use. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Company owned the rights to the drug at that time.
Today Methadone is prescribed for both opioid dependence and pain control. Those addicted to drugs like heroin, Oxycontin and morphine will often line up at a place called a Methadone clinic where they will receive a daily dose of the drug. The charge is anywhere from $5.00 to $400.00 per week for the substance. Some are lifelong Methadone users while others may be offered or choose to go on Methadone reduction programs where they will be weaned off of the drug during a several week period.
From Heroin to Methadone
Methadone has been used for years to help heroin addicts ease off their addiction. In most aspects, however, methadone produces the same effects as heroin–and the addiction is worse. While heroin withdrawal takes seven to ten days, withdrawal from methadone can take up to a month or more. It is for this reason that methadone has joined the illicit drug market with surprising popularity. Not only is it used to feed addiction, it is traded for heroin. And so the game continues.
There are a number of ways that methadone is abused. The user may convince a doctor to prescribe a higher dose than he needs, or he may take more than the recommended dosage. He may take methadone in conjunction with heroin, or he may combine it with other drugs such as alcohol. He may also choose to sell methadone to buy heroin. All such behavior is dangerous, opening the door to fatal consequences.
Side Effects of Methadone
In addition to addiction and overdose, there are a number of side effects of methadone ranging from uncomfortable to dangerous. They apply to oral concentrate, oral solution or oral tablet. They include:
• Sleep problems or chronic fatigue
• Feeling weak or drowsy
• Dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation
• Decreased sex drive or impotence
• Anxiety, nervousness or restlessness
• Increased sweating
• Trouble breathing
• Confusion and memory loss
• Heart failure
• Cardiac arrest
• Blood Clots
• Respiratory Depression
• Severe Headaches
• Problems urinating
• Anger, mood swings or severe depression
• Blurred vision
The more of the drug one is one, the more side effects the person will be at risk for. Methadone withdrawal is a procedure that a doctor should be consulted for. Often times a Methadone user cannot stop the use of the drug without the help of a medical detox. Symptoms when one stops using Methadone are severe and can last several weeks or more depending on the amount of the drug taken. Some general Methadone withdrawal symptoms include:
3. Watery Eyes
4. Body & Muscle Aches
5. Runny Nose
6. Sweat and chills.
9. Shaking & tremors.
10. Depression & irritability.
11. Severe mood swings.
12. Confusion and hallucinations.
13. Dilated or enlarged pupils.
14. Severe insomnia.
A number of things can be done to ease the symptoms of methadone withdrawal, which many former heroin addicts have said are more excruciating than heroin. This is why it is so important to consult with a medical professional or treatment specialist before attempting to quit methadone. In addition to emotional support, a number of treatment options can be very effective including:
• A nutrient-rich diet;
• Vitamin and mineral supplements;
• Proper, consistent sleep;
• Keeping one’s attention outward, which can be achieved through long walks and looking at things in the environment.
As mentioned most Methadone withdrawal cases require the supervision of a doctor to avoid possible life threatening side effects and risk to the patient.
Methadone Treatment – Stopping Methadone Addiction
More rigorous screening procedures have helped to cut down on the amount of methadone reaching illicit markets. Instead of issuing weekly or monthly prescriptions, patients taking methadone are required to pick up prescriptions on a daily basis. They are often required to swallow their dosages under observation.
A number of methadone treatment programs have also found ways to help patients withdraw from heroin without the use of methadone. In this way, addicts have a much easier time withdrawing and returning to their lives without any other addictions.
They are also free from other drugs and the side effects and dependence that come with them.