Detox from Methadone

methadone detox

Detox for Methadone

Many people who undergo treatment for heroin addiction using methadone detox become addicted to it as well. They remain on the drug for years, fearful of the withdrawal symptoms that will ensue once they discontinue use. There are alternatives to methadone treatments that can free recovering heroin addicts from the cycle of addiction. A progression of lower dosages to suspend drug use supported by a drug rehabilitation program at a qualified methadone detox center can help many end substance abuse and remain drug free.

Opponents of methadone therapy call attention to the fact that patients who use methadone are still suffering from addiction and that the therapy does not address the cause of addictive behaviors. The overwhelming psychological dependence accompanied by substance abuse involving a number of drugs often abates any progress made. Some methadone users have been known to sell drugs that are prescribed to them to obtain money to purchase heroin. This has contributed to methadone being added to the list of addictive drugs sold illegally.

Obtaining methadone through fraudulent means is prevalent among those who are addicted to drugs. Individuals who are addicted to methadone may exhibit behaviors they wouldn’t ordinarily to obtain the drug. One common practice for acquiring the drug is to convince a physician that a higher dose than necessary is needed. Those who are addicted frequently take larger amounts of methadone than is prescribed and in combination with other drugs including alcohol. Some users take methadone while continuing to use heroin.

In studies where patients were administered both heroin and methadone orally while remaining uninformed of which they were given, they were unable to differentiate between the effects of the two. Another problem experienced by those using methadone to treat heroin addiction is withdrawals. Heroin withdrawals typically last seven to ten days while methadone withdrawals may last a month or more.

It is ironic that a drug used to treat addiction to narcotics such as methadone is often found on the black market and has been attributed with being the cause of numerous deaths from overdose. Methadone places users at risk for developing a tolerance and subsequently addiction. Withdrawal from methadone has been referred to as a horrendous experience. Numerous individuals who were once addicted to heroin have stated that heroin withdrawal is much less severe than those of methadone.

Previously, heroin addicts were prescribed enough methadone to last a week or a month. Many addicts would sell their methadone on the black market. As a result, methadone became a common street drug. School aged children have found with the drug, and on more than one occasion, it has resulted in their death.

This has led to many methadone maintenance programs requiring addicts to obtain their prescriptions on a daily basis. In some cases, the patient must swallow the medication while being observed. These measures are intended to prevent methadone from being sold as a street drug.

Where Did Methadone Originate?

Methadone is a synthetic opiate that was first synthesized in Germany during World War II. It was marketed under the brand name Dolophine as an analgesic and used to treat severe pain. Methadone is still prescribed for pain relief, but is most often used to treat narcotic addiction. Its effects are longer lasting than those of morphine derivatives. Methadone is effective for up to 24 hours, allowing a single daily dose to be used for heroin detox and other drug treatment programs.

How is Methdaone Administered?

Methadone as typically administered orally as a liquid. It is sometimes prescribed in the form of a tablet or injectable ampoule. As with many other narcotic drugs, methadone is often resold to become available illegally.

What are the Adverse Effects of Methadone?

Methadone has been known to produce serious side effects including:

  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Vision Problems
  • Hives

What Are the Symptoms of Methadone Overdose?

An overdose of methadone can lead to unconsciousness, coma, or death. Symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Small, pinpoint pupils
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Cool, clammy, or blue skin
  • Loss of consciousness; coma
  • Limp muscles

How to Detox From Methadone

Suboxone is effective for detox in medication assisted treatment programs for opiate dependence including methadone. It complements education and other means of support that center on the behavioral aspects of opiate addictions. Suboxone alleviates the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that can distract patients from recovery efforts and allows them to focus on addiction counseling. The active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine. 

Buprenorphine has become a widely accepted alternative to methadone. It is viewed as much safer and has a dosage ceiling that limits the euphoric effects. Suboxone drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to detox from methadone.

We have more than 25 years experience in helping those with prescription drug addictions regain control of their lives. They understand that no two individuals are the same and offer customized treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs. Northbound treats drug addictions as well as underlying causes such as co-occurring mental illnesses simultaneously. A variety of therapies and classes provide patients with coping and daily living skills to help them return to being productive members of society.

Treatment and What to Expect

Seeking an evaluation from your substance abuse counselor is a crucial first step to take when beginning your road to recovery for methadone addiction. Your unique situation will need to be assessed to understand the level of severity of your methadone addiction and associated addictive behaviors. Here at Northbound, we want to make sure we evaluate you at our best ability to ensure that treatment is tailored for you. We believe in making sure your treatment is right for you. 

After understanding how you respond, a detox period, followed by inpatient treatment or one of three different styles of outpatient treatment will be suggested. Outpatient treatment is also used as a supportive level of care that is recommended to aid with transitioning from inpatient or residential treatment back into the community.

Once you are discharged from treatment, we will most likely recommend aftercare programming to further support your change from treatment, back into your daily life. This includes help with building a healthy routine, life skills, relapse prevention techniques along with therapeutic support throughout the process. Making sure you develop healthy habits is crucial to long-term recovery. We want to set you up for success as much as possible and leave you with the right tools to conquer addiction.

After finishing aftercare, which is also called standard outpatient treatment, it is strongly encouraged to participate in Alumni programming. The goal is to keep you connected to your support team and further develop healthy relationships with fellow peers in recovery for fellowship and support. It is important not to underestimate the power of community as building a strong foundation of support can often make a huge difference. 

Medical Treatment

Whether the person started abusing methadone for recreational purposes or began using the medication as part of an opioid addiction treatment regime, treatment for methadone addiction requires two main areas of focus. These areas are a medical detox and comprehensive therapy.

Since methadone is an opioid, medical detox is always a must in order to withdraw from the drug. In some cases, patients will be gradually tapered off methadone, whereas individuals may be switched to another medication, such as buprenorphine, in other situations. Medications that may be used to target this during treatment are:

  • Buprenorphine: A semisynthetic narcotic, buprenorphine was the primary medication approved by the fda to treat opioid addictions with additional flexibility. Whereas methadone is very regulated and patients should visit clinics for their daily doses, buprenorphine will be prescribed for take-home dosages. This medicine does have some similarities to methadone and other opioid drugs, which means there’s some potential for abuse or addiction, however it’s viewed to possess less abuse potential than methadone.
  • L-alpha-acetylmethadol (LAAM): This medication is a Schedule II substance that’s typically utilized in opioid addiction treatment. Like buprenorphine, LAAM is an alternative to methadone therapy. It can thus be useful for people who are battling methadone addiction. There are a variety of side effects related to this medication, especially once used on a long-term basis, as well as rash, nausea, increased blood pressure, and abnormal liver function.
  • Psychiatric medications: There are many psychological and emotional effects relating to withdrawal and recovery. Medications to treat depression or anxiety can be used with cautious oversight to treat these effects. These are typically administered with a psychiatrist’s prescription in addition to individual and/or group therapy treatment.

Defeating Methadone Addiction

If you or a loved one is addicted to methadone, we want to be the ones that help you. Taking the first step may seem scary, but we’re here to guide you through it. Contact us today by calling (949) 763-3576 today and let us help you take the first step in getting better. 






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