Odds are, your methadone habit happened as a result of heroin addiction. In the 1960’s, methadone was touted as a treatment, or healthier substitute, to heroin. The addicts that were born out of this drug marketing campaign were left with a new addiction rather than a new clean lifestyle. The solution to one problem created a whole new problem.
When it comes to withdrawing from methadone, there’s no recommended substitute. The solution to the addiction is to stop using the drug altogether. This cessation will come with very unpleasant symptoms that make successfully kicking the habit a true challenge. Getting methadone out of the human body is a physically taxing process not all addicts can endure.
The Process of Elimination
Approximately three days after the final dose of methadone, the sickness will begin to set in with flu like symptoms. You may experience a runny nose and body aches along with a state of agitation or anxiousness. Early symptoms can also include insomnia and unusually profuse sweating.
Symptoms change as one gets further along in the detox process. Abdominal cramping may occur and diarrhea can be problematic as well. Nausea and vomiting are also common issues. As you can see, ridding yourself of a methadone addiction is not exactly easy. These symptoms, however, are not life threatening. Goosebumps and dilated pupils are two additional physical manifestations of methadone withdrawal that can happen during the detoxing process.
Methadone withdrawal symptoms can last as long as three or four week. The length of time it takes is dependent upon the duration of your drug use and the amount of your use. The worst period of symptoms will be during the first week without the drug. It is an unfortunate fact that your body adjusts to the presence of methadone in your system must quicker than it adjusts to the lack of methadone in your system during detox. The amount of time you experience methadone withdrawal symptoms varies, lasting up to a few weeks or longer. You’ll likely experience the worst of the symptoms during your first week of withdrawal. Unfortunately, it can take longer for your body to cope without methadone than it did to become addicted to the opiate.
Keeping Things Under Control
The uncomfortable symptoms of methadone cessation can usually be controlled with the appropriate medical care. Over-the-counter products can be used to treat nausea, diarrhea, and muscle pain. Prescription medications can also be used for more severe symptoms. A drug called Buprenorphine (Subutex) has proven an effective prescription medication for the treatment of withdrawal from methadone. It can actually shorten the length of time a person experiences symptoms.
A gradual type of methadone withdrawal can be achieved under a doctor’s care. The amount of methadone administered is slowly tapered on a daily basis which cuts down on the extremity of symptoms and their duration. Many addicts have stopped using methadone this way without enduring as much pain.
Most recovering methadone addicts are placed on a maintenance medication after the initial detox is accomplished. Buprenorphine (Subutex) has been shown to work better than other medications for treating withdrawal from opiates, and it can shorten the length of detoxification (detox). It may also be used for long-term maintenance, like methadone.
If you’re struggling with a dependency on Methadone and need help getting clean, call us at Treatment Now for a free consultation to learn about your options.
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