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Methadone is one of the drugs typically used to treat individuals who are dependent on opiates. In most cases, methadone rehabilitation centers work by replacing heroin or other opiate-based pain relieving prescription medicines with methadone - a longer lasting legal alternative - to help addicts achieve more normalcy in their lives.
Yet, methadone can also prove to be highly addictive and mood altering. Additionally, it can be hard to detoxify your body from this drug - even more difficult than some prescription opioids and heroin. In fact, the unbearable withdrawal effects from methadone might remain for over a month before symptoms begin to subside.
However, regardless of how badly you may want to stop using methadone, the month of intense and serious withdrawal symptoms may be too difficult to endure on your own. This is particularly so if you have your own life to go about and things to do. As a direct result, most individuals will relapse either back on methadone or on the opiate substances they were addicted to in the first place.
Going through methadone detox may alleviate some of the accompanying symptoms and make the methadone detoxification process more safe for you.
Understanding Methadone Withdrawal
Methadone is one of the most physically addictive drugs, even more so if you take it in high amounts or for a long period of time. Although, it is still commonly used in the treatment of opiate addiction - which many people argue that it is merely replacing one type of addiction/dependence for another.
Therefore, if you take methadone every day, you will become tolerant to it quite quickly. This means that you may experience the desire to take more of it to achieve its desired and good-feel effects.
After your body develops tolerance and needs the drug to function normally, you have developed dependence. This means that you will experience negative withdrawal effects upon cessation of methadone.
Withdrawal will occur because your body and brain need to re-adjust and re-learn how to function normally without the drug in its system. As your body attempts to reestablish its normal functions, you will feel uncomfortable withdrawal - which makes it very difficult to appropriately accomplish any kind of rehab.
Since withdrawal is accompanied by negative effects, you are extremely advised to undergo medical detox. This will likely be an inpatient medical detoxification center, and it will help you experience less severe withdrawal symptoms.
As you can well imagine, the withdrawal process for methadone is not the same for everyone. In fact, how long it lasts and symptoms of withdrawal are different from one person to the other depending on the length and intensity of the addiction. In addition, your tolerance and body chemistry will also affect your symptoms as well as the duration of withdrawal.
Who Needs Methadone Detox?
Withdrawal from methadone is accompanied by symptoms that are similar to withdrawal from most opiates - such as morphine and heroin - but which are typically less severe and intense, although they last a much greater time period.
Therefore, if you feel any of the following effects, which can either be mild or severe, you may want to go for methadone detox:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Muscle aches
- Muscle pains
- Rapid heartbeat
- Stomach cramps
If your dependence to methadone is more severe, you are highly likely to experience more intense withdrawal effects. In addition, if you are addicted to another substance, your withdrawal may take more time and feel more severe.
Likewise, in case you want to quit abruptly, you may experience more severe withdrawal. Because of this, doctors recommend that you taper off your use of the drug to make sure that the withdrawal process is easier for you to bear.
Duration Of Methadone Withdrawal
Methadone's withdrawal symptoms will likely appear within 36 hours of your last dose. Although, methadone will take anywhere from 2 to 4 days to leave your system. Still, other individuals take a bit longer to start feeling withdrawal.
Either way, the effects will typically last anywhere between 3 and 6 weeks, although it will take a bit longer if your dependence was more intense. In most instances, the first 7 to 10 days may be the worst since this period is typically characterized by unbearable psychological effects - such as paranoia and anxiety - and flu like physical effects. Although, these effects may start going away over the next few weeks.
- First 72 Hours: The methadone withdrawal symptoms will start a day or so after your last dose; these symptoms include muscle aches, rapid heartbeat, fever, and chills
- Days 3 to 10: Over the next week or so, your cravings for methadone will become more severe; you may also experience anxiety, irritability, severe insomnia, nausea and other flu like effects.
- Days 11 to 21: By this time, some of the physical withdrawal effects might have begun to fade. However, you may still feel strong cravings for methadone as well as depression which can cause you to have difficulty becoming motivated or experience pleasure.
- Days 22+: Any physical effects that continue should be considerably mild; Although, the depression and insomnia can still be intermittent as your body readjusts to a life without methadone.
It is always best to undergo methadone detox in a hospital or alcohol and drug rehab program. You should only choose to get detox services under the watchful supervision and monitoring of a doctor to ensure that the withdrawal doesn't become life-threatening.
The majority of medical detox services will wean you off methadone or reduce your doses over time. Tapering off or weaning will alleviate some of the severity of your withdrawal and is the most ideal choice, especially in comparison to stopping cold turkey. The only thing you have to contend with is that it just may take you longer.
In closing, going through methadone detoxification in a certified clinic will make it possible for you to take advantage of the expertise, advice, and oversight of medical personnel and doctors. After that, you can start working with your medical provider to develop a personalized treatment and rehabilitation strategy.
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