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Methadone is one of the drugs commonly used to treat individuals who are dependent on opiates. In most instances, methadone rehabilitation facilities work by replacing heroin or various opiate-based pain relieving medications with methadone - a longer lasting legal alternative - to help addicts attain more normalcy in their lives.
Although, methadone can also prove to be extremely addictive and mood altering. Additionally, it can be difficult to detox physically from this drug - even more difficult than some prescription opioids and heroin. In fact, the uncomfortable withdrawal effects from methadone might remain for over a month before symptoms begin to subside.
Because of this, regardless of how badly you might want to stop using methadone, the month of difficult and severe withdrawal symptoms may be too hard to manage on your own. This is indeed the case if you have your own life to go about and things to do. As a direct result, most people will relapse either back on methadone or on the opiate drugs they were addicted to originally.
Going through methadone detoxification may alleviate some of the accompanying symptoms and make the methadone detox process more safe for you.
Understanding Methadone Withdrawal
Methadone is a particularly physically addictive drug, particularly if you take it in high amounts or for extensive periods of time. Although, it is still commonly used in the treatment of opiate addiction - which many individuals argue that it is merely replacing one kind of addiction/dependence for another.
Hence, if you take this drug every day, you will become tolerant to it quite fast. 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 requires the medication to function normally, you have developed dependence. This means that you will feel adverse withdrawal effects once you stop taking 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 effectively attempt any kind of rehabilitation.
Because withdrawal is accompanied by adverse symptoms, you are highly advised to undergo medical detoxification. This will likely be an inpatient medical detox facility, and it will help you endure less intense withdrawal effects.
As you can well imagine, the withdrawal process for methadone is never the same for everyone. In fact, the duration and effects of withdrawal are different from one individual to the other depending on the length and severity of the addiction. In addition, your tolerance and body chemistry will also impact your symptoms as well as the length of withdrawal.
Who Needs Methadone Detoxification?
Withdrawal from methadone is accompanied by symptoms that are similar to withdrawal from other opiates - such as morphine and heroin - but which are often not as severe and intense, however they last a much greater duration of time.
Hence, if you experience any of the following effects, which can either be mild or intense, you may want to go for methadone detoxification:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Muscle aches
- Muscle pains
- Rapid heartbeat
- Stomach cramps
If your addiction to methadone is more progressed, you are highly likely to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, if you are addicted to another substance, your withdrawal may take more time and feel more intense.
Likewise, in case you decide to quit cold turkey, you might experience more intense withdrawal. Because of this, physicians recommend that you taper off your use of the methadone to make sure that the withdrawal process is easier to endure.
Duration Of Methadone Withdrawal
Methadone's withdrawal symptoms will likely show up within a day and a half of a person's last dose. However, the drug will take anywhere from 2 to 4 days to leave your body. However, other individuals take a bit longer to start experiencing withdrawal.
In either case, the effects will usually last anywhere between 3 and 6 weeks, although it will take more time if your addiction was more intense. In most cases, the first 7 to 10 days might be the most severe since this period is usually characterized by unbearable psychological effects - such as paranoia and anxiety - and flu like physical effects. However, these effects may start fading over the next few weeks.
- First 72 Hours: The methadone withdrawal effects will start a day or so following 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 might also feel symptoms of anxiety, irritability, extreme insomnia, nausea and similar flu like symptoms.
- Days 11 to 21: By this time, various of the physical withdrawal effects may have started fading. However, you might still feel strong cravings for methadone as well as depression which can cause you to have difficulty getting motivated or feeling pleasure.
- Days 22+: Any physical effects that persist should be relatively mild; However, the depression and insomnia may remain intermittent as your body readjusts to a life without the drug.
It is always safest to undergo methadone detoxification in a hospital or drug treatment facility. When possible, you should only choose to get detoxification services while under supervision and monitoring of a physician to make sure that the withdrawal doesn't become life-threatening.
The majority of medical detoxification services will wean you off the drug or lower your doses over time. Tapering off or weaning will alleviate some of the intensity of your withdrawal and is the most ideal option, especially in comparison to quitting cold turkey. The only thing you have to deal with is that it just may take more time.
Overall, going through methadone detox in a specialized clinic will ensure that you to take advantage of the expertise, advice, and supervision of medical personnel and doctors. After that, you can begin working with detox administrators to develop an individualized treatment and rehabilitation strategy.
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