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Methadone: Side Effects, Addiction, Withdrawal & Treatment
Methadone is a drug that is used to help treat addiction to heroin and other opiates. It can be taken in pill form or dissolved under the tongue. Methadone is also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in people who are addicted to opiates and it can help reduce cravings for these drugs.
Although methadone is a beneficial drug, it can also be addictive and lead to overdose. In this post, we will explore the effects of methadone on the body and mind, as well as how detox and treatment can help those who are struggling with addiction to this drug.
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is a drug under the class of opioids. It was first created during World War II by the German medical personnel. Aside from treating medium to intense pain, this drug is also used for medicating dependence on other opioids such as heroin.
The brand name of this drug is Dolophine while its generic name is methadone. This drug also has several street names which differ from various locales depending on their culture.
Street names are used to cover the real identity of the drug when an illegal transaction happens. Some of its common street names are juice, chocolate chip cookies, Maria, metho, meth, done, dolls, dollies, fizzies, and more.
What Does Methadone Look Like?
Dolophine is available in 5 mg and 10 mg dosages in white round tablet forms. It has a pill imprint of “54 162” and “54 549”, respectively.
Methadone also exists in tablet forms with white color and round in shape. It is also available in 5 mg and 10 mg dosages with a pill imprint of “Methadose 5” and “Methadose 10”, respectively.
Other forms of this drug can be in capsule or liquid form depending on the manufacturer of the drug.
What Is Methadone Used For?
Methadone is a prescription medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Methadone for pain can be taken orally in pill form or dissolved under the tongue.
Doctors prescribed methadone to treat withdrawal symptoms in people who are addicted to opiates and it can help reduce cravings for these drugs.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone works the same way as other opioid drugs. It relieves pain by attaching itself to the opioid receptors where it prevents pain signals from going into the brain.
Likewise, to further reinforce its pain relief action, this substance also stimulates the secretion of dopamine in the brain. This hormone and brain chemical are responsible for the happy or pleasurable feelings experienced by people.
In terms of strength, this drug is 4 times stronger than morphine when orally taken. Consequently, a 5-milligram dosage of this drug is equal to the strength of 20 milligrams of morphine.
How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?
This drug takes around 24 hours to leave the body. Half of the drug will be out within that time. The drug leaves the body through urine and feces.
In terms of how long this substance can be detected in the body, it remains in the saliva for 40 hours. A drug test can detect it in the blood for 5 days and in urine for up to 7 days. Methadone can still be seen in a hair follicle test 3 months after last use.
What are the Short and Long-term Effects of Methadone?
Some people who take this drug will have side effects. If they take it for a short time, they might have these short-term side effects: dizziness, erectile dysfunction, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, stomach cramps, and hallucinations.
But if they take the drug for a long time, they will have worse side effects. These include not being able to focus, feeling suicidal, feeling depressed or psychotic, and having irregular sleeping patterns.
Is Methadone Addictive?
Yes, methadone can be addictive. Considering this drug is used to counter opioid use disorder, it is treated as a lesser threat and has a lower risk factor for addiction.
The potency of this substance is comparable to that of heroin, which still indicates strict regulation regarding its dosage to an individual.
While it is an excellent medication to stop addiction to heroin and other opioids, you need proper supervision from medical personnel to use this drug.
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?
Methadone withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the individual. When you stop taking methadone, some symptoms include sweating, shaking, anxiety, insomnia, and cravings.
These symptoms can be quite severe and may last for several days or even weeks. In some cases, people may also experience delusions or hallucinations. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical help immediately.
What Causes Methadone Overdose?
Too much methadone can cause an overdose. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat pain and as part of drug addiction treatment. It can be addictive and has a high risk of overdose, especially when it is taken with other medications or drugs.
Some of the common signs of an overdose are short breaths, frequent convulsions, cold sweaty skin, pinpoint pupils, and low blood pressure.
How Do You Treat Methadone Overdose?
If someone has overdosed on methadone, the first thing to do is take naloxone immediately. Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose caused by opioids like heroin and morphine.
If you don’t have naloxone available, you should call emergency care immediately. The paramedics can give the person oxygen and Narcan (naloxone) if necessary. This medical treatment will reverse the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes.
How Do You Treat Methadone Addiction? Detox & Treatment
While methadone use counters opioid addiction, dependence on this drug calls for another medication to be used. Consequently, Suboxone is prescribed to patients to reverse the effects of this opioid substance.
Suboxone is composed of two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. The effects of the two compounds are to decrease the addictive sensation of methadone.
Buprenorphine works by attaching itself to the opioid receptors and decreasing the impact of the opioid substance. Whereas, Naloxone prevents these opioid substances from binding on the receptor sites.
It’s very important to keep in mind that getting help from a professional detox and treatment center is crucial to ensure a successful recovery. You must enroll in a drug treatment program and get medical assistance.
A professional treatment facility can help you through the detox and withdrawal process, as well as provide long-term care and support.
Final Thoughts: Addressing Methadone Abuse and Addiction
Methadone abuse and addiction are serious problems that require professional treatment. If you’re suffering from opioid abuse, do not self-medicate. Self-medicating is not only dangerous but can lead to lifelong addiction.
Seeking treatment from professionals can provide you with the care and support you need to recover. Talk to your doctor about a personalized treatment plan for your recovery.