Methadone is a synthetic and long-acting narcotic analgesic often used to treat opioid addiction. Although methadone is an opioid, the mild and gradual onset is supposed to prevent users from experiencing euphoric effects and deter a user from using illicit opioids such as heroin. However, methadone is often abused and prolonged methadone use has been linked with dangerous health consequences if not used properly. There is much debate on the topic of opioid medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, being used to treat opioid addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “taking these medications as prescribed allows patients to hold jobs, avoid street crime and violence, and reduce their exposure to HIV by stopping or decreasing injection drug use and drug-related high-risk sexual behavior. Patients stabilized on these medications can also engage more readily in counseling and other behavioral interventions essential to recovery.” However, maintenance drugs do not allow an individual to heal from addiction. However, methadone can be useful in treating withdrawal symptoms during detox from opioids as long as the dose is reduced daily. A 2016 Western Journal of Medicine article, Use of Methadone, explains, “For detoxification, treatment doses are usually started at 10 to 20 mg and increased in 10-mg increments until the withdrawal symptoms are controlled. A dosage of 40 mg a day controls the withdrawal symptoms for most patients but does not eliminate heroin craving. Once the dose required is established to eliminate withdrawal symptoms, the patient is stabilized on this dose for 2 to 3 days. Then the dose is reduced daily or every other day.” When used in higher doses, however, methadone can be extremely dangerous. Methadone can cause difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, hives or rash, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and confusion or hallucinations. According to the Western Journal of Medicine, “The most severe consequential effect from methadone is the potential for apnea, respiratory failure, and hypoxia, leading to coma, seizures, hypotension, and death. This effect may account for the deaths in patients that occurred when methadone was initiated at high doses in methadone maintenance programs.” Methadone is highly addictive and, although effective when used in detox, prolonged use (methadone maintenance) can lead to health complications and decreased quality of live compared to sobriety. While methadone does decrease or stop withdrawal symptoms, it prolongs addictions and keeps a user from experiencing the possibilities of a happy and joyous life in sobriety, free from the constrains of physical dependence and addiction.
Your story can be one of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety. You can build a better life by making the decision to seek help today. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with compassionate detox professionals dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible. For information about detox and other individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777