Methadone is a prescription drug that has a number of uses. Its main use is to help people stop using opioids such as heroin. But it can also be used for pain management. However, this prescription drug can also lead to addiction.
What is methadone
For moderate to severe pain, doctors often prescribe the synthetic opioid methadone. It is also frequently employed in treating opiate addiction, particularly heroin addiction.
Methadone stabilises patients and lessens withdrawal symptoms in the case of an addiction by acting on the same opioid receptors as morphine and heroin.
Methadone is a substance that the federal government has classified as Schedule II. This means it has a lawful use but also has a high risk of its users becoming dependent. This also implies that it is against the law to take it recreationally and that misuse can result in physical dependence and serious mental impairment. The medications hydrocodone and morphine are also listed under Schedule II.
Risks of using methadone
People who do not normally take methadone or other opiates are at high risk of overdose when taking methadone. For children, even a small dose can be fatal.
When a person uses other products besides methadone, such as heroin, medication, alcohol or cocaine, the risk of overdose increases.
Methadone also has a number of side effects that sometimes disappear only slowly (after several months of use). Insomnia can sometimes be more severe than with heroin. People taking this prescription drugs often sweat and suffer from constipation. Sore muscles and joints, skin rashes and itching can also occur, as can fluid accumulation in the hands and feet. Often, people also feel less inclined to have sex.
Do not hesitate to contact a doctor if you want to become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding and are taking methadone.
Although methadone is used to treat addiction and lessen cravings, it is a highly regulated substance. Because of the strict regulations, those who receive a prescription for methadone in an outpatient setting must visit a clinic every day to receive their dose. It is a strong opiate that has the potential to be addictive. Those who begin using it to treat their heroin addiction are more likely to abuse it. This is due to their prior opioid dependency. In fact, some addicts favor methadone as their drug of choice. Someone is misusing the drug if they use more of it than is recommended or if they do so without a prescription.
Because it is made to accomplish the opposite—block the pleasurable benefits of other opiates—methadone does not have the same euphoric effects as heroin or morphine. If a person on methadone treatment tries to use heroin to get high, the methadone will stop the pleasurable effects of the heroin (and of all other Opioids). Methadone does, however, produce some euphoric effects. Although they are few, they are also significant enough for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to declare these prescription drug users “unfit to drive” as a result of their side effects.
Sedation, euphoria, diminished reaction time and attention span, drowsiness, droopy eyelids, dry mouth, muscle weakness, decreased body temperature and blood pressure, and little to no reaction to light are just a few of the side effects of methadone. An true “high” from methadone can be produced at large doses. Additionally, the euphoric effects can be boosted by using an administration method like intravenous use.
Phasing out methadone
With both short-term and long-term use, it is essential to follow a phase-out schedule and not to stop using overnight. If you do, the transition is too big for your brain, resulting in an imbalance of brain chemicals. This results in severe withdrawal symptoms and a high chance of relapse.
In all cases, it is necessary to wean off methadone under the intensive supervision of medical experts.
Methadone withdrawal can be very uncomfortable. Although not everyone experiences the same symptoms, one or more withdrawal symptoms are often reported. The strongest methadone withdrawal symptoms begin to appear in the first 24-72 hours after the individual has stopped using or during the phase-out. The withdrawal symptoms generally last for a period of about a week, depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction.
Psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Feeling sick
- Clammy, cold skin
- Muscle and bone pain
- Goose bumps/shivers
- Runny nose
- Gastrointestinal distress
Award-winning treatments at Hacienda Paradiso, Malaga
Professional help is almost always needed to successfully tackle methadone addiction. Going off methadone is tough in almost all cases. Rehab is physically very unpleasant and can sometimes even be dangerous. An admission and treatment in a rehab clinic, where you can kick the habit under specialist medical supervision, is therefore by far the best option.
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