Methadone: A Dangerous Opioid

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What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opioid drug used to manage and treat chronic pain. It can be used to manage pain caused by multiple sclerosis, cancer, or serious injuries. It is also sometimes used to wean people off other opioids that they may be addicted to. When used to wean people off other drugs, it should be closely monitored by a doctor. It can stay in the body for 1-3 days and blocks the euphoric effects of other opiates. Methadone can also lesson the symptoms of withdrawal from other drugs, such as heroin and painkillers.  Although used as a treatment for opioid addiction, methadone itself is highly addictive. It must be taken exactly as prescribed and closely monitored to be effective. Typically, addicts will then need to wean off methadone, under supervision to avoid relapse and overdose. Some side effects and symptoms of withdrawal from methadone are listed below.

Methadone Side Effects

Methadone has similar effects on the mind as body as other opioids. Side effects can include:

  • Impaired cognition
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Coordination Issues
  • Forgetfulness

According to Health Line, serious side effects can include:

  • Respiratory Failure
  • Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure that causes dizziness or fainting)
  • Physical Dependence and withdrawal when trying to get off methadone
  • Misuse and Addiction
  • Seizures

Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal

The duration of methadone detox can vary for each person. However, withdrawal can typically start as soon as 24 hours after the last dose and last anywhere from 2-3 weeks to 6 months. The onset of symptoms may feel like the flu but will be severe for several days. Typically, withdrawal is the worst through the first week or two, however it can remain severe for some people. The severity and intensity can lead people to try weaning off methadone by taking smaller doses. Getting off methadone can be a painful and life- threatening experience and should be discussed with a doctor.

Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal Include:
·      Watery eyes ·      Heavy sweating
·      Tremors ·      Body aches
·      Goosebumps ·      Irritability
·      Sneezing and runny nose ·      Twitching
·      Fever ·      Anxiety
·      Chills ·      Weight Loss
·      Cramps ·      Nausea
·      Tiredness & Trouble Sleeping ·      Diarrhea
·      Depression ·      Vomiting
·      Restlessness ·      Cravings for Methadone

The best way to get off methadone is under a doctor’s care and supervision so they can monitor and manage any severe withdrawal you may experience. This life threatening process can be very difficult, and treatment can help manage withdrawal and help you get on the road to recovery. Archstone Behavioral Health, located in Lantana, Florida, is an addiction treatment center for those struggling with drug and alcohol dependence and co-occurring disorders. We offer MAT, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and aftercare programs on our full continuum of care. Archstone provides trauma informed care for those that have experienced traumatic events that led to their substance abuse. Treating and improving our patients mental and physical health will put them on the path to recovery. If you or your loved one are struggling with addiction and need help, call Archstone Behavioral Health at 561.631.9478.