Methadone is often prescribed by doctors as a long-term pain reliever for acute pain and as part of Methadone Maintenance Treatment or MMT. MMT is provided to people who are already suffering from addiction to one or other type of opiates. It is intended to help prevent withdrawal symptoms and the dosage of methadone is strictly controlled. Because it is a long-lasting opiate itself, it is capable of remaining in your body for up to 2-3 days. This increases the risk of fatal overdose if it is taken beyond prescription levels.
Effects of Methadone on Your Body
Thus, methadone is easy to abuse. In this guide you will learn about the side effects of this drug on your body and how Methadone Abuse and addiction are treated.
Generally, those using methadone have been found to have poor health. Studies have found that over 40% of those on methadone suffered from major depression. The cravings caused by the substance have been found to result in poor diets, leading to a unique inclination towards sweet foods. Many people using the drug have also been found to skip meals for several days too.
Why Methadone is Highly Addictive & Harmful?
Here are the main reasons why MMT and general methadone use can be so addictive and harmful:
- It is considered as addictive as heroin and even more dangerous.
- While heroin stays in your system for 4 to 6 hours, methadone can stay for up to 2.5 days.
- What makes it more harmful is unlike heroin, methadone will not know that it is there in your system. This is why many users take another dose without knowing that the previous dose is still there in their system. This can cause accumulation of methadone to toxic levels.
- People who use methadone with other drugs or alcohol also put their lives at risk. When used with other opiates like morphine, heroin, or oxycontin, it can cause slow down of the metabolism and may even cause death.
- The withdrawal from this drug is usually more severe compared to withdrawal from heroin.
- It is almost impossible to successfully withdraw from methadone. In fact, you should never attempt it without medical supervision.
Treating Methadone Addiction
Treatment for Methadone Abuse involves gradually reducing the drug’s dosage. It focuses on allowing your body to adapt to reduced amounts of the substance within your system until it becomes free of it. Withdrawal is managed under medical supervision for safe management of drug cravings and symptoms.
The addiction treatment can start when your body has been cleared of the substance. It can involve:
- Individual and group therapy sessions
- Educating about Methadone Abuse
- Helping develop skills for preventing relapse
- Creating an aftercare plan
You may join an outpatient or inpatient addiction treatment program. The former provides you high level of flexibility where you get treated and can also attend to your normal responsibilities. Inpatient treatment programs can provide you 24-hour care, support and supervision.