Methadone is one option people use in treatment for drug detoxification to mitigate symptoms of withdrawal and block effects of opiate drugs. Withdrawal symptoms can be eliminated and drug cravings relieved using methadone. Learn more about how methadone works, how it helps address drug addiction and the general properties of the medication.
Following a period of heavy and prolonged use of opiates, the central nervous system (CNS) becomes used to the chemical presence and self adjusts. The brain and CNS are working to achieve balance during withdrawal as the body takes time to recover from the effects of drugs in the system. Withdrawal from opiates can occur whenever any person who uses drugs chronically stops or reduces use. The following symptoms may occur as a result:
- Agitation or anxiety
- Gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting)
- Muscle aches
How Methadone Helps
When an opiate agonist is used, such as Methadone, it works to prevent withdrawal symptoms and lessen cravings for individuals who stopped using opiates. Methadone works in the following way:
- Blocks euphoric effects of opiates
- Blocks sedative effects of opiates
- Does not cause euphoric feelings
- Relieves drug craving
- Suppresses opiate withdrawal
Individuals addicted to opiates who use methadone generally receive an oral dose, tablets or injectable solutions. Methadone is regulated for use only for maintenance or detoxification of opiate addiction within a Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) registered with the DEA.
Addiction to opiates can be difficult to kick by oneself. Treatment programs are able to support an individual through detox in a regimented treatment program facility under supervision of staff. Enrollment in the program can include the use of methadone to lessen the effects of withdrawal and support an individual through the journey to recovery.
Methadone is not the right treatment protocol for every person. When taken as prescribed, methadone is safe and effective but not without risks. The physical effects of methadone must be managed in order to receive maximum benefit. Methadone can be habit-forming and is not always the best choice for someone who wants to completely quit drugs altogether. Some individuals have allergic reactions to methadone. If a woman is pregnant or plans to become pregnant, taking methadone on a regular basis is not recommended. Drinking alcohol, taking prescription or non prescription medication, using street drugs or benzodiazepines can lead to increased risk of serious, life-threatening side effects. A doctor should be able to advise on best treatment practices going forward for an individual interested in treatment.
Methadone treatment is one avenue for people who want to quit opiates. The Villa provides resources for people interested in learning about the use of methadone or other treatment protocols to quit opiates or other drugs. Call us to find out how we can support your recovery.