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Methadone Addiction: Symptoms, Withdrawal And Recovery Treatments

Methadone is one of the most potent opioids to treat physical pain or drug abuse problems. But, it should be taken under strict observation of doctors; otherwise, it can lead to methadone addiction.

Approximately 2 million people in the U.S. are on methadone right now. A standard level of methadone intake is 1 year, but people suffering from opioid addiction tend to rely on methadone for years after years.

Relying on methadone may relieve people from drug abuse problems, often leading to methadone addiction. Let’s find out more about methadone addiction symptoms, withdrawal, and recovery process here.

Methadone Overview

Methadone is an opioid drug that changes the way your nervous system and brain function. Its impact may be slower than morphine, but it is indeed effective. Your doctor may prescribe you methadone if you suffer from long-term pain or injury.

Methadone is also given to patients suffering from drug abuse problems. It blocks the hallucinating and high feeling of drugs like heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, etc.

However, methadone is not a complete cure for drug abuse problems. It is just a part of the prolonged treatment plan. Many drug detox centers suggest this medication as a part of replacement therapy. If you want to know more about such centers, browse this site.

Methadone Addiction Symptoms

When your doctor prescribes you methadone, he is supposed to strictly monitor your intake habit, your addiction symptoms, and your withdrawal nature. If you try to quit this drug after a few weeks of heavy use, you will feel specific symptoms that you may not have experienced before. These symptoms will denote the side effects of methadone intake, such as;

  • Upset stomach, or vomiting.
  • Restlessness.
  • Nausea.
  • Changes in sleeping pattern.
  • Constipation.
  • Changes in sexual drive.
  • Slow breathing.
  • Itching.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Flushing.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Mood swings.
  • Vision problems.

While these symptoms can be confused with other innocuous diseases, some signs of methadone addiction are more serious. These symptoms are;

  • A hoarse voice.
  • Seizure.
  • Chest pain.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Rash or Hives.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Severe drowsiness.
  • Unusual menstrual period.
  • Confusion or Hallucination.
  • Rapid heartbeat.

Menstrual Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone may be a medicine to relieve drug abuse problems, heavy pain, or long-term illness. However, heavy intaking of this drug can lead to methadone addiction, which is certainly not a positive effect of a medicated drug. That’s why when doctors release patients from this medicine, they undergo withdrawal symptoms. Such symptoms are;

  • Anxiety.
  • Agitation.
  • Yawning.
  • Sweating.
  • Insomnia.
  • Runny nose.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Increased tearing.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal cramping.

Recovery Treatment

Any drug detox recovery program is challenging. It is one thing that these programs are time-consuming, but the whole physical pain and body ache often force people to quit their recovery journey and relapse into old habits. Methadone addiction is also one of these problems, and the recovery treatment is rather prolonged here as well.

There are a few steps to follow in the recovery process of methadone addiction, such as;

Step 1: Performing Exams And Tests

Your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your drug use and will also want to know your medical history. Unfortunately, a few conditions like heart disease, gallbladder, urination problem, gallbladder, kidney disease, liver disease, and electrolyte imbalance prohibit people from taking methadone.

However, your doctor will perform a few tests on you to determine your current health condition. The tests are;

  • Chest X-Ray.
  • Liver Function Tests.
  • Blood Chemistry Tests.
  • Urine Tests.
  • ECG.
  • CBC.
  • Hepatitis C test.
  • TB test.
  • HIV test.

Step 2: Treatment With Medicines

Once the doctor gets your test report, he will prescribe you a few medicines to help you withdraw from the methadone addiction problem.

Clonidine is one medicine that can help patients reduce agitation, muscle aches, runny nose, abdominal cramping, and anxiety issues. These side effects are typical withdrawal symptoms of methadone. Clonidine can also help the patients get over their sleep apnea problems or their diarrhea and constipation problems.

Naltrexone is another medicine that can help prevent methadone relapse. You can take it as a pill or as an injection. If your body still has methadone, this drug can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. However, if you can hold on to the sudden discomfort, Naltrexone can further help you get rid of this addiction.

Step 3: Getting Help From Support Groups

Anyone who is undergoing the methadone withdrawal process should be given help from support groups because some battles aren’t meant to fight alone. Taking the help of Naltrexone or Clonidine medicines can be the first step, while the next step should be taking the help of counseling groups.

When patients undergo the detox process, they often fall victim to anxiety and depression. That’s why checking for these mental disorders can help prevent the chance of relapse. Some helpful support groups will be;

  • Outpatient counseling.
  • Inpatient treatment center.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment center.
  • Self-help groups.

Possible Complications Of Methadone Recovery Process

Any opioid addiction recovery process is arduous, but being a strong opioid itself, the recovery process of methadone addiction can be a little more complicated. The body aches and muscle strains give so much pain that people possess the highest chance of relapse in this drug addiction.

People often undergo trouble-breathing and vomiting problems when they remain in the initial stage of the recovery process. It causes dehydration in the body and causes electrolyte imbalance as well.

Most people who have been detoxed of methadone addiction can die even if they take simple paracetamol. In addition, since methadone reduces people’s drug tolerance, they may overdose on any drug even if they intake it in a small dose.

Final Thoughts

Methadone addiction is a dangerous opioid addiction itself. But, given the symptoms, withdrawal process, and recovery process of this drug, people should understand how lengthy and strenuous can the whole process be.

Unfortunately, when people intake methadone, they tend to ignore its overuse probabilities. That’s why recovering from this addiction is such a tough deal. But, if you have patience and dedication, you can get through this process too.

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