Methadone Abuse

Methadone Abuse and Addiction: Why Rehab May be Necessary

Methadone, differing from the street drug meth, is a medication which may be prescribed to people who are in extreme pain or those who may be withdrawing from opiates such as heroin. Although it is a legal prescribed drug, methadone is classified as an opiate and can be abused.

Methadone is a synthetic narcotic created in World War II. The drug has helped millions of people and does have positive effects or results when it is used as prescribed. That said, it has also been in the middle of a large controversy because it comes with some intense side effects; primarily being that of an addiction. In addition to the risk of dependency, with any long term methadone user there will be a withdrawal.

Throughout the world, many heroin users will attempt to get off of the drug using methadone. This is because it will help to decrease the extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Likewise, there are people who convert to methadone from heroin because it is an easier and cheaper alternative to get high. Both scenarios can be troublesome if not controlled and monitored, especially in the first circumstance in which the individual has made an effort to get sober. With methadone, it is important to be able to differentiate between safe, proper use and abuse.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a long acting opioid medication; each dose can last between 24 and 36 hours. A doctor may prescribe it for pain reduction or heroin, Oxycontin or morphine withdrawal. Certain Asean rehab centers will implement the legal drug for brief periods of time, especially during the initial detox. Methadone’s’ effects are not nearly as strong as their opiate cousins, but they do still affect the pleasure centers in the brain creating an overall sense of peace and euphoria. The drug may be given in oral forms including tablets, liquid and a dissolvable powder. When this is not an available option, it can be intravenously injected.

On the street, methadone is often referred to as dollies, dolls, mud, red rock, tootsie rolls, fizzies, balloons, buzz bombs or jungle juice. Keep in mind that the slang terms for methadone vary from place to place and can change accordingly to trends.

From Methadone Use to Abuse

In general, a large majority of people are able to discontinue using methadone after they have met their “goal” of the prescription. However, with frequent use of methadone a tolerance can build leading to the desire for more of the drug. Without seeking out professional methadone help and advice to taper off the drug, abuse and dependency could result. When this happens, methadone has essentially become a vice and quitting may seem nearly impossible.

It’s important to keep in mind that many people who abuse or have an addiction to methadone developed it on the streets or in the real world rather than a treatment facility or hospital. In any case, the point at which use has turned into abuse or addiction is when:

  • The person starts to question whether or not they have a problem
  • They are preoccupied with thoughts of using
  • They cannot go through a stretch of time without using
  • Activities they once enjoyed are no longer fun and pleasurable
  • Work, home or family obligations are being neglected
  • Symptoms of withdrawal appear whenever they don’t use
  • Heroin or other drugs are used whenever methadone is not available

Signs and Symptoms of Methadone Abuse and Addiction

As with any other drug, there will be noticeable physical and psychological signs and symptoms of methadone dependency; these can include:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Inexplicable hostility or aggression
  • Using the drug more than as prescribed
  • Going through multiple prescriptions and/or doctor shopping
  • Using methadone with other drugs
  • Frequent lethargy and tiredness
  • Poor appearance or hygiene
  • Dull skin, brittle nails and sunken eyes

Withdrawing From Methadone

Once an addiction has developed, there will be a withdrawal when discontinuing the drug. Symptoms or effects will vary from person to person, may depend on the length of abuse, the dosage, and if there are any underlying disorders or co-occurring addictions. Some addicts at Serenity rehab center have said the withdrawal from methadone is worse than heroin, while others say the opposite. These symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Memory deficits
  • Mood Swings
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Body aches
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia

Overdosing on Methadone

Methadone lingers in the body for a long period of time; therefore, when the effects start to wear off and a user takes more of the drug before it is completely out of the body, there is a high risk of overdosing.

In addition to this, methadone blocks all euphoric effects of opioids like heroin, but it does not block the effects it has on the central nervous system. This means that should a person use methadone with heroin or another opiate, they will not feel “high”; however, their body is still getting the effects. If someone does not know this, more of the drug may be taken in hoping for the effects to kick in. This can be an extremely dangerous, even life threatening situation.

If you or someone you know believes they are overdosing on methadone or any other drug, please note that coffee or cold showers is not enough. They will not reverse an overdose. Please seek help at the nearest medical facility and/or call your local emergency personnel.

Getting Treatment for a Methadone Addiction

Prolonged use or abuse of methadone can lead to relationship problems, job loss, financial strain or physical and psychological problems. The support and guidance of a methadone rehab center in Thailand or elsewhere may be necessary for a full, long term recovery.

Treating an addiction to methadone is similar to that of other opiate addictions and depending on the methadone rehab center, some programs may include Suboxone or Subutex, two medications which help to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms, but without causing a replacement addiction.

Other methadone rehabs may use a variety of traditional and alternative therapies to ease the withdrawal. Sometimes, a methadone detox will be appropriate before beginning the actual treatment. That said, it’s important to discuss the available options with a rehab facility that treats methadone abuse and addictions.

At Serenity Chiang Rai, we are dedicated to helping you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction. Our methadone addiction treatment program includes an eclectic array of therapies, group sessions and meetings to ensure the body and mind is able to heal and recover at the same time. Through this, you stand a greater chance at a full, long term recovery from methadone.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to methadone and would like to seek the support of a rehab, please contact our rehab center in Chiang Rai, Thailand today.