Methadone Drug Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, Detox and Rehab Treatment

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a prescription drug with similar properties to heroin. However, it stays in the body for much longer. It’s a synthetic narcotic that has similar effects on the brain as other narcotics and may be prescribed for medical use, especially as a replacement drug for heroin since you’re not likely to develop serious withdrawal symptoms when you’re taken off it.
There are several street names for methadone, including:

  • Amidone
  • Dollies
  • Fizzies
  • Juice
  • Jungle Juice
  • Junk
  • Maria
  • Meth
  • Methadose
  • Metho
  • Salvia
  • Wafer

Methadone and Opiate Abuse: Key Facts

  • The pharmacological effects of opioids can lead to death and respiratory depression if they are used in high doses.• The ‘opioid overdose triad’ refers to a combination of symptoms which indicate an opioid overdose. They are: respiratory depression, unconsciousness and pinpoint pupils.
  • In 2016/17, 14,053 people were admitted into hospital who were primarily diagnosed with poisoning by illegal drugs. While this was 40% higher than 2006/07, it was lower than 2015/16.
  •  In 2016/17, 7,545 people were admitted into hospital who were diagnosed primarily with drug-related behavioural and mental health disorders. While this was 12% higher than 2006/07, it’s 12% lower than 2015/16.
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 15 million people are dependent on opioids. While most are addicted to illegal heroin, more people are beginning to abuse prescription opioids.
  • Around the world, approximately 69,000 yearly deaths are the result of opioid overdose.

Effects of Methadone Addiction

When methadone is administered clinically under the supervision of a trained professional, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, methadone remains an opioid drug like opium or heroin.

Even though it’s milder than these drugs, it can still lead to addiction and devastating consequences.

Even when used on a short-term basis, methadone can result in mild side effects like sexual impotence, gastrointestinal distress, urinary retention, light-headedness, dry mouth and drowsiness.

More serious effects may take the form of death due to overdose, anaphylactic reactions, seizures, fainting, unstable gait, tremors, depressed respiratory function and irregular heartbeat.

Methadone can also cause psychological symptoms, in addition to the aforementioned physical symptoms. These psychological symptoms may include impaired concentration, suicidal ideation, delusions, paranoia, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and hallucinations. If you notice any of the physical or psychological symptoms, we recommend seeing a professional as soon as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

While the half-life of heroin is short at 30 minutes, that of methadone is 22 hours, making it longer acting than the more potent heroin. This is why methadone has been successfully used to manage the severe symptoms of withdrawal seen with opioids.

While methadone may be used often in clinical settings, the drug may be abused outside of a clinical setting and there are a number of tell-tale signs and symptoms that can help you pinpoint abuse:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Increased pain
  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting

The above mentioned symptoms are examples of the physical signs. They may also be noticed when some other opioid is being abused. For a clearer picture, find some of the behavioural signs to look out for below:

  •  Neglecting personal relationships and work to continue using methadone.
  • Using other opioids along with methadone or going the extra mile to get the drug.
  • Stockpiling doses by skipping scheduled doses.
  • Using the drug in higher doses or more often than prescribed.
  • Doctor shopping, that is, trying to get multiple prescriptions.
  • Methadone abuse can lead to long-term effects such as respiratory problems and sexual dysfunction, among others.

Treating Methadone Addiction

At Primrose Lodge, our medical detox programme ensures that you have around-the-clock medical and therapeutic care to ensure you can detox as safely and comfortably as possible.

Once detox is over, it’s best to transition into an intensive Methadone rehabilitation programme like our 28-day treatment plan. While detox may take care of the physical aspects of addiction, therapy is aimed at tackling every other aspect of addiction, including the mental, emotional and spiritual. With our family programme, even your family can be involved in the healing process, especially if they’re yet to get the professional care and support they need nearly as much as you do.

Private rehab comes highly recommended as the best option for treatment because it ensures that your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs are taken care of. You’ll also benefit from medical detox, holistic programmes and sleep and nutrition management, all of which are necessary for staying clean and avoiding relapse in the long run.

Withdrawal and Detoxification Process

Withdrawal occurs as the body’s reaction to the sudden removal of methadone when your system has gotten used to the drug. Methadone withdrawal can be dangerous and so must be done under proper medical supervision.

In a private rehab facility like Primrose Lodge, you can detox on-site and smoothly transition into rehab. In our full-service facility, the withdrawal and detox process will be managed by a clinical medical team as it needs to be. You’ll be monitored around-the-clock to ensure safe and comfortable detox. Please find more information on our detox and withdrawal page.

Get Help Today

Methadone abuse and addiction are both dangerous and can result in death. Once you realise that you or a loved one have a problem with this drug, we recommend going to see a professional for treatment as soon as possible.

The longer you abuse methadone, the more of a problem the drug becomes for you. Your best bet for long-term recovery is getting treatment in a private facility such as Primrose Lodge where you can be assured of getting world-class addiction treatment and care. Our phone lines are always open, so you can reach us on 0203 5539 263 to learn more about our treatment options.

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