methadone abuse facts
Methadone withdrawal can be long-lasting and difficult to endure. Even though the medication is meant to be part of the answer to opioid addiction, it has a high-risk potential for abuse, and many people get addicted to it. Some people abuse this medication to get high or relieve pain, while others simply take it as prescribed for so long that their bodies become physically dependent on it. Whatever the case may be, the best way to quit and get sober is to go to a methadone detox program.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is an opioid drug that was originally developed during World War II to treat people with extreme pain. Today it is sometimes used to treat people who are addicted to opioids in an addiction treatment program. The drug works by changing the way the brain and body respond to pain. It also prevents people from being able to get high on other opioids, like heroin, morphine, oxycodone, or codeine. This is why it is used to help treat cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
While methadone is sometimes used in addiction treatment, it is a potent and highly addictive drug. When taken frequently or at high doses, tolerance and physical dependence can develop rapidly. This means users will have to take increasingly high doses of the drug. They will also need to use the drug in order to feel normal.
Once a person’s body becomes dependent on methadone, they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to quit taking it abruptly. Since methadone withdrawal is fairly severe, it’s always best to detox in a medical setting.
methadone withdrawal timeline
Methadone is a fairly long-acting opioid, so it may take anywhere between 24 hours or several days for a person’s symptoms to begin. People can expect their symptoms to be at their worst for the first week, however, some individuals may not see their symptoms peak until after 7 days.
While the methadone withdrawal timeline varies from person to person, here is what most people can expect while detoxing.
- Days 1-3: Symptoms can take 30 hours or more to set in, so some people may feel fine up until day 2. After that, minor symptoms like chills, fever, and muscle aches will develop.
- Days 4-9: Symptoms should peak between days 4-9 with symptoms such as strong cravings, anxiety, aches and pains, insomnia, and irritability.
- Days 10-14: After peak withdrawal symptoms pass, a person’s symptoms should begin to subside. They will still experience stomach problems, discomfort, cravings, and depression.
- 2+ Weeks: Some symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, and drug cravings will persist for 2-3 weeks. After 3-6 weeks, some people will experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). PAWS is a condition where minor withdrawal symptoms return and linger for several months to two years.
Since methadone withdrawal can last for such a long time, it can be extremely helpful to detox in a medical setting or at a local rehab center.