Methadone is a highly controversial drug, that has for many years enabled addiction and not addressed it. It has also created a generation of vulnerable methadone addicts, who are now more at risk of opiate overdose than ever before.
Addiction is a disease of the brain, that not only requires a medical drug detox but proven psychological addiction treatments in order to recover from.
In treating methadone addiction, it is vital that the mind, body and spirit are treated simultaneously for maximum chance of success.
If you suffer from Methadone addiction, there is hope; addiction can be successfully arrested and recovery can be maintained. PCP rehabs use a number of highly effective, evidence-based treatments, conducive to long term recovery from methadone addiction.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic Class A opioid analgesic, used for the treatment of severe pain and prescribed as a substitute treatment for heroin addiction. Methadone is illegal to possess without a valid prescription and is extremely addictive.
As a strong depressant drug, methadone can severely limit your ability to function at what would be considered “normal” levels. This means that it is not safe to drive or operate heavy machinery whilst using it.
How Methadone Works
Methadone works by attaching to the body and brains opioid receptors and changing the way we feel pain. As a substitute for Heroin, it prevents the onset of heroin withdrawal symptoms.
As well as drastically reducing pain, methadone also floods the brain with excess dopamine; this produces the euphoric high and the reward in drug addiction.
Methadones pharmaceutical effects can last for up to 24 hours at optimum effect. This means that once titration is reached and the individual no longer craves additional opiates, they only need to take it once a day.
Can Methadone Be Abused?
Just like any other opiate drug, methadone can be abused. Usually, it is abused by taking additional opiates or sedatives on top to increase its effects. This makes it very harmful. Abusing Methadone can lead to overdose and death.
If you withdraw from methadone too quickly or suddenly, you can expect to suffer from the following methadone withdrawal symptoms:
- Increased tearing and runny nose
- Joint and muscle pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Risk of psychosis and suicidal ideation
The higher the dosage of methadone that you are addicted to and the longer you have been methadone dependent, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal effects can be reduced by tapering off methadone or undergoing an inpatient methadone detox.
How Long Does Methadone Withdrawal Last?
How long your individual methadone withdrawal will last for will depend on:
- The dosage you are dependent on
- Length of time you have been addicted
- Any substance dependencies
- The rate at which you reduce
Out of all the opiates, methadone has the longest withdrawal. Going “cold turkey”, (abruptly stopping) will cause withdrawal symptoms that last for approximately 30 days.
There is also a risk of developing PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). PAWS can last for up to 1 year after stopping.
Methadone withdrawal can be reduced in time and severity by undergoing a full medical detox at one of our CQC registered methadone detox clinics.
If you have an addiction to heroin and want to stop, you may be weighing up the pros and cons of a methadone prescription.
Methadone is available on prescription as a heroin substitute and is part of the government’s harm reduction strategy, which aims to reduce:
- Opiate mortality rates
- NHS health expenditure
- Prison overcrowding
- HIV statistics
- Government benefit expenditure
- Cost of addiction treatment
If you want to quit heroin or any other opiate-based drug, the safest, quickest and most successful way is to admit to a residential rehab centre.
PCP has a number of CQC registered, affordable rehab clinics in the UK, that provide medical detoxification from opiates and comprehensive individualised addiction treatment programmes.
Methadone Side Effects
One of the government’s goals in putting heroin addicts on prescriptions was that this would enable them to re-engage in the workplace. However, methadone side effects include:
- Impaired cognitive ability
- Lack of motivation
Hardly helpful to someone who wants to live any kind of “normal” life.
The UKs Methadone Harm Reduction Strategy
In 2010 the UK government brought into effect an abstinence-focused drug strategy. This meant that those who have been stabilised on methadone were forced to engage in an abstinence-focused reduction regime. This lead to only what can be described as an “opioid crisis” in the UK.
The UK’s most vulnerable opiate addicts had their methadone prescriptions stopped or reduced, leading many back to illicit opiate use and injecting.
As a result, opiate overdoses rose dramatically. With 2,038 opiate-related deaths (including heroin and methadone) being recorded in England and Wales in 2016, the highest number recorded since record first began in 1993.
In addition to the devastating rise in morphine and Heroin-related deaths, there has also been a tragic recent outbreak of HIV in Glasgow.
If you think that methadone is the answer to a Heroin addiction, these statistics urge you to think again.
Benefits of Methadone
If you take methadone and do not abuse it, it can be very beneficial – if you take it exactly as prescribed. The benefits of methadone treatment include:
- It is prescribed, so no need to commit a crime
- It is a powerful painkiller
- It cuts the risk of blood-borne virus contamination
- Its effects are long lasting
- It prevents opiate withdrawal symptoms
- It can be reduced through a prescribed reduction regime
- Prescribed methadone is clean, cutting the risk of contaminated drugs.
The Negatives of Methadone
Methadone does carry negatives as does any powerful opiate. For a start, whilst you are taking methadone, even if you are taking it as prescribed, you are still opiate dependent.
Other negatives of methadone include:
- Tooth decay
- Feeling tired, lethargic, unmotivated
- You can still crave heroin
- Withdrawal is very uncomfortable
- Methadone can be abused
- It is addictive
- Methadone does not treat the psychological aspect of addiction.
- You will still see old using associates and dealers
- You may still be unable to work due to its effects
Methadone Free, Treatment Options
If you are addicted to methadone, or abusing methadone and want help, PCP rehabs can help you to become drug and methadone free and stay that way.
We understand all too well the damaging and life-threatening effects of methadone addiction and how it needs to be treated in order to prevent relapse. We offer a number of treatment options including:
- Full methadone detox
- Inpatient and day care programmes
- Short term and long term programmes
- Rehab in a variety of locations including London
- Comprehensive rehabilitation and relapse prevention
- Free rehab aftercare
- Sober living accommodation and relocation
Methadone Rehab UK
PCP rehabs are true advocates of recovery from addiction. We believe that it is never too late to start your life again. We can help you to build the life that you have always dreamed of – drug-free!
Contact us today for a free assessment so we can advise you on which of our UK methadone rehab programmes would best suit your individual treatment needs.