In most cases, Methadone is associated with heroin addiction and walk-in methadone clinics. Methadone was, in fact, one of the first drugs created to counter heroin addicts’ debilitating withdrawal symptoms, so the connection is accurate. Regardless, methadone has also graduated to become a highly sought-after drug on the streets. Today it is a fundamental part of the opioid drug-using cultures. However, it is still considered a safe and effective medication for helping opioid addicts finally get over their drug addictions.
What is Methadone Exactly?
Methadone is both medication and an addictive drug. It is a synthetic opioid, which means it is created in a lab, much like fentanyl but not nearly as potent. The Department of Justice provides a concise description of methadone.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone affects the brain and nervous system to minimize sensations of pain. It also provides pain relief when used to treat opioid addiction, but opioid addicts will not necessarily notice that the same way a person taking it for pain would. Methadone acts on the opioid receptors in the brain and causes euphoria. In opioid addiction treatment, methadone also reduces withdrawal symptoms. Methadone prevents more opioid use and reduces the euphoric high caused by other opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, prescription pain killers, and morphine. Methadone also acts more slowly than other opioids and lasts longer. Opioid-dependent individuals often report that Methadone prevents them from getting high on heroin which is the point.
Methadone is a synthetic (man-made) narcotic. It is used legally to treat narcotics addiction and relieve severe pain, often in individuals who have cancer or terminal illnesses. Although Methadone has been legally available in the United States since 1947, more recently, it has emerged as a drug of abuse. (DOJ)
Does Methadone Make People Tired?
Methadone is a potent synthetic opioid-based medication that can cause a person to feel tired and sleepy. Most people recovering from opioid addiction will adjust to the effects and not continue to become drowsy. Still, the goal of methadone-based opioid replacement drug programs is to reduce the amount of methadone to zero slowly. Sometimes a patient will remain on Methadone for way too long and develop another addiction and need vast doses of methadone. Methadone addiction is common among opioid addicts. The best course of methadone maintenance is to go no longer than one or two years.
What Do Doctors Say About Methadone?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that methadone is an effective medication for pain and treating addiction to opioids. They also state the timeframe of methadone treatment for addiction.
The length of methadone treatment should be a minimum of 12 months. Some patients may require long-term maintenance. Patients must work with their MAT practitioner to gradually reduce their methadone dosage to prevent withdrawal. Methadone medication is specifically tailored for the individual patient and is never to be shared with or given to others. (NIDA)
What Are Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms?
Methadone withdrawal symptoms usually begin 48 hours after the last dose of methadone. Some people do not experience withdrawal symptoms for up to one week in many cases. Methadone has an extremely long half-life, and this is why it is helpful to people who are experiencing opioid withdrawal. Methadone withdrawal looks like other opioid withdrawal symptoms and includes:
- Watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing
- Fever, cold sweats
- Muscle aches, headaches, bone pains
- Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea
- Irritability and restlessness
- Severe insomnia
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Cravings for opioids
EVOKE Massachusetts Offers Addiction Treatment
Whether you are addicted to heroin or other opioids, we believe in helping you feel better physically right away. At the same time, we help you achieve peace of mind emotionally and mentally in treatment. Most of our patients prefer to be given Suboxone, but some must receive methadone due to an underlying health concern or other medical reasons. For persons addicted to methadone, we also provide tapers to help you finally get off methadone. Methadone is a safe medication, but it is addictive. We want to show you how to let go of your addiction to substances.