Methadone Detox & Withdrawal

Methadone is a prescription drug that is used for pain relief but when taken over a long period, there is a risk of addiction. This drug is commonly used to assist people in overcoming opioid addiction such as heroin but also other types of prescription pain medications. This article looks at methadone detox including withdrawal management and finding help when you need it.

What is a Methadone Detox?

Methadone detox is a process where an individual’s use of the drug is slowly tapered (usually over a few weeks) until it is no longer needed. It is usually completed in a clinic or residential rehab where round the lock monitoring is provided by doctors and medical staff.

Trying to detox from Methadone cold turkey is not advised because of the health risks and the high possibility of relapse. Detoxing from the prescription drug in a hospital or rehab facility will also help one manage the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with reducing or quitting the use of Methadone.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

When Methadone is taken in large doses, addiction can develop quickly and because withdrawal symptoms occur soon after you reduce or stop using, it is challenging to overcome without professional assistance.
Tolerance also forms when using Methadone on a frequent basis, which means more of the substance needs to be used to produce the desired effect. Once the body is reliant on Methadone to function, withdrawal symptoms can occur within 24 hours and are similar to that associated with opioids such as heroin (NCBI). Methadone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Paranoia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Fast heartbeat

Symptoms usually last up to 6 weeks but in severe cases of addiction, it can continue for much longer.

How to Detox from Methadone Safely?

Safely detoxing from Methadone can mean the difference between experiencing severe discomfort and the risk of relapse compared to the comfort and support provided in a clinical or rehab facility. A medical professional should always be sought when detoxing from opioids.

If You are Abusing Methadone Medication

If you have found yourself taking more of the drug than the recommended dose, taking the drug more frequently, or experiencing withdrawal when you reduce or stop using it, you could be abusing Methadone and have formed addiction. Overcoming the risks including addiction to Methadone can be hard but knowing where to find the appropriate help and support can make the process easier.

Detoxing from Methadone can be hard because of the severity of the symptoms. If you have any questions concerning the process of Methadone detox and where you can find help, please contact us and our friendly team will be available to assist you.

Speak to Your GP

Methadone is an opioid that is frequently prescribed as a pain medication, so if your GP has prescribed this medication to you, talk to them about alternative pain medications with fewer side effects. By speaking to your healthcare provider, you can learn about different pain management strategies and medications that will assist with managing your condition. It is particularly important to communicate any side effects during initial treatment and to remain in communication with your GP if you are suffering from anxiety or depression because of the high risk of overdosing (HHS.gov).

If You are Using Methadone or Other Opioid Substitutes

If you are using Methadone or opioid substitutes other than the way it was prescribed, it is important to reach out to a rehab facility or your GP to help you with an assessment of your substance use problem. The role of a keyworker is an important part of providing support, advice, and assistance when you need it most.

In the UK, a keyworker is assigned to you once you have completed a substance use assessment. They can advise on the best ways of dealing with substance use problems and create a care plan to serve as the foundation for treatment. Care plans can help you understand where your recovery needs to start by looking at your use of opioids and the factors that are influencing your life and substance use (Gov.UK).

Their purpose is to meet with you every week to discuss challenges with mental health, with family, and with general physical well-being.

Detoxing From Methadone at a Rehab Facility

Should you find yourself increasingly reliant on Methadone and unable to quit on your own, seeking the services for detox at a rehab facility could be the solution. Where addiction or dependency has developed, an individualized programme for recovery from prescription medication can go a long way to helping you recover and to restore both mental and physical well-being.

A rehab or detox facility offers professional medical staff and doctors who can determine the severity of the problem and create a management plan based on your needs. This includes a safe detox from Methadone and other substances that patients may be taking in combination with the prescription drug.

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How Much Does a Methadone Detox Cost?

If you receive a referral from your GP to an NHS funded facility, you could be provided a free Methadox detox in a clinical facility. This option can take some time as individuals are assigned to a waiting list.

When entering a private treatment facility, the rehab offers detox as an inpatient stay. Costs will include round the clock monitoring and medical support. To determine the cost of detox, it is best to speak to a professional service provider for assistance and an estimate.

Quitting Methadone Cold Turkey

The decision to quit using Methadone cold turkey can be risky and there is a high likelihood that you will relapse. Because withdrawal symptoms from Methadone can prove quite severe and uncomfortable, especially within the first week, it is not advised to do it without the assistance of a medical professional, the supervision of your GP in your home, or as part of an inpatient programme.

Treating the Underlying Causes of Methadone Dependency

Where a dependency on Methadone has formed and one is reliant on the opiate to manage physical pain, alternatives to prescription drugs can be sought such as physical therapy and acupuncture. Physical therapy assists with muscular, joint, and nerve pain through exercise and manual therapies. The goal is to alleviate pain and discomfort and encourage mobility without the use of prescription medication and its associated side effects. Acupuncture and massage are considered natural therapy that focuses on whole body and mind relaxation while relieving tension, stress, and limiting symptoms. You can speak to your GP about ways of addressing the underlying cause of physical pain rather than masking the symptoms with medication.

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Pain Management

The most effective way to overcome harmful substance use and the risk of dependence is with alternative therapies such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, and orthopaedic aid. The purpose of these services is to help overcome pain by determining the source for symptoms and helping improve your well-being through diet, exercise, and improving physical well-being.

Residential Rehab

Because Methadone withdrawal is challenging, it is better to get help to overcome substance use by entering into a residential rehab. Residential rehab or inpatient care provides an initial assessment to determine the severity of Methadone use and if any other substances are being used. Detox and withdrawal are facilitated in a safe environment under the care of medical staff. The discomfort caused by withdrawal symptoms are also more effectively managed with alternative medication. This increases your chances of successfully overcoming withdrawal and reduces the potential for relapse.

Inpatient rehab includes psychological treatment and emotional support. This is particularly important for those who may not have the support that they need from friends or family because prescription drug abuse and addiction are misunderstood. Rehabilitation programmes offer both individual and group treatment encouraging individuals to connect with others who are experiencing the same challenges. Methadone use and an inability to quit using should always be monitored by a professional and certified doctor. If you are struggling with withdrawal or tolerance from Methadone use, speak to your GP for assistance.

 

Outpatient Services & Support Groups

support group

Because Methadone is a prescription drug, it is more accessible than illicit substances. The problem with Methadone prescriptions is the difference in the dispense of the medication between private doctors and the NHS.

Research has shown that doctors prescribe higher doses of Methadone for opiate patients compared to the weekly dispense by the NHS.

It makes outpatient treatment more challenging because individuals still have access to vast amounts of the medication (Pubmed NCBI).

An outpatient service is certainly more flexible and affordable than inpatient programs. Individuals will schedule meetings with their assigned counsellor which can be provided through the NHS.

Support groups are a necessary part of recovery because of the difficulties associated with quitting Methadone and relapsing. Both inpatient and outpatient assistance are available for patients trying to overcome Methadone addiction in the UK.

Alternative medications are also prescribed by a GP to help those who are dependent on Methadone overcome the risks associated with the prescription medication (Nice.org).

Speak to a dedicated and professional recovery facility or your GP to help you understand how to stop using Methadone or to seek alternative treatments to manage physical pain.