What is Methadone?
Methadone is a kind of drug that is sometimes administered on or prescribed for the treatment of those suffering from addiction to heroin, hydrocodone or other opiate addiction. Even though this medication is intended to serve as remedy or cure for addiction to heroin and some other drugs, it is also addictive in itself. In fact, it shares similar pharmacological properties or characteristics with heroin and morphine. Methadone gives offs the same euphoric effect, which addicts usually experience from the use of addictive drugs. Putting someone on methadone is like treating an alcoholic who drinks vodka and putting them on rum instead – it seems to create a methadone addiction as powerful as the addiction it was intended to treat.
The History of Methadon Addiction
This synthetic substance was first developed by German scientists during the Second World War. It was meant to be used on injured German troops since morphine supply had been cut off by the Allied Forces. Eli Lilly and Company introduced methadone into the United States in 1947 as an analgesic. This opiate is often prescribed to patients with severe injuries or those on whom a major surgical procedure has been carried out. It functions in the brain by reducing sensational and emotional response to pain.
Aside its use as a pain reliever, methadone has found usefulness in the treatment of those addicted to heroin and other drugs. It is used to help in dealing with the withdrawal symptoms that may arise when treating someone of heroin addiction. While methadone may help to abate the severity of these symptoms, it is practically the same as substituting legal addiction for illegal addiction because of the addictive nature of this medication. It may interest you to know that methadone has a longer half-life, meaning that addiction to it may prove to be harder to treat than to most opiates.
Methadone Addiction Symptoms
Tolerance to methadone can develop very fast thereby leading to quick addiction. Won’t you consider it rather contradictory that while this drug is used to lessen severity of addiction withdrawal symptoms, it also exhibits similar symptoms? But, that is the truth. Some methadone withdrawal symptoms that are known include: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, depression, tremors, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and suicidal tendency. These symptoms may be less severe than those of morphine addiction, but they last longer; up to six months. However, some other people have reported methadone withdrawal to be harder than that of heroin.
So how does someone get off methadone addiction?
Methadone Addiction Treatment
The first step to being free from methadone addiction is detoxification. A detox program makes it possible to clean out all the remnants of this drug from the body. With detoxification, the effect of methadone withdrawal symptoms is lessened so that the treatment programs to follow may be more effective. Ideally, detoxification is carried out in a hospital or rehabilitation center. There is option for treatment either as a residential patient or an outpatient. Often however, residential treatment programs are usually emphasized so that patients can be kept under better supervision than receiving treatment as an outpatient. On average, drug rehab programs last for about 3 months, but this depends on needs. Such programs enable people suffering from methadone addiction to receive professional support and learn coping strategies to keep off the drug.