Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Methadone is a synthetic opioid used for the maintenance of patients with opiate addiction. Methadone is mainly used in the involvement of stopping or reducing the use of illicit drugs such as heroin and morphine although it also used in the treatment of chronic pain. While this is the case it has been found to be used recreationally for those with opiate addiction.
Methadone addiction is common because it is readily and easily available at methadone clinics. Clinics are where a user may go for the maintenance of their illicit opiate addiction. There they will receive methadone doses for a small payment each day legally. Just because methadone is legal whereas heroin is not, does not mean it is any less addictive or dangerous. The death toll from methadone use has spiked upward dramatically since 1999, with there being about 3,849 known in 2004 compared to 790 in 1999. Mixing methadone with other drugs such as benzodiazepines can be extremely dangerous also.
Methadone is highly physically addictive just as any other opiate. Methadone’s effects can last up to 35 hours and can remain in the body for days. This makes it prime for the maintenance of opiate addiction but also extremely hard to quit. That’s because when stopping methadone use there are going to be methadone withdrawal symptoms. The physical changes in the body after using methadone for a period of time are similar to those when using heroin or any other opiates.
To know if you are going to have methadone withdrawal symptoms, you can look for signs of methadone addiction. Signs of methadone addiction are pinpointed or contracted pupils, drowsiness, constipation, and suppressed breathing or cough reflex. If you or someone you know has been taking methadone for a long period of time and has these signs they most likely are going to go through methadone withdrawal symptoms once they stop their methadone use. Methadone withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and while they are not fatal it is very frightening. It can become psychologically as well as physically painful. Methadone withdrawal symptoms can vary based on age, gender, how much or how little you have been using and usually consist of;
- Physical Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Severe Itching
- Aches and pains, often in the joints and/or legs
- Elevated pain sensitivity
- Elevated blood pressure
- Reduced breathing (may be fatal between 2–4 hours)
- Psychological Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Suicidal ideation
- Susceptibility to Cravings
- Prolonged insomnia
- Auditory hallucinations
- Visual hallucinations
- Increased perception of odors, real or imagined
- Marked decrease in sex drive
- Panic disorder
Methadone withdrawal symptoms have shown to be up to twice as severe as those of morphine or heroin and are last a significant more amount of time; methadone withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks or more. At high methadone doses, sudden cessation of therapy can result in methadone withdrawal symptoms described as “the worst withdrawal imaginable,” lasting from weeks to months.