Methadone is a substance most commonly used in the treatment of heroin addiction. However, many people are claiming that this prescription medicine is simply helping the addict change one addiction for another, because of the methadone’s addictive properties. Methadone addiction is not considered by experts as serious as heroin addiction, yet it does carry certain risks, symptoms and side effects. The methadone dependancy is also a type of addiction which is treated in addiction centers worldwide.
A methadone addict can manifest his or her dependence in a number of different ways: either by taking more than the prescribed dose and deceiving the medical professionals about symptoms to get a larger dose. Commonly, methadone addicts have been known to also keep taking heroin as well, in cases when the prescribed dose of methadone is insufficient.
Methadone affects and collaborates with the body’s natural opiate receptors in the soft-tissue organs and central nervous system. Being high on methadone makes a person feel warmth, drowsiness, contentment and intense happiness, while the blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature drop. Talking and walking become hard, and the user can easily be detected as being under the influence of the drug.
Withdrawal from methadone includes symptoms such as depressive thoughts, muscle aches and anxiety and make the person tired and irritable to the slightest inconvenient. When used as prescribed by the authorized doctor, methadone will cause few side effects.
The addict’s signs include stomach cramps, nausea and mood swings when off the drug. The effects of methadone are similar to other opiates, giving the user a feeling of happiness, well-being and contentment. Because of these euphoric effects, the chances of dependence are high. It does not take a long time for the person to begin chasing that first euphoric hit and the pseudo-happiness which the drug provides.
If the addict takes the drug for a long time, he/she develops a tolerance to methadone, leading to the need for larger and larger doses to get the desired effect. Even with the addictive properties of methadone, if the drug is administered under a doctor’s supervision, the chances of addiction diminish as the experts in addiction have stated.
While the symptoms may resemble those of heroin withdrawal, the onset of the symptoms of methadone withdrawal is slower and they can also last longer. While it is possible for individuals to detoxify on their own, an official methadone abuse program organized by medical professionals is likely to be proven more effective.
Withdrawal symptoms can include constipation, nausea, tooth decay and vomiting. Other, more serious, side effects include tachycardia, muscle spasms and fever. How long these withdrawal symptoms last usually depends on how severe the methadone addiction is.
Methadone abuse treatment usually consists of two different approaches:
Gradually cutting down the dose of methadone
This approach is often the least effective - as the person is left to deal with the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms alone.
Going through an official detoxification program
Usually held at a hospital or rehab center, this can be attended as either an outpatient or an inpatient. Individuals with severe methadone addictions may be advised to stay under hospital supervision, so they can benefit from full medical supervision.
People who want to stop taking methadone need constant support on their road to recovery. A drug rehabilitation program usually lasts for around 90 days. Trained staff works on breaking down a person’s psychological dependence on the drug, as well as offering proper treatment to cope with the physical symptoms. The addiction treatment program involves teaching people new coping strategies, so they can be better equipped to handle stressful situations without going back to their addiction.
The price for methadone addiction treatment depends on several important factors such as:
In the USA the price for a complete treatment program for one month starts from $5,000 and can reach $80,000.
In Spain the prices for methadone addiction treatment programs range around $20,000 per month, in South Africa it is $10,500 for 12 weeks, in Thailand it is $10,500 for 6 weeks, in Brazil is $3,000 per week. And in Russia is $4,500 for 3 months.
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