Methadone Detoxification Treatment*
Methadone has been effectively prescribed for opiate addiction for more than thirty years. It is a synthetic opiate that works like a time-release medication to eliminate cravings for heroin or other potent opiates. When used as part of a monitored treatment program, methadone has helped many stay off heroin and other narcotics.
Unfortunately, many methadone programs do not closely monitor their clients and help them get completely clean. Some addicts take methadone in order to get off of drugs but find themselves physically and mentally dependent on methadone for years. Occasionally, a client started using methadone through a prescription for pain relief or was introduced to it through friends.
Though many methadone users manage to hold jobs and keep themselves feeling somewhat “normal” for some time, “methadone maintenance” can be expensive; it can compromise health and personal development. Though the individual is no longer taking illegal drugs, he or she is not free. One client describes his experience: “I graduated to methadone after taking Norcos for years. I found a doctor who shared my concerns about liver damage and prescribed methadone. I had to get the pills once a week and pay cash for an office visit every month. Before that, I was going to school and traveling. But on methadone maintenance, I was just a lazy zombie, living at home with my parents, eating junk food, living day by day.”
Getting off methadone isn’t easy. In fact, symptoms of methadone withdrawal are much like those from opiate withdrawal. The first signs of methadone withdrawal are flu-like symptoms – aches and pains, extreme anxiety, and insomnia. The good news is that a slow and steady methadone withdrawal is not especially painful and often successful. A licensed, professional detoxification center helps clients complete this path. Usually, clients in severe withdrawal will switch over to Suboxone, which is then titrated down until the client is opiate free. During this process, clients also receive low doses of an anti-insomnia medication such as diazepam, which allows clients to sleep at night during the first few days of detox. These low doses of diazepam also dampen the extreme anxiety caused by opiate withdrawal. Detoxification staff crafts each withdrawal schedule to accommodate individual needs and deal with unique symptoms.
Left to their own devices, most individuals dread taking their last pill; their chemically-dependent mind cries out for relief. But with group support and the reassurance that others have been through the same withdrawal process and now live without any drugs at all, sobriety is surprisingly easy. People are usually excited by their new sense of serenity. The goal is to never go backwards. By steadily decreasing the dosage of all problem medications, clients know they are that much closer to freedom. Methadone maintenance is no way to go through life. We can support all those involved through this final chapter of substance dependence.
*Detoxification services are not provided at Morningside Recovery facilities. We work closely with local, fully licensed detoxification centers that provide the highest level of care to our clients. If a client requires detoxification and is admitting to any of Morningside's programs, our clinical team will follow the client’s detoxification treatment at these local facilities. If the detoxification period is to exceed 72 hours, we will also begin private therapy and other treatment services at the designated location. Our consulting physician and psychiatrist will also follow each client’s case at this outside center in order to ensure a smooth transition into any of our many levels of care. Although outcome studies have shown significant increase in client success when receiving full or extended treatment services after detoxification, if you require only a detoxification without further treatment, we are happy to refer you to one of the highly regarded and trusted detoxification facilities that we utilize.