Methadone detoxification: information and methods

Methadone detoxification and its uses

Among the many opiate substances that can become addictive and devastating to a person, methadone is at the top of the list. It is a drug distributed legally but in a restricted way, and in case of generating dependency can be very dangerous.

Its effects are similar to those of morphine, so it works as a strong analgesic to calm all kinds of acute conditions. In today’s article we will review some questions about methadone detoxification and what are the ways that exist today to treat this dependence and carry forward a successful detoxification for the affected person.

Methadone Detox: History and Basics

Before we get into the full picture of methadone addiction, let’s start with a theoretical framework for knowing where methadone comes from. According to experts, methadone was made synthetically in a German laboratory as a replacement for morphine, since at the end of the Second World War this substance was scarce and they needed analgesics to treat the soldiers who participated in it.

At first it was called “amidone” and later became “methadone”. The commercial name under which it is usually distributed is “Dolophine”.

At first methadone was not used as an analgesic because its properties were unknown, because its molecular structure was nothing like the drugs of this same species.

At the end of the 50’s it began to be used as a treatment that helped to overcome the abstinence syndrome in morphine addicts, and it turned out to be very effective for this purpose. Some years later it began to be commercialized for oral consumption.

Forms of consumption

Methadone is commonly used in treatment programmes for people with heroin dependence and addiction. A certain dose of methadone can neutralize the euphoric effect of heroin and also prevent the emergence of withdrawal syndrome once the substance is stopped, making recovery much simpler and more effective for patients.

By virtue of what we mentioned recently, there is an enormous risk that the person who consumes methadone in his treatments to combat heroin may develop an enormous physical and psychological dependence on the substance and end up falling into an addiction that in many cases is even worse than the one it was intended to combat.

As you can imagine, this situation can be extremely frustrating for both the consumer and his or her environment, since it was a matter of coming out of one addiction and falling back into another.

Chronic consumption of this distance can generate very negative and harmful effects on the brain, such as stopping producing endorphins naturally. Endorphins work as analgesics, so through the consumption of methadone these enzymes stop appearing naturally and this can bring more than one problem, in addition to causing a very deep structural and functional modification in the brain.

By virtue of the disappearance of endorphins, the addict finds himself in the need to replace these natural enzymes with something that gives him a similar or better effect, and then falls back on methadone to supply that. With recurrent use it becomes more tolerant to the substance, which means that the dose has to be increased and at some point proves to be fatal to the user.

What happens when the addict stops taking methadone? Certain physiological reactions appear by virtue of the fact that the neurons that have been inhibited during their consumption, begin again to release the corresponding neurotransmitters and a very important cerebral imbalance is generated between all the substances of the nervous system.

For this reason it is very difficult for the addict to voluntarily stop consuming this substance. When this happens, the much feared withdrawal syndrome is unleashed, consisting of nausea, cramps, anxiety, diarrhea, fevers, among other consequences of the abandonment of opiates.

Symptoms of methadone use

There are some symptoms or behaviors that show methadone in a person’s body. Let’s see a little more about what they are:

Increasing doses

The methadone addict will need to increase his doses to generate the same effects. There is a tolerance, the same as in the case of other dependencies on substances such as alcohol.

Inability to stop using

The person will make enormous efforts to give up consumption or even control its intake but it will be impossible. The physical dependence generated is very strong, even more so when it is used to try to give up other substances, as a substitute.

Disinterest in life in general

It is very common for a methadone addict to begin to forget absolutely all of his interests in order to throw himself fully into the consumption of this substance.

Lies and deceptions

Addicts generally lie to their family and friends as well as to their doctors. In the case of prescription users, it is very common for them to trick their doctors into increasing the dose.

Mixed substance use

Some methadone dependents often combine it with other addictive substances such as alcohol. This can be very dangerous, so we must be especially attentive to this symptom.

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