Methadone detox is a method of treating withdrawal from and dependence on opioids (whether from addiction, abuse, or merely long-term use). In this instance, methadone is used to curb withdrawal symptoms and to make the withdrawal process shorter, less severe, and more bearable. It can be a beneficial treatment method for the right patients.
How Does Methadone Detox Work? According to SAMHSA, “methadone is a long-acting agonist at the µ-opioid opioid site that displaces heroin (or other abused opioids) and restablizies the site, thereby reversing opioid withdrawal symptoms.” This means that a person will experience much milder symptoms from opioid withdrawal and will be able to focus on their recovery. Methadone is usually supplemented by other treatments, including therapy, even in the detox setting, and patients are given a much more pleasant experience in detox which also lowers their chance for relapse. Methadone detox can occur in an inpatient or outpatient setting, based on the individual’s needs.
How Long Does Methadone Detox Last?
SAMHSA states that “methadone can be given once daily and generally tapered over 3 to 5 days in 5 to 10 mg daily reductions.” This is a helpful treatment for those who want to get through their withdrawal phase quickly and who are planning to attend addiction treatment afterward if necessary. Methadone detox can sometimes last longer, but long-term methadone treatment is usually more suited to those who need to stay on the drug for several months or years.
Can Methadone Detox Cure Addiction?
No. Often, methadone detox clinics will provide therapy and support groups for those who attend to receive their medication. But, according to the NIDA, “Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse.” A person usually needs to attend some kind of opioid addiction treatment that lasts at least 90 days to make a full and stable recovery.
Why Should I Choose Methadone Detox Treatment?
If you are considering how to be treated for opioid dependence, you might want to choose methadone detox treatment. According to the NIDA, methadone “does effectively suppress opiate withdrawal and relieve the debilitating craving that typically causes people to relapse.” Consider whether or not you might want to choose methadone detox treatment.
- I am addicted to opioids and about to go through withdrawal.
- I am dependent on opioids and about to go through withdrawal.
- I need medical assistance for my opioid withdrawal symptoms because they are extremely intense.
- I have not had issues with opioid dependence in the past and believe I can successfully complete the detox program in order to attend addiction treatment or another kind of treatment following.
- I can attend treatment and follow the steps of my doctor.
If these statements describe you, you could be a good candidate for methadone detox treatment. Taking your doctor’s instructions and dosage amount seriously and not having a long history of opioid abuse will be necessary for this type of program, otherwise you might want to consider methadone maintenance treatment which is more long-term. Methadone detox can help you end your dependence on opioids if the treatment is right for you.