Steps to Methadone Addiction Treatment

Steps to Methadone Addiction Treatment


If you are hooked on Methadone and you are interested in getting off of the medication then you probably need methadone addiction treatment of some kind.  Trying to get off this drug all by yourself without any help is very difficult indeed.  Some would even say that it is harder to get off of methadone than it is to get off of heroin.  There is a reason that they say this and we will get to it in a minute, but first let’s take a look at what your options are for treatment.

The basic idea with methadone treatment is that you want to prepare yourself before you actually go to the treatment at all.  Most of the heavy lifting needs to be done by you in the form of a taper before you even get to treatment.  If you simply walk into a treatment center or a drug detox unit while taking several hundred milligrams of methadone every day and expect them to detox you with no problem and keep you comfortable, then that is not realistic.  It is not going to happen.  The reason that it is not going to happen is because you have accumulated too much of the drug in your system, and it cannot just magically be swept away.  It takes time in order for it to disperse from your body.  The rate of time at which a drug is metabolized in your body is called the half life of the drug.  Heroin happens to have a very short half life compared to methadone, and therefore it is fairly addictive because the drug leaves the body somewhat quickly and the addict feels the need to use more.

But with methadone, the drug leaves the body very slowly. Because you take the drug every day, it builds up in your system.  This is because the dose you took yesterday is not fully gone yet when you take your next dose on the following day.  It is cumulative and it leaves your body slowly.  So if you go into drug rehab and they authorize you for 3 to 5 days of detox (very typical), then you will still have a lot of methadone in your system on the second and even the third day possibly.  You will not really start to withdrawal until it is time for you to leave detox and start going to groups and lectures and stuff.

Therefore, the key to treating methadone addiction is get yourself to drug rehab, but taper yourself down as much as possible before you go.  This is the ideal approach and it will keep you the most comfortable during your detox.

If you are getting the drug from a doctor or from a clinic, then inquire at the source as to how you can best taper down off the drug.  They should be able to set you up with a taper schedule that allows you to step down smoothly.  There will probably be some discomfort while you are tapering but that is to be expected.  Also, figure that in calling a drug rehab center, you may not be able to get in as quickly as you are planning, so give it two weeks in advance when you actually call to set up treatment.  Thus you can time your taper and then make the calls to get into rehab at the appropriate times.

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