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Methadone Detox in Fort Lauderdale

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a strong narcotic that is typically prescribed for the purpose of managing severe chronic pain and for the treatment of opioid dependency. Methadone has a cross-tolerance with other opioid drugs, such as heroin and morphine, allowing it to offer similar pain-relieving effects over a longer duration of time.

The Effects of Methadone Abuse

Methadone comes in a variety of strengths and in different appearances, such as in a liquid mixture, tablets, or ampoules for injection. One of the most common uses for methadone is for maintenance therapy prescribed to individuals who are attempting to stop the use of other illegal drugs. When used as prescribed and under the proper supervision, Methadone is considered a safe treatment method and is typically prescribed at a low dosage for patients who are in the withdrawal phase from another drug. It is meant to be given steadily and continually until withdrawal symptoms have ceased.

While Methadone can be an effective way to manage withdrawal symptoms from other drugs, Methadone in itself is addictive and can easily be abused if not taken as prescribed. Tolerance for methadone develops quickly-leading to a rapid increase in dosage and ultimately abuse.

An estimated 1 million Americans are addicted to opiates and about 120,000 people take Methadone to control their heroin addiction. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that methadone now accounts for nearly a third of opioid-associated deaths. About 20 percent of methadone patients continue the opiate-substitute treatment for more than 10 years. The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics had listed Methadone as contributing to almost 4,000 deaths in 2004. 82% of these deaths were listed as accidental, and most deaths involved combined methadone with other drugs.

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Methadone Withdrawals

Anyone addicted to methadone should only attempt detox under the supervision of a medical professional. Withdrawal can cause harming side effects. Since Methadone tends to be taken at high doses and for long time periods, it may have a withdrawal period that is longer than normal, ranging from 4 to 6 weeks. Withdrawal can manifest both physically and mentally, as methadone addiction involves both a physical and psychological dependency. During withdrawal, the body is trying to find its way back to normal, and in doing so must fight off the damage that has been done, and the current state of the addict's body and mind. These symptoms vary, but the side effects are similar to those of other opiates and are typically flu-like. They include:

Muscle aches and pains
Nausea or vomiting
Rapid heartbeat
Stomach cramps

Methadone withdrawal is just as horrific is considered to be more difficult than opiate withdrawal. The reason for this being that methadone is slower and longer acting in its effects on the brain. Due to this, withdrawal is similar in that they are much slower to finish. Many users continue using methadone for fear of the withdrawal symptoms that will come. At our Detox Center in Fort Lauderdale, we administer medication at a regulated level to help ease symptoms and complete a full and successful detox.

After several days of stabilizing a patient with methadone, the amount can be gradually decreased. The rate at which it is decreased is dependent on the reaction of the individual but keeping Methadone withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level is the goal.

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