4 Things to Keep in Mind as You Taper off Methadone

4 Things to Keep in Mind as You Taper off Methadone

Opioid addiction is a large problem throughout America. People become addicted to opioids in many different ways. When people are recovering from an accident or injury, they are sometimes prescribed pain killers to minimize the pain that they have to experience. When this happens, they can sometimes become addicted to them. Eventually, the doctors will stop prescribing the drugs to the person and if they are addicted to the pills, they will turn to other opioids to get the feelings they crave and this is where methadone can come into play.

Being able to overcome an opioid addiction by yourself isn’t easy to do. Opioids, such as heroin are readily available, which can make it difficult to stop using. Seeking professional help can make the process easier because you can be prescribed medications, such as methadone to make the recovery easier. It’s important to know that methadone presents its own risks though. The following guide walks you through a few things you need to know about methadone.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opioid medication that is long acting and commonly given to people who are trying to recover from an addiction to opioids. The idea of taking an opioid medication to battle an addiction to opioids can seem counter-intuitive to some people. The drug is designed to decrease the cravings and minimize the withdrawal symptoms that come when quitting other opioid use.

Like any other opioid, methadone can be addictive. It needs to be taken properly in order for it to be as effective. When you are ready to stop using methadone, it’s important to taper off of it to reduce the withdrawal symptoms that you experience.

Tapering Should be Monitored

Working with a professional treatment facility is the best way to treat an addiction to opioids. An evaluation needs to be taken to determine how much methadone you need to take, when you need to take it and how you need to take it. You need to be sure that the drug is taken properly in order to be as safe as possible at all times. A professional treatment facility will have the knowledge, tools and staff available to make you feel comfortable throughout your recovery process.

At first you will take a larger dose of methadone to decrease the withdrawal symptoms you feel from stopping the use of heroin or other opioid. Over time, the amount you take needs to gradually decrease. The professionals at the treatment facility can ensure that you are safe throughout the tapering process. The amount of methadone you need to take is determined through many different factors, including your weight, age and length of addiction. If you start to experience any withdrawal symptoms, the staff can determine if they need to increase the doses slightly to get minimize the symptoms you experience. Most symptoms last only a few days but treating them as quickly as possible minimizes the chances of you turning to something else to treat the symptoms.

Tapering off Methadone Takes Time

It’s important to be patient when it’s time to taper off of methadone. You cannot simply stop using it because withdrawal symptoms will occur. If you do quit cold turkey, you will feel nauseous, have headaches, have body aches and feel lethargic overall. Many people compare the symptoms to the way they feel when they have the flu but intensified.

When you are ready to stop using methadone, the doses that you take need to be slowly minimized so that your body can adjust to the changes. This can take many weeks to accomplish if you don’t want to have intense withdrawal symptoms. The staff at the treatment facility can monitor how your body reacts to tapering and slowly decrease the amount of methadone that you take when the time comes.

Tapering Can Be Dangerous

When you taper off of methadone, it’s important to know that relapsing is possible if you aren’t careful. There are many people who make the mistake of thinking that they can handle tapering off of methadone on their own. They assume that because they got clean from the other drugs, they were addicted to that they have the ability to quit using methadone cold turkey through sheer willpower alone. This typically isn’t the case.

When you stop using methadone suddenly, your body will go into detox and start to experience intense withdrawal symptoms. Many people figure out that they cannot handle the symptoms and take a dose of methadone to try to stop the symptoms they are experiencing. This can lead to an overdose because they take too much of the methadone for their body to handle.

Tapering Off Methadone requires Additional Care

When you start tapering off of methadone it means that you are going to return to an opioid-free life in the near future. It’s important to combine the methadone treatment with mental health assistance at the same time. You need to be able to identify why you turned to opioids to begin with and what you can do to minimize the chances of relapsing in the future.

You can meet with a psychologist to learn if you have any mental health issues that need to be treated. Properly treating mental health issues allows you to take control of your life without having to continue methadone use. You can also learn strategies to use if you feel tempted to use again in the future. Taking control of your mental health before leaving a treatment program is essential to long term success when it comes to opioid treatment.

When you are ready to stop using opioids, find a treatment facility that offers a methadone treatment program. You want to be sure that not only can you get access to methadone, but also to counseling sessions, inpatient treatment and help with handling the stress that comes with addiction and everyday life. Once you have treated your addiction and are ready to taper off of the methadone, stay at the treatment facility until you are able to live without methadone completely. This will better your chances of avoiding a relapse in the future.

The Opioid Epidemic Story is a Tragedy

The Opioid Epidemic Story is a Tragedy

Opioid addiction is a startling and fast-growing epidemic. Its epidemic growth may be one of the saddest drug addiction stories ever told.

There are whole generations of families and communities being lost to opioid addiction. Opioid addiction keeps growing in communities throughout the US. A professional group became appalled at what they were witnessing and began an opioid awareness campaign.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists opioid epidemic awareness campaign is an effort to inform people about the symptoms of opioid abuse. If an addict wants to get treatment, there is information provided on where to get treatment and help.

But there are no easy answers or solutions in how best to stop the widespread penetration of opioid addiction in the U.S.

How Widespread is Opioid Addiction?

The numbers of opioid addiction are surreal to read about. There are three million people in the U.S. and 16 million globally who suffer from opioid addiction. What's more, those numbers keep growing yearly.

With a population of almost 400,000 in Maldives Male’ houses occupies about 200,000 people including foreign workers. As the local islanders finish their 10th or 12th grade they are somehow  forced to come to city for their higher educations and to look for better opportunities. Its really sad to have one single city developed over 30 years instead of developing islands in different locations in Maldives. The current situation could have been avoided. I hope to see 5 more cities like this in Maldives in different locations so that one place won’t get packed. It’s beautiful from the Sky.
Photographer: Ishan @seefromthesky | Source: Unsplash

How do you know if someone you love is addicted to opioids? There are some common symptoms you can look for. They are;

  • False sense of euphoria
  • Grandiose feelings about self
  • Anxious and irritable
  • Lack of motivation
  • Paranoid or psychotic episodes
  • Quit doing favorite things
  • Hypervigilant
  • Insomnia

Once you start noticing any of these symptoms, there are a multitude of different treatment options you can give them, if you find out they are abusing opioid.

But in the end, it is up to the addict to seek treatment. No matter how bad the opioid addiction is you cannot force another adult to get treatment for an addiction they won't admit they have. Opioids include illegal drugs like heroin. But they also include drugs you can get from a prescription. These prescriptions are for drugs like fentanyl, codeine, and morphine. Because opioid is a legally prescribed drug, many times opioid addicts will tell you they have pain and must take the drug as it is the doctor's orders.

Opioid Addiction Helplines

There are a multitude of treatment options for opioid addiction. There are websites dedicated to information on the opioid epidemic. There are websites which provide opioid addiction treatment options through free online resources.

One of those websites may open up possibilities when providing treatment options for any addict. It may be one word in a sentence or one sentence in a paragraph which helps reach the addict.

Many times it is the other person on the other side of a phone call or helpline who provides hope. There is a hopeful connection website which provides a no cost treatment helpline dedicated to addicts.

Opioid treatment solutions work best when the treatment is customized to the addict's needs. Opioid addiction may have similar symptoms no matter who the addict is but every person is different in how they experience and manage the symptoms of addiction.

Photographer: christopher lemercier | Source: Unsplash

Types of Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

All opioid addiction treatment involves some form or style of various counseling methods. Some of these include, but are not limited to;

  1. One on one counseling which involves goals, motivations, progress and what to do when you have setbacks.
  2. Altering negative thinking behaviors by learning how to have positive coping skills called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It is effective when dealing in lives with over-the-top stress.
  3. Giving an addict incentives for not using opioids is called contingency management therapy.
  4. Group counseling can be effective with addicts. This is because when an addict hears other opioid addiction stories the feeling of loneliness is gone. No one should feel alone when seeking addiction treatment. Group counseling also exposes you to new methods and ways to fight opioid addiction.
  5. Many addiction treatment plans include family counseling. Bringing in your partner or other family members helps open the door to communication and healing.

Widespread and Ever-Growing Opioid Addiction

The opioid addiction is not going anywhere soon because the numbers keep increasing and not much seems to slow it down.

More than 130 people die daily in the United States from opioid addiction. It is estimated that over $78.5 billion is allocated to emergency healthcare, treatment and law enforcement due to opioid addiction.

What's amazing is 8-12% of those who receive opioids for pain start abusing the drug. Between 2016 and 2017 opioid overdoses went up 30% in just 52 areas within 45 states.

Opioid addiction isn't slowing down and in fact, many abusers of opioid move on to heroin when they cannot get a prescription or buy opioid on the streets.

The magnification of drug abuse and the fall-out from one drug is almost beyond comprehension.

When opioid addiction happens to you or someone you love the battle isn't just heartbreaking. The drug addiction becomes real with its criminal, psychological, and physical fall-out. The treatment needed becomes required right now.

Opioid Treatment Customized to Your Needs

No one has all the answers to opioid addiction. Nor does anyone have all the answers to the best treatment programs for the disorder. But by spending time in communication learning about the addicts behaviors and symptoms there is a way forward which may help.

There are dedicated personnel standing by to talk to you, offer you treatment information and more. But you have to want to learn about opioid information. You have to want to fight against your opioid cravings.

Most of all, you have to be the one who is ready to face the consequences of your addiction both in body and mind.

There is no addiction easy to conquer. Take the first step in helping yourself escape from your opioid addiction. Don't become part of the statistics of lives interrupted by death well before your time.

Don't become a statistic when there is still so much to discover about yourself. Tell your story to others. Become an inspiration to many people. Your story shouldn't begin and end with only one chapter detailing your opioid addiction.

Widespread opioid addiction is only as strong as its users. It's hold on geographical areas and people weaken when people quit using. Reach out to us today, so we can help you end your use of opioids.