Methadone has been used to treat heroin addiction since the 1940s. While the synthetic opiate is highly effective at helping heroin addicts get clean, methadone itself is also addictive and can be difficult to quit using. Fortunately, there are several ways you can get off methadone and successfully overcome addiction of any kind for good!
If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, understand you’re not alone in your fight. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to talk to a drug abuse counselor about your options for nearby drug rehab centers that treat heroin addiction.
Here are three ways to stop using methadone after achieving sobriety from heroin.
1. Medical Detox
Methadone detox treatments help purge methadone from your body so you’re no longer physically dependent on the drug following detox. Most opiate rehab centers prescribe naltrexone to patients addicted to methadone. Naltrexone binds to opioid receptors in your brain without activating them, which blocks the effects of heroin and methadone should you relapse and start using either drug once again.
Other medications commonly used to treat methadone addiction are buprenorphine, clonidine, and antidepressants. Buprenorphine and clonidine help reduce methadone withdrawal symptoms, while antidepressants and antianxiety medications treat underlying psychological causes of addiction like bipolar disorder and social anxiety.
Most opiate rehab centers help you get off methadone using a tapering method. Tapering is when your doctor gradually reduces your dosage of methadone over time until you’re no longer using the drug. Tapering is often the safest treatment method, since quitting methadone abruptly can increase the risk for relapse and intense cravings.
3. Cold Turkey
Quitting methadone cold turkey is not recommended by most medical professionals, since quitting abruptly can lead to several serious withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, based on the individual’s physical dependence on the drug.
Common methadone withdrawal symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle aches
Some symptoms can be life-threatening for those who take high doses of methadone, or for those who have been using methadone for an extended period of time. Methadone withdrawal symptoms can also be life-threatening for those who already suffer from other serious health conditions such as heart disease. For instance, vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration when you quit methadone cold turkey without access to medical support.
Most addiction professionals recommend against quitting methadone cold turkey. Seeking medical detox or support through the tapering process are among the safest methods for getting off methadone after overcoming heroin addiction. You can also get off methadone at drug rehab centers that use natural, holistic treatments aimed at improving your whole health without the use of drugs.
If you’re addicted to heroin or methadone, understand you’re not alone in your fight for sobriety. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with a drug abuse counselor about heroin addiction treatment clinics nearby.