Methadone is a strong opioid that helps people relieve pain and overcome opioid dependence. Unfortunately, it still has some addictive properties that cause people to develop methadone dependence.
If you’re suffering from methadone dependence, you may be looking at methadone rapid detox as a quick way to become sober. While this treatment can be effective for some people, it also has some major drawbacks you should be aware of.
In this article, we will cover methadone rapid detox from A to Z to help you figure out whether it’s the right option for you.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe pain or opioid use disorder (OUD) in medication-assisted treatment (MAT). It comes in the form of tablets, injections, powder, or solution.
The average single-dose methadone duration of action is 4 to 8 hours, but its elimination half-life ranges widely—from 15 to 60 hours. In some cases, it even exceeds 100 hours.
- Interrupting the body’s pain signals from reaching the brain, thus alleviating pain
- Preventing the brain from experiencing the effects of opioids, such as euphoria, and reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms
What is Methadone Used For?
Methadone has two primary use cases: pain relief and opioid dependence treatment.
As a strong opioid, methadone is used to treat pain in specific cases, such as when a patient with a terminal illness requires pain relief for a long period of time or doesn’t tolerate other opioids, such as morphine. For pain relief, methadone is usually taken every 8 to 12 hours.
In medication-assisted treatment, methadone is used alongside counseling and behavioral therapy to treat opioid addiction. By suppressing cravings and reducing painful and uncomfortable opioid withdrawal symptoms without inducing a “high,” methadone can help people avoid relapse to other opioids and focus on counseling and therapy.
In both cases, methadone should be used strictly as prescribed by your doctor. Otherwise, it may lead to dependence.
Building Up Tolerance to Methadone
Although methadone is often used to help people recover from opioid dependence, it is still highly addictive, like any other opioid. Because of this, anyone using methadone to treat pain or opioid use disorder risks developing dependence. This risk is even higher for those who have a history of opioid abuse and addiction.
While methadone is used to block the euphoric feelings produced by other opioids, at higher doses, it causes sedating effects that some people find intoxicating. Moreover, as a long-acting opioid, methadone can easily build up and stay in the body for days. As such, prolonged or increased use of methadone may lead to methadone tolerance.
Once your body develops tolerance to methadone, you may feel that the usual dose isn’t strong enough, which may result in methadone abuse and, in turn, dependence. As a result, you may experience methadone withdrawal symptoms after attempting to stop or reduce methadone use.
Methadone Dependence Symptoms
Most commonly, methadone dependence manifests as a combination of the following symptoms:
- Methadone cravings. An intense urge and desire to use methadone is a tell-tale sign of methadone dependence.
- Prolonged, more frequent, or increased use of methadone. Methadone dependence may cause you to use the drug longer, more frequently, or at a higher dose than prescribed.
- Failure to control methadone use. You may feel out of control in terms of methadone use, finding it very difficult to stop or reduce it.
- Decreased participation in social and professional activities. You may become less involved in your family life, friendships, work, and other spheres of life.
- Failure to handle responsibilities and obligations. You might begin to prioritize methadone use over your personal and professional obligations (e.g., such as showing up to work on time).
- Experiencing methadone withdrawal symptoms. If you suffer from methadone dependence and try to reduce or stop using the drug, you might experience opioid withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, anxiety, sweating, and similar.
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
As you now know, experiencing methadone withdrawal symptoms is one of the signs of methadone dependence.
These symptoms usually appear when you’re detoxing from methadone—about 24–36 hours after your last use of methadone—and may include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Low energy levels
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
Furthermore, you may experience the following symptoms more intensely after approximately three days since your last use of methadone:
- Methadone cravings
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cramping and diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
These symptoms typically subside within a week. That said, depending on your specific situation (e.g., how long you’ve been using methadone and whether you’ve been using other substances), it may take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months for your methadone withdrawal symptoms to completely go away.
Methadone withdrawal symptoms may be difficult to manage on your own, which increases the risk of relapse and overdose. Due to this, your best option is to undergo methadone withdrawal under medical care.
Methadone Rapid Detox Therapy
Methadone rapid detox is a medical treatment that usually involves the use of anesthesia and opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, to quickly remove methadone from the body. In other words, methadone rapid detox helps people go through methadone withdrawal within a few days under sedation, minimizing its uncomfortable effects.
In recent years, methadone rapid detox centers have emerged as a solution for patients seeking to come off of opioids swiftly. However, the treatment has many downsides that you should consider before joining a rapid detox program.
Some of the drawbacks of methadone rapid detox include the following:
- There’s a lack of regulations and standards for methadone rapid detox centers, which means that the quality of service varies from one facility to another
- Many methadone rapid detox centers conduct the procedure in clinics rather than hospital settings
- Many methadone rapid detox centers have nurses and social workers—not doctors—attending to the patients
All these factors can affect the safety, quality, and effectiveness of methadone rapid detox. While a few rapid detox procedures may be a safe and effective treatment option, this is only true when they are conducted under the right circumstances, with experienced staff.
That being said, the main issue with methadone rapid detox is the fact that it only helps people overcome methadone withdrawals. It does not treat the biological root cause of methadone addiction. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for patients to relapse after the methadone rapid detox treatment.
Even worse—relapse after methadone rapid detox puts you at increased risk of overdose, as it reduces your methadone tolerance but doesn’t remove cravings. In turn, you may take a higher dose of methadone than your body can handle. Needless to say, this can be life-threatening.
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation for Methadone Dependence
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is a safer and more effective alternative to methadone rapid detox therapy. With ANR, you can free yourself from methadone dependence in a matter of days, as the average hospital stay is just 36 hours. Unlike methadone rapid detox, however, the ANR treatment ensures permanent recovery from opioids.
What makes the ANR treatment unique and revolutionary is the fact that it is the only treatment that addresses the underlying cause of methadone dependence, which is brain imbalance caused by the use of drugs.
The goal of ANR isn’t to simply help you overcome methadone withdrawal. It’s to reverse the effects of methadone on your brain and restore it to a pre-addiction state. Thanks to this, the ANR treatment is a long-term solution to overcoming methadone dependence.
By re-regulating and modulating your opioid and endorphin receptor systems, the ANR treatment eliminates the chance of relapse, unlike methadone rapid detox treatments. Moreover, the ANR treatment is performed under heavy sedation by highly experienced medical staff in an ICU setting of a fully accredited hospital to ensure that the procedure meets the highest quality and safety standards.
While methadone rapid detox programs have a one-size-fits-all approach to treating methadone dependence, the ANR treatment offers a personalized approach tailored to each patient’s individual history and needs. Besides helping you avoid unpleasant side effects, it’s safe for virtually anyone, including people with complex health issues.
You can find ANR Centers all around the world, including in North America, South America, and Europe. No matter where you choose to get treatment for methadone dependence, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the same treatment quality, care, and support on your journey to recovery.
That wraps up everything you should know about methadone rapid detox.
Before you go, here’s a short summary of the key points we covered in this article:
- Methadone is an opioid prescribed for the treatment of moderate-to-severe pain or opioid dependence.
- Like other opioids, methadone is addictive and may lead to methadone tolerance and dependence.
- Some of the most common symptoms of methadone dependence include cravings, inability to control methadone use, and experiencing methadone withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, anxiety, yawning, and a runny nose.
- Although methadone rapid detox may seem like a quick solution to methadone dependence, it isn’t always safe and may lead to relapse.
- ANR is a safe and effective treatment that can help you recover from methadone dependence permanently by reversing the effects of methadone on your brain.
Dr. Waismann identified the biological roots of opioid dependency, Since then he has successfully treated more than 24,000 patients worldwide that are struggling with opioid addiction.
Throughout his career, he has lectured and educated health professionals in dozens of countries around the world to this day.