Understanding Methadone Intervention
When families call and ask us about doing a methadone intervention, sometimes there is a degree of confusion among family members about Methadone. Generally speaking, Opiate abusers (Heroin, Oxycontin, Vicodin, etc) can refer to Methadone as “meth”. Also referred to as “meth” is crystal methamphetamine, a very potent stimulant. Essentially, Meth(adone) is a downer, whereas Meth(amphetamine) is a stimulant. Be aware, however, than in the late stages of Methadone abuse, the user can actually gain energy from its use, even though it is a downer or narcotic. Call and speak to one of our addictions counselors if you need assistance in determining exactly what your loved one may be taking.
Although the substance itself isn’t usually the true problem in terms of recovery, it is important to understand that each substance abused does require a different approach in terms of intervention. A methadone intervention is handled differently than an intervention on a benzo user. There are many misconceptions about Methadone, so we have provided a considerable amount of information here to help families to understand the reality of Methadone as a drug.
Methadone Intervention and Withdrawal
Although originally created to combat opiate addiction, it is interesting to note that Methadone has a stronger physical addiction than the most other opiates. Other Opiates create a more rapid psychological dependence, but Methadone has one of the more powerful physical dependencies. In addition to this, Methadone withdrawal is generally up to 3 times longer than that of Heroin or other Opioids. The withdrawal from Methadone is similar to standard Opiates, but much worse. Imagine being unable to sleep for 21 days, during which you are experiencing the worst flu-like symptoms you have ever felt. You are vomiting, nervous, your blood pressure and heart rate is skyrocketing. Every muscle and bone in your body aches. Your hair hurts (yes, we know that biochemically speaking hair doesn’t hurt, but during a methadone withdrawal, everything hurts). And during the entire time, you are aware that if you just take one dose of Methadone, the discomfort will go away.
In a nutshell, if you use Methadone to quit using one drug, you very well may find yourself addicted to a much more addictive substance which is incredibly difficult to withdraw from. A terrible situation for anyone to be in. It is the severity of the withdraw that is the biggest objection during a Methadone intervention.
Types of Methadone Intervention
Methadone Intervention on a Recreational User
The first type of Methadone user is someone who began using drugs recreationally, experimented with Heroin or other Opiates and eventually became physically addicted. Generally speaking, most experimental Heroin users become physically addicted within a year and them become daily users. After becoming physically addicted, the recreational Opiate user becomes more and more obsessed with getting his drug. Trying to avoid the uncomfortable withdrawal and seeking another feeling of euphoria he becomes trapped in a never ending cycle. Because it is financially difficult for him to acquire his primary Opiate, he seeks out Methadone as a temporary alternative to the uncomfortable withdrawal of his Opiates. He successful avoids taking Methadone for long enough periods to become physically dependent, but of course he is still dependent on Opioids. A Methadone intervention for a recreational user is generally easier than the other types of Methadone interventions.
Methadone Intervention on a Daily User
The most difficult type of Methadone Intervention is the daily Methadone addict. For whatever reason he has become physically dependent on Methadone. His dosage ranges anywhere from 30mg/day to 120mg/day. In extreme cases, this is sometimes double that. Due to the severely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, rarely does a daily methadone addict quit using without the aid of treatment, detox, or imprisonment. The sad reality is that a daily methadone addict wants desperately to get off of the methadone, he just finds it too difficult. Ideally a methadone intervention can help him find his way into sobriety.
Unfortunately, due to the fact of the terrible uncomfortable withdrawal involved with Methadone, delivering a methadone intervention is considered one of the most difficult of all Opiate interventions. In fact, it is this very withdrawal that will be the biggest objection raised by the addict. However, a qualified intervention specialist is qualified to handle any situation and even methadone addicts have a high degree of success in terms of interventions.
Basically, every Methadone intervention is unique and after proper analysis and guidance your intervention specialist will help you to determine when and what is the best approach.