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How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Methadone?

Methadone is a medication that is often used during opioid detox to help ease withdrawal symptoms among people who are addicted to heroin and opioid/opiate drugs. It has become popular as a way to help people manage withdrawal symptoms, but it is still a narcotic pain reliever capable of causing addiction.

This synthetic opiate stands out from other drugs in its class because it affects people differently than heroin or opioid painkillers. Methadone generally does not produce a “high” feeling and, like similar drugs (such as Suboxone), it is believed that people can stop using methadone faster and easier than other opioid drugs.

Even medically supervised use of methadone has risk. It is possible to become dependent on drugs like methadone and Suboxone. Some people even take methadone recreationally. Whether it is taken recreationally or for opiate detox and addiction recovery, methadone hooks people at different rates, but those most susceptible can become addicted in less than two weeks.

The Dangers of Methadone

The dangers of methadone are real and should not be taken lightly. Like many narcotics, methadone can slow a person’s respiratory rate. While the pain relief wears off after six to eight hours, the drug can stay in the body for days, so individuals often take more methadone before the previous dose or doses have left the system. Without medical input, incorrect dosing can lead to respiratory failure, coma, or even death.

It’s a good idea to be aware of these methadone dangers:

  • Combining methadone and alcohol is dangerous and potentially lethal
  • Withdrawal symptoms do still exist and can lead a person to relapse on heroin or other
  • Methadone can lead to overdose
  • Addiction to methadone, like all drugs, has a long list of undesirable side effects
  • Heroin relapse is more common with methadone users who got hooked during detox
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Treating Methadone Addiction

Quitting methadone “cold turkey” can cause an individual to experience withdrawal symptoms that can be overwhelming, discouraging, and even physically unhealthy. Sudden cessation of methadone is not recommended.

Man taking methadone

Medically supervised detox services are strongly advised.

Proper treatment can minimize discomfort in a comfortable and safe environment that will help prevent relapse and offer support for ongoing recovery. Methadone detox alone does not constitute a full recovery. It’s a good idea to seek a customized program that addresses the whole person, and the whole addiction history. This might involve addressing mood disorders, past traumas or co-occurring addictions to other substances. With the right program you can regain control of your life.

Help to Quit Methadone

Few addictions are as dangerous to ignore or as difficult to break, but we can help make the process as painless and effective as possible. We are happy to answer any of your questions about the healing process at 760.548.4032. We can even check your health insurance to see if methadone addiction treatment is covered. This is one addiction where proper treatment can make all the difference.

By Kathryn Millán, LPC/MHSP, Contributing Writer