Methadone Dependence after Surgery

Methadone Dependence after SurgeryRecovering addicts commonly use methadone as part of an opiate replacement therapy during treatment. Methadone is a prescription opiate medication, but it produces far less euphoric effects and stays in the system for a much longer period of time than other opiates. This makes it an effective steppingstone for people trying to break an opiate addiction. While this is the most common use for methadone, it is occasionally used to treat pain. Morphine and fentanyl are more popular mediations for post-surgical pain, but methadone is sometimes used for different reasons, including the following:

  • Longer half-life that requires less frequent use
  • Arguably the better option for patients with addiction histories
  • Some patients experience less pain using methadone
  • The drug costs less than most other pain relief medications

Due to its muted euphoric effects, methadone is less likely to be abused by addicts. In fact, a person must go to extra lengths like crushing and snorting pills to achieve a significant opiate rush. For this reason, most dependencies occur while taking the drug for pain management or opiate addiction treatment. People react differently to opiates, and certain users develop a dependency more quickly than others. Likewise, improper methadone use, even if unintentional, can propel a dangerous dependency.

Dangers of Methadone Dependence

In a 2012 statement, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Thomas Frieden wrote, “Deaths from opioid overdose have increased four-fold in the past decade, and methadone now accounts for nearly a third of opioid-associated deaths.” Though methadone only makes up 2% of pain medicine prescriptions, the CDC noted that most of these deaths result from pain management use and not from addiction treatment. In addition to overdose deaths, methadone abuse produces other undesirable effects, including the following:

  • Nausea, vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea, anxiety, and constipation
  • Potential for a respiratory or Central Nervous System (CNS) depression
  • Withdrawal symptoms can be worse than those of a heroin dependency
  • Methadone dependencies increase the likelihood of a heroin relapse

There are also dangers inherent in the drug’s half-life. Methadone stays in the system for about 36 hours, so users sometimes lose track of dosage times. This can lead to risky acts like taking more medication or drinking alcohol while the previous dose is still active.

Methadone Addiction Treatment

If a methadone dependency occurs, it is critical to seek professional help immediately. Rehab is the most comfortable and effective way to deal with a drug problem, and the treatments include the following:

  • Tapered detox under medical supervision to wean the drug out of the system
  • Screenings and integrated therapies for mental health issues and mood disorders
  • Behavioral therapies that produce more positive mental and emotional responses
  • Counseling to devise strategies against personal drug use triggers
  • Intensive group therapy to share experiences and lend support
  • Holistic options to assist with withdrawal symptoms and chronic pain

Aftercare therapies include ongoing counseling and local support groups.

Methadone Abuse Helpline

Have you developed a dependency on methadone or any other opiate medication? Our caring staff can help. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak with an addiction counselor about dependency signs, treatment options, and types of care. We can also check health insurance policies for rehab coverage. Methadone dependency has a high rate of overdose deaths, so please call now.