Heroin and Methadone are similar in that they are both opiates and are highly addictive both physically and emotionally. Heroin users are going through everyday life numbing there physical, mental and emotional experience so as to not have to face the facts of everyday life, or to escape the pain of something that has happened in their life. Biologically, Heroin is a derivative form of Morphine, which comes from the opium poppy. Being addicted to Heroin is not the same as being addicted to Cocaine or Methamphetamines. Heroin is a narcotic substance like the others, but is not a stimulant. It is a painkiller. That is the truest description of the drug. Heroin kills mental, emotional and physical pain.
When a person withdrawals from heroin, he/she will suffer extreme physical duress. Most heroin users are not actually getting high when they use the drug; they are just getting “normal” or “well” because heroin withdrawal sets in after about 5 hours of not using the drug. Because the painkiller has powerfully numbed all your synapses and bodily functions to such a marked degree, the withdrawal is in turn a “waking up” of all the numbed physical and emotional sensations. It is very painful. This includes violent nausea, hot and cold sweats, extreme shaking, vomiting, a skin crawling sensation and insomnia that can last for 5-10 days.
Because of the large number of morphine and heroin addicts, the government sanctioned a medical “solution” to the heroin problem. Methadone was created as a prescription administered synthetic opiate to give to addicts so that they would no longer have to do crime to get heroin. And so that they could monitor their use through a physician and be able to wean down methadone consumption to eventually get off the drug for good. Methadone is even more addictive then heroin unfortunately, and most methadone patients use heroin or cocaine on the side. Taking a meth pill or drinking a glass of methadone has not addressed the reason a person gets high or the fixation to the method of their drug life style. This is called “chipping”
The Methadone program is less the 10 percent successful in getting people off opiates. Most people end up on methadone for life. In addition, the biggest downfall is that methadone is an even more highly addictive substance to the body and much more difficult to withdrawal from. The regular heroin withdrawals are amplified with a severe pain in the joints and muscles cramping, fatigue, violent outbursts, shaking and a burning sensation of your skin. Insomnia is much more prolonged. Methadone withdrawal is typically a 7-14 process. The affects of sleeplessness (depending on your dosage) can continue for two weeks after your last methadone dose. Methadone withdrawal can also produce hallucinations. It is not medically recommended that a person quit a large dose of methadone cold turkey, as there have been fatalities caused from this.
Heroin and Methadone addiction can be treated and most individuals completing a long term in patient program do markedly well in life after the emotional and physical affects of the heroin or methadone addiction fade away.
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Marcel Gemme has been in the field of addiction for over 4 years. He is a certified chemical dependency counselor.
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