Methadone is medically used as a treatment for drug addiction, but because the substance itself is highly addictive, it can lead to an entirely new problem. As it can be legally administered and used as part of drug treatment programs, methadone is accessible to many drug addicts.
Its abuse is a serious problem that may be difficult to recognize, accept, and seek help for. If your son is struggling with methadone abuse, New Life House can assist him on his healing journey. Call us at (888) 357-7577 to learn more about our sober living facility and recovery programs.
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is a man-made opioid agonist medication. It works in ways similar to morphine, another narcotic painkiller. The substance can be injected or taken in oral forms such as tablets. It functions by altering how the nervous system and brain respond to pain and blocks the euphoric effects of opioids.
When administered, methadone does not cause the same “high” as most opioids. However, the user will feel a sense of happiness and well-being.
Although its recreational use is illegal, methadone may be prescribed by a medical doctor. There are clinics that use Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) to treat opioid addiction. During treatment, the substance is administered daily and essentially replaces the illegal drug – usually heroin – that the patient was previously addicted to.
Although it reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings, methadone is highly addictive. Its effects are long-lasting, and because users want to continually experience the positive symptoms, they may start abusing the substance. Taking more methadone than prescribed is dangerous and can lead to overdoses or even death.
It’s important to note that methadone addiction can occur even when the treatment process is monitored by a medical professional. There are instances where users alter drug test results so their doctors prescribe higher doses. Alternatively, users may become addicted during the treatment process and seek out the substance illegally.
Methadone is sometimes confused with a drug of the same prefix, methamphetamine. These two substances are in no way related, so it’s important to make the distinction between them. Although they are both highly addictive, methamphetamine is an illegal drug and a non-opioid.
How Is Methadone Meant To Be Used?
Methadone has its origins as a way to treat severe pain in the mid-1900s. Today, it’s more commonly used as a treatment for addiction to opioids such as heroin, certain prescription medications, and other narcotic drugs. It is a “safer” alternative to many street drugs and abusing some prescription drugs.
In order to be used safely and legally, methadone is intended to be prescribed by a doctor and administered in a reputable clinic. During MMT, a physician will determine the proper dosage and time period for the addict to take the medication.
Methadone can be administered via injection, powder, tablet, or liquid. It is intended to be used for a short period of time in order to diminish the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid addiction. The substance is often used alongside counseling and therapy, which has proven to be effective for addicts’ recovery process.
Methadone, however, can be abused by addicts. They often take more than is prescribed to experience its pleasant effects as well as fight off addiction to other drugs. This cycle only leads them to become dependent on another opioid. If your loved one is currently struggling with this addiction, call New Life House today at (888) 357-7577 to learn about our sober living facility.
Is Methadone Addictive?
Using methadone to treat drug addiction is often viewed as a temporary solution. The process essentially involves replacing one addiction with another. Addicts are weaned off drugs such as heroin and given daily doses of methadone to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone, unfortunately, is addictive. Although its “high” is different from those provided by typical opioids, the substance still causes the user to feel good. Addicts will consistently seek out higher doses because of the persistent cravings, increased effects, and building tolerances.
This is especially dangerous because of the long half-life of methadone. If users consume too much of the drug in a short period of time, they are at risk for overdose or even death.
What Are the Effects & Side Effects of Methadone?
When administered correctly, MMT has the potential to help addicts overcome opioid addiction. Some positive outcomes include:
- Less severe withdrawal symptoms
- Reduced cravings
- Decreased likelihood of relapse
That being said, there are negative side effects users experience while on methadone. Some of the most common ones include:
- Increased sweating
More dangerous possible side effects include:
- Transmission of disease (from recreational needle injections)
- Shallowing breathing
- Severe constipation
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms of Methadone Abuse
An addict who is suffering from methadone abuse may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Increased sweating
- Shallowing breathing
- Decreased heart rate
- Decreased body temperature
- Lower blood pressure
- Difficulty talking and walking
- Muscle aches
- Depressive thoughts
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Users cannot rely on methadone to permanently cure their substance abuse; the idea is to eventually come off the drug once they have a grasp on their addiction. While methadone is meant to ease the withdrawal symptoms of recovering from opioid abuse, it has withdrawal side effects of its own.
Some common withdrawal symptoms of methadone include:
- Intense sweating
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Paranoia and delusions
- Suicidal thoughts
The withdrawal symptoms caused by methadone are often worse than those caused by the original drug the user was abusing. Even though methadone can decrease the chance of relapse, the negative symptoms it leads to can actually cause users to be more likely to relapse.
What Should I Do If Someone is Abusing Methadone?
Methadone is deceptive. In some instances, the substance can stop addicts from abusing another drug. Because of its seemingly positive effects, it can be easy to overlook the harmful symptoms of methadone. Keep in mind that it can be just addictive and dangerous as other opiates. The substance can even make users more prone to relapse as only further encourages the cycle of addiction.
If you know someone who is abusing this substance, it is important to seek professional help. You, or your son, can find hope at New Life House’s sober living facility and start a lifelong path to recovery.
How Can New Life House Help?
At New Life House, we provide a comfortable, safe sober living facility where you can focus on healing. Those in recovery will be surrounded by people who understand their struggles and can relate to what they’re going through.
Our staff and residents offer a sense of community that encourages you to get better and work on yourself. We teach our residents healthy coping skills that they can use on their path to recovery.
Contact Us Today
If you or your son is suffering from methadone addiction, reach out to New Life House today by calling (888) 357-7577. Through a supportive community and effective recovery programs, our sober living facility gives young men the tools they need for lifelong healing.