Methadone Addiction Help-Line

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Is Methadone Addictive?

Methadone is a highly addictive narcotic that is often used for chronic pain, and to help to alleviate heroin withdrawal symptoms. According to statistics from the American Methadone Treatment Association, it is estimated that almost 20% of the individuals in the U.S. that are addicted to heroin will begin Methadone treatment each year. What this means is that over 200,000 people a year will begin using Methadone and they eventually will become addicted to it. Because of the addictive properties that Methadone contains, it has a high potential for abuse on the street. People are often under the misconception that because Methadone is legal, that is it not as addictive as heroin. When an individual uses Methadone to get off of heroin, they are just trading one drug addiction for another. Another reason that individual's become addicted to Methadone is because the effects of Methadone are similar, but less powerful than Heroin. The effects of the drug can include a warm sense of well being and a general feeling of contentment. The individual who takes Methadone may also experience drowsiness; this is especially applicable in regards to the first week or two of using the drug.

Regardless of the reason an individual has started to take Methadone, it is highly likely that they will develop an addiction to the drug. After taking Methadone regularly for a period of time, an individual will build a tolerance to the drug. At the point of tolerance, an individual will have to take higher amounts of the drug to experience the same effects. Because Methadone is highly addictive, if an individual quits taking the drug, they will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Methadone withdrawal symptoms are very similar to those that a person would experience with any opiate, including heroin. Once a person is addicted to Methadone, it is extremely difficult to stop taking the drug without the assistance of a drug rehab center, because of the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. A large number of people that try to detox from Methadone on their own often give up in the middle of the process, and once again become prisoners of this addiction. Without the support and guidance of a drug treatment program, it is almost impossible to manage one's own withdrawal symptoms long enough to achieve the goal of abstinence.

Individuals that use Methadone have reported a wide range of side effects that include but are not limited to constipation, dry mouth, troubled or slow breathing, dry mouth, lightheadedness, urinary problems, and drowsiness. The more rare side effects of Methadone may include confusion, depression, allergic reactions, skin rash, hives, itching, dizziness, impaired concentration, feeling drunk, double vision, heart palpations and nausea.

After an individual has developed an addiction to Methadone, they will continue to use the drug indefinitely, often for many years.  This is because of the fear of the painful withdrawal symptoms that will occur when they stop using Methadone. Former heroin addicts do not have to swap addictions, instead, they can choose to gradually withdraw from the drug and follow up with a drug-free program of rehabilitation. There are signs when a person does become addicted to Methadone.

Signs of Methadone Addiction

  • lying about symptoms so that a physician will prescribe higher doses of Methadone
  • selling Methadone on the street in order to buy illicit drugs ,including heroin
  • combining Methadone with alcohol and other types of drugs
  • continuing to use heroin while taking Methadone
  • taking a larger dose of Methadone than has been prescribed

Methadone addiction can wreak havoc in the lives of the individuals that are closest to the addict. When an individual is on a Methadone maintenance program, they take the drug in a pill or liquid form. It has been determined that Methadone stays in the body for up to 36 hours, but, this time can vary depending upon how quickly the body metabolizes the drug. The drug withdrawal effects may be felt before it is time for the next dose, and the individual may begin to feel sick and irritable. When an individual is experiencing these withdrawal symptoms, it can make it difficult for them to be emotionally available for their loved ones. Friends and family are generally forgiving in these circumstances, at least for a time, as they are aware of the individual's Methadone addiction. When an individual is on the job, the atmosphere is significantly less compassionate. When an employer depends on a person to perform a service, and they do not provide it in a timely manner, the company loses money. A Methadone addiction can cause an individual to have problems at the workplace, and these problems can result an individual losing their job.

Methadone addiction has negative effects on individuals that are pregnant and also to the baby that they are carrying. When a woman is taking the drug during pregnancy, she may experience trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, premature labor, breakthrough bleeding and difficulty in handling her emotions. There are also many negative effects to the unborn baby that may include, low birth weight, early deliver, a higher chance of having a miscarriage, and slow growth and development in the womb. A child born to a Methadone user may experience mental retardation, heart problems and birth defects.

The effects of a Methadone addiction can be devastating, but the good news is that an individual will no longer have to experience these if they make the choice to receive drug treatment. The first step in the treatment process is detox, which is implemented to rid the body of the toxins related to the Methadone addiction. The second step to Methadone drug recovery is to begin the process of treatment. Treatment helps an individual deal with every aspect of their addiction through various forms of counseling, such as individual or group therapies.  Drug treatment will also help an individual to get to the root of their drug addiction. The final phases of a quality drug treatment program will include drug relapse prevention and social education.

Methadone Facts

  • Methadone must be used carefully when combined with central nervous system depressants (such as general anesthetics), other narcotic analgesics, tranquilizers, sedative–hypnotics, and tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Some methadone users feel sick when they first use the drug.
  • Those who are on methadone programs or have a prescription for methadone pills quickly find the bills adding up.
  • There are inpatient and outpatient programs for methadone addiction treatment. Knowing which one is right for the person with the problem is important. They cannot get the right help if they are in the wrong program. Knowing the differences between inpatient and outpatient is important. Knowing the pros and cons of each will help you find the right program for the person in need of help.
  • Methadone is a synthetic narcotic created around the time of World War II.
  • A serious problem with methadone prescriptions in the past was that heroin addicts were often given sufficient methadone to last one week – or even one month. As a result, methadone addicts commonly sold their prescribed methadone in the illicit drug market.
  • There is an ongoing argument about the opiate prescription medication methadone. Some believe it to be an effective opiate addiction treatment drug that works wonders helping heroin addicts stop using heroin. Others call it nothing more than a "replacement" drug and that those who stop using heroin and start using methadone on a methadone maintenance program are doing nothing more than transferring their addiction.
  • Heroin wears off after a couple of hours, thus requiring several hits each day. Methadone, on the other hand, lasts anywhere between 24 and 72 hours, depending on the dose that you take and on your individual metabolism.
  • Methadone maintenance programs are not cures or rehabilitation. They simply maintain a patient's addicted status, just under the acceptable terms of society.
  • Methadone is usually prescribed in oral doses as treatment for narcotic addictions.
  • Women who birth methadone addicted babies are usually encouraged to choose breast feeding over bottle feeding, since methadone is also present in breast milk. After birth, the baby goes through withdrawal from the drug, and this method of feeding helps to ease their symptoms.
  • Opiates such as methadone may possibly increase the risk of miscarriage and still births and opiate users may give birth to smaller babies.
  • Your mental and emotional well being is also affected: depending upon the amount of methadone in your system at any given time, you may not feel as well or have the energy and mental focus to complete the tasks at hand.