Methadone Addiction Help-Line

Seeking Help For:
Age Of Person Needing Methadone Treatment?
Has The Person Ever Received Prior Drug Treatment?Yes No
General Situation:
Preferred Contact Method?Phone Email

Methadone Addiction

Methadone addiction can be very severe and there are many millions of people who take the highly controversial drug. Individuals who choose to take Methadone are often times under the illusion that the drug can help them to break their opiate or heroin addiction; the truth is that Methadone is also a highly addictive drug, both mentally and physically. Shaking off an opiate addiction can be very difficult; so many people choose to avoid the withdrawal symptoms that make them feel sick, by using Methadone. Methadone must be taken at least once daily in order to be effective. Methadone is taken orally when it is being used to treat an addiction, but it can also be injected.  The main purpose of Methadone is to suppress narcotic withdrawal symptoms. Due to law enforcement cracking down on OxyContin, physicians are now increasingly prescribing Methadone for pain relief. An individual can quickly develop a tolerance and dependence on Methadone.  Individuals that take the drug for pain treatment can build a tolerance to the drug and become addicted to Methadone, which is a synthetic opiate.

Methadone treatment is extremely controversial. Those who oppose the use of Methadone treatment for opiate addiction point out than individuals that are taking it are simply trading one type of drug addiction for another and believe that the only solution to an opiate addiction is a holistic approach that leaves the person truly drug free. The advocates of Methadone believe that it helps to curb risky behavior by offering a non-intravenous solution to heroin use which avoids the spread of infectious disease such as the HIV/AIDS virus.  Methadone withdrawal symptoms are a sure sign of an addiction to the drug. It is at this point that an individual should seek professional drug rehab treatment for their Methadone addiction. There are many, often obvious signs that can be observed when an individual becomes dependent on Methadone. These symptoms can include combining methadone with other drugs or with alcohol, taking more of the drug than has been prescribed and lying about symptoms to get higher doses of the drug, or continuing to use heroin while taking Methadone. When an individual develops an addiction to Methadone, they feel as if they cannot function a day without it. Meth addiction consists of drug cravings being present when the drug is not being used, accompanied by uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Individuals on Methadone, often continue treatment for many years, in fear of the agonizing withdrawal that will occur if they stop taking the drug.

Experts believe that the continuous intake of Methadone creates a dependency to the drug that negatively affects the central nervous system. An individual with a prolonged addiction to Methadone will eventually experience abnormal functioning in the nerve cells in the brain, which would otherwise produce endorphins, or natural painkillers. The reason that the body will stop producing its own endogenous opiates is because it is receiving Methadone instead. A physical dependency for an external supply of opiates will occur because of the degeneration of these nerve cells in the brain. In this instance, when a person quits taking Methadone, withdrawal symptoms will occur.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms: Blood pressure and heart rate usually increase in Methadone withdrawal. Other symptoms than can manifest include body tremors, chills, dizziness, watery eyes, sneezing, yawning, and a runny nose. Also noteworthy Methadone withdrawal symptoms are joint and muscle aches and excessive and insomnia.

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms: The main reason psychological symptoms occur in Methadone withdrawal are mainly due to the effect of the drug on the brain's opioid receptors. In Methadone withdrawal, psychological symptoms can include agitation, depression, suicidal thoughts, hyperactivity, paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, and delusions.

Infants that are in withdrawal to Methadone often experience the same symptoms that are commonly associated to opiate withdrawal. Methadone is often used as maintenance treatment in individuals who are pregnant and are addicted to opiates. Methadone can cause serious side effects to the fetus. Up to 80 percent of infants whose mother received methadone display sometime of side effects almost immediately after Methadone is administered according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Infants whose mothers received methadone treatment during pregnancy, often experienced limited fetal growth, a smaller circumference of the head, and low birth weight. As children, those born to mothers who were on Methadone treatment during pregnancy, often score lower in psychometric and behavioral tests than otherwise healthy children.

There are many serious side effects that are associated with the use of Methadone, including addiction to the potent drug. Other side effects of Methadone can include impaired thinking and reactions. It is advised that an individual should never mix alcohol with Methadone, as this combination could produce deadly side effects. Methadone is a narcotic, and all drugs in this category can cause the respiratory system to slow down significantly. Constipation and sweating are often some of the most common side effects of using. Those who experience excessive sweating while on methadone seem to sweat heavily regardless of the dose taken. Methadone has been associated with several types of sexual dysfunction in men including delayed ejaculation, impotence or loss of libido. A recent study indicated that at least 40% of men that are over the age of 39 will experience mild to severe erectile dysfunction while taking Methadone. Taking heroin and other types of prescription opiates are also associated with ED. Individuals that take Methadone can experience extreme drowsiness.  Dangerous allergic responses such as hives, swelling of the lips, face, tongue or throat or seizures have been known to occur with the use of Methadone, and these should be treated immediately by a physician.

The most serious side effect or adverse reaction concerning the use of Methadone is an overdose. Various factors can determine the specific effects of a Methadone overdose including whether it was combined with other drugs or alcohol. When an individual takes too high of a dose of Methadone they could experience an overdose which could include symptoms such as slow breathing, low blood pressure and a slow heart rate, limp muscles, extreme drowsiness, cardiac arrest or in many instances, death.

The only sure way to avoid a Methadone overdose is to stop taking the drug.  Seeking drug treatment at a rehab center with a high rate of success in treating opiate addiction is the first step to being free from an addiction to Methadone, the second step is committing to that program without delay.

Methadone Facts

  • Those who supplement their methadone with other opiate drugs and/ or alcohol find that their bills pile up even faster. Struggling to keep up becomes the main focus of every day. Choosing methadone addiction treatment means you can turn your focus elsewhere.
  • Tablet and injectable forms of methadone are obtained and used illegally.
  • Methadone is available either as a ready–to–drink solution or as a concentrate, which must be mixed first with water or fruit juice. Methadone also is available as a liquid that is administered via injection.
  • Methadone addiction is a serious problem. In blind trials, users who were given both drugs orally were unable to distinguish between the effects of heroin and Methadone.
  • Methadone has now been used to stabilize people with narcotic addictions, but it is not usually the final medication used to help them get completely clean and sober. Methadone addiction has become a problem of its own.
  • Methadone's effect is usually to give a feeling of warmth, relaxation and detachment. Methadone effects are known for relieving feelings of anxiety.
  • Those who want to end their methadone addiction need support as they continue along the road to recovery. A drug rehab program in an inpatient drug rehab center that lasts at least 90 days has the best success rate for this type of drug addiction. This methadone treatment approach helps the addict to develop new ways of dealing with life stresses and the circumstances that may trigger a desire to use again.
  • Methadone is only effective as a treatment for opiate addictions. It does not help with addictions to other drugs such as meth or cocaine.
  • There is much controversy surrounding the use of Methadone for the treatment of opiate addicts, a practice which is prevalent since the early 1960s.
  • Many women don't have periods when they use opiates such as Methadone regularly. If they cut down, or stop, the periods may return.
  • In blind trials, users who were given both drugs orally were unable to distinguish between the effects heroin and methadone. An added problem for those using methadone to recover from heroin addiction is withdrawal. Withdrawal from heroin should be over after seven to ten days. Withdrawal from methadone though, can take up to a month or even longer.
  • The effects of methadone last longer than those of morphine–based drugs. Methadone's effects can last up to 24 hours, thereby permitting administration only once a day in heroin detoxification and maintenance programs.
  • Why do people develop a methadone addiction? People who use methadone experience similar effects as if they were using other opiates, albeit not to the same extent.