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Methadone Addiction and Treatment

Methadone is a synthetic opioid medication that treats moderate to severe pain or opioid addiction, particularly heroin addiction.

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Methadone Addiction and Treatment

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How to deal with Methadone dependency

Methadone is a synthetic opioid medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is also often used to treat opioid addiction, particularly heroin addiction.

Although methadone is typically used to help people stop craving other opioids, it is itself an addictive medication.

Methadone stabilizes patients and reduces withdrawal symptoms in the case of addiction by acting on the same opioid receptors as morphine and heroin.

Methadone is classified as a Schedule II substance by the federal government, which means it has a genuine medical use but a high risk of addiction.
This also implies that using methadone to get high is prohibited, and that overuse can result in severe mental and physical dependence. Hydrocodone and morphine are two other Schedule II medicines.

Methadone Misuse

Methadone is a highly regulated medicine that is used to treat addiction and reduce cravings. It is so tightly controlled that patients who are prescribed methadone in an outpatient setting must visit a clinic every day to receive their medication. 

It is a potent opiate with the potential to be addictive. Because they have a history of opioid dependency, people who use methadone to overcome heroin addiction are at a higher risk of abuse.
In fact, some addicts prefer methadone to other substances.
Abusing methadone occurs when someone takes more than their prescribed dose or takes it without a prescription.
Methadone does not have the same euphoric effects as heroin or morphine since it is developed to suppress the pleasurable sensations experienced by other opiates.
If someone being treated with methadone tries to get high by using heroin, the methadone will stop the heroin from producing its euphoric effects.

Methadone, on the other hand, has euphoric properties. They may be limited, but they are significant enough that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared Methadone users “unfit to drive” because of the drug’s effects.

Some of the side-effects of methadone include:
  • Sedation
  • Decreased reaction time
  • Euphoria
  • Decreased attention span
  • Tiredness
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Little-to-no reaction to light
It is possible to achieve a true high with heavy doses of methadone. The euphoric effects can potentially be amplified by using an intravenous route of administration.

Methadone Abuse Statistics

  • Between 1999 and 2006, the number of poisoning deaths from methadone grew from 790 to 5,420 (due to the drug’s increased use as a pain reliever).


  • 750,000 methadone prescriptions were written for pain treatment in 2008.


  • The number of patients treated for abuse of other opiates (including methadone) grew from 28,235 to 36,265 between 2000 and 2001.


  • Methadone is involved in one-third of all overdose deaths caused by opioid painkillers.

Methadone Overdose

Methadone is a strong opioid that can lead to an overdose. An overdose happens when a person consumes too much medication, frequently without a prescription or in excess of medical recommendations.
Because an overdose is a severe scenario that necessitates medical treatment, it’s critical to understand the warning signs.

Overdosing on methadone can cause the following symptoms:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Discoloration of the nails and the tips of the fingers
  • Dizziness
  • Hypertension
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Depression of the lungs (potentially fatal in extreme cases)
  • Addiction
Methadone addiction is a taboo subject in the medical world since many consider the drug as a crucial tool in helping heroin users recover.
However, addiction is an all-too-common side effect of any opiate. Methadone addiction can develop as a result of the drug’s ability to relieve pain. As tolerance develops, more of the medication is required to get the same effect.

Methadone Contraindications

Methadone is a depressant of the central nervous system (CNS), and it has a greater risk of undesirable side effects when coupled with other depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines

Some persons who are addicted to methadone are also alcoholics. The two substances combine to create dangerously low blood pressure and respiratory depression, making this a potentially lethal combination.
Methadone should never be combined with any other substance, including several herbal medicines (especially St. John’s Wort).

Getting Help for Methadone Addiction

Methadone addiction, like any other opioid addiction, is extremely difficult to overcome. Despite the fact that methadone isn’t as addictive as heroin, quitting it can cause withdrawal symptoms that are difficult to overcome on your own.
Fortunately, help is available for you to detox and overcome withdrawal symptoms, and finally conquer your addiction.
If you or someone you know is addicted to methadone or another drug, contact one of our treatment navigators today.

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