Methadone is a substitute drug used to help individuals struggling with opioid, heroin or morphine addiction. Methadone is given to an individual on a daily basis in a measured dose. The idea is it will allow people to discontinue whatever other opiate drugs they are using. Methadone reduces the powerful cravings associated with certain drug addictions, and this allows people to tackle other areas of addiction treatment in better physical shape. Unfortunately, because methadone is chemically similar to heroin and other opioids and affects the body in a similar way, many addicts also end up addicted to it, according to the Centers for Substance Abuse and Research (CESAR).
Recovering from a drug addiction is difficult for individuals, especially since the withdrawal symptoms are often uncomfortable. Treatment is available for addicts, usually through their local hospital or a specialist methadone detox center. The main problem is getting individuals to admit they have a problem and need to seek help. People, especially addicts who receive methadone to help cope with another addiction, will not always admit that they have a problem. If you think you have a problem and would like free confidential advice, please consider calling our helpline on 1-888-287-0471 .
FactoidAlthough methadone is most commonly found in a medical setting, individuals can also become addicted to the drug without having any other addiction history. Just as with most other opioids, methadone is widely available on the street for those who want to use it for recreational purposes.
Signs of Addiction
There are a number of symptoms and signs of addiction to methadone, including:
- Using methadone and alcohol together
- Lying to medical professionals to get a higher dose of methadone
- Using methadone and heroin at the same time
- Taking higher than recommended doses of methadone
While the administration of methadone is usually supervised by an individual’s physician or at a methadone detox center, some individuals are allowed to take their methadone at home. The use of methadone to treat the symptoms of drug withdrawal is controversial among certain sections of the medical community, as some professionals believe it just encourages people to swap one addiction for another. However, individuals who take methadone as prescribed and under the supervision of a professional, are more likely to experience a successful recovery from their drug addiction, according to CESAR.
FactoidMethadone makes people feel warm and relaxed because it drops their heart rate and increases body temperature. This will result in a feeling similar to that experienced after excessive alcohol intake, only to a greater degree.
Withdrawal from methadone can be uncomfortable for an individual, with symptoms including:
- Abdominal pain
Depending on the length and severity of the addiction, some individuals may experience more serious withdrawal symptoms including:
- Loss of muscle strength
- Irregular menstrual periods
Because the symptoms of methadone withdrawal are uncomfortable, many addicts turn back to the drug to alleviate the symptoms. If you feel you have a problem with drugs, please feel free to call our confidential helpline on 1-888-287-0471 .
FactoidMany individuals are under the false impression that methadone is safer to use than heroin. However, methadone is only safe when used to manage drug withdrawal symptoms and under the direction of a professional. In fact, over 50 percent of individuals addicted to methadone are also addicted to another opioid.
Treatment for Methadone Addiction
Individuals addicted to methadone will usually have the option of receiving outpatient treatment — under the supervision of a physician — or as an inpatient in a special methadone detox center or hospital. Withdrawal from methadone is similar to withdrawal from heroin, although it is a much slower process. This is because the side effects experienced from methadone withdrawal are not as harsh as those associated with heroin withdrawal.
While some methadone withdrawal treatment facilities will keep an addict on methadone and just reduce the doses, some are now concentrating on drug-free detoxifications. A methadone detox program will usually involve cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. These therapies help addicts deal with the powerful psychological cravings experienced, which can be harder than the physical side effects of withdrawals. A trained therapist will work with individuals on a one-on-one basis, addressing their addiction and identifying their triggers. This helps addicts understand the things in their home environment that are most likely to make them turn to drugs again.
A therapist will also help individuals learn various coping strategies. This helps addicts feel they can cope with their problems and reduces the chances of them turning to drugs again. Individuals who undergo inpatient treatment in a methadone detox center will receive the same treatment as if they were an outpatient; however, in an inpatient center, the person is supervised by professionals constantly, making it harder for a relapse to occur. According to CESAR, individuals stand a greater chance of a successful recovery from methadone addiction if they undergo supervised treatment.