Methadone (an Overview of Abuse, Addiction, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment)

Methadone is an opioid medication often used to treat opioid addiction. Unfortunately, many people misuse the drug itself, which can still cause a euphoric high and other dangerous side effects. If you have been misusing your methadone medication, call 800-654-0987 now to find a rehab program that will allow you to safely recover in the way that is best for your needs.

Understanding Methadone Abuse

According to the National Library of Medicine, “In the United States, the most commonly abused opioids are heroin and methadone.” The latter is often abused as a heroin substitute or by those who are taking it as a treatment medication. However, this misuse can lead just as easily to addiction and overdose as well as the other dangers associated with opioid abuse.

As stated by the National Institute of Justice, methadone can only be received from a treatment program specifically licensed to dispense the drug. But it is often rerouted to the black market or synthesized in a lab. Those who abuse the drug experience many of the same severe side effects of other types of opioid abuse, and safe, effective treatment is extremely necessary.

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Signs and Symptoms of Methadone Abuse

Methadone

Pupil contraction is a potential side effect of methadone abuse.

The symptoms of methadone use are similar to those caused by other opioid drugs. Drowsiness is common as well as confusion, and according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, other issues can ensue, such as:

  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Pupil contraction
  • Severe sweating
  • Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction

Those who abuse the drug can experience severe effects such as depression, respiratory depression, and death. Large doses of methadone can still lead to overdose, which is one reason why its use is so heavily regulated.

Methadone Addiction

Methadone is especially physically addictive, especially when patients misuse it. Many individuals start taking the drug in order to treat withdrawal symptoms and become stabilized during recovery, but if an individual does abuse the drug, it is very dangerous. It is easy to become addicted to methadone, especially because the drug is highly available and, while regulated, can be found easily for illicit use.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, “The Drug Abuse Warning Network reports that methadone was involved in 10,725 emergency department visits in 2001.” These numbers have, sadly, worsened since then. The drug itself can cause severe effects if abused, the respiratory depression and deadly overdose effects chief among them, but those who become addicted will not be able or often willing to stop even in the face of these severe issues. Without the proper treatment, it can be very hard for someone to stop misusing methadone.

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Understanding Methadone Treatment Guidelines

Methadone Addiction Treatment

Because many methadone abusers are people who started taking the drug as a treatment for opioid addiction, it is important to take this into account when continuing recovery. Patients may need to be placed in an inpatient program if they were in outpatient care while they were abusing the drug. This can help them avoid the issue of temptation while trying to overcome their addiction.

Methadone may still need to be used as a maintenance drug, especially if the individual has a severe dependence on opioids. This can be useful in certain cases, but how much a patient needs depends on their specific situation and their doctor’s approval. In addition, behavioral therapies can be used to help attack the source of one’s addiction, allowing them to understand why they began abusing opioids in the first place, how this abuse has affected their life, and how they can avoid further relapse by recognizing triggers and learning to cope with stress and cravings.

Methadone addiction treatment must also cover any co-occurring issues associated with the addiction, including chronic pain or mood disorders. Most rehab programs can treat these simultaneously with addiction or, if not, can refer patients to a place where these issues can be treated.

Seek Treatment Today

Methadone can be helpful in treating opioid addiction, but when the drug is misused, it causes its own dangerous effects. Therefore, it is important to seek help if your methadone use has gone beyond your control. Call 800-654-0987 now to find the right rehab program for your needs.

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