Methadone is best known as a drug that eases symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Ironically, this prescription medication may lead to dependence, which can also cause a variety of harmful side effects and potentially result in withdrawal. So how does a drug that is supposed to curb substance abuse cravings also have the possibility of causing them? Read on to learn more.
What Is Methadone?
The prescription drug Methadone is available in both generic and brand-name versions. The brand-name form of Methadone is called Methadose. Both the generic and brand-name versions typically come in a tablet form that can be taken orally. Methadone may also be available as a solution or by injection by a trained healthcare professional. The medication works by attaching to your brain’s pain receptors and reducing how much pain you feel.
This drug, both used during withdrawal and to manage moderate to severe pain when other opioid prescriptions don’t work efficiently, is what is known as a controlled substance. All controlled substances come with the risks of misuse & dependence.
Reasons Someone May Use Methadone
Rehabilitation centers and hospitals may use Methadone as part of detox treatment or maintenance treatment for individuals suffering from an addiction to opioids. In other cases, this drug is prescribed for individuals experiencing pain who haven’t seen success from other medications. While methadone is known for reducing pain and easing symptoms that come with detox, it could eventually cause side effects of its own.
What Are Symptoms of Someone on Methadone?
Symptoms of Methadone use vary depending on how often a person uses the drug, how high of a dosage they take, their age, their weight, genetics, and other individual factors. However, there are general symptoms that may follow use.
Common side effects of Methadone include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Stomach pain
- Little reaction to light
- Labored breathing
- Blurred vision
- Decreased reaction time
- Droopy eyelids
- Dry mouth
- Addiction & withdrawal
Withdrawal From Methadone
If someone misuses Methadone or takes it for an extended period of time, they may experience withdrawal after quitting or stopping. This is because the drug is highly addictive and can cause dependence if misused. Some symptoms of Methadone withdrawal may include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Fast breathing or heart rate
- Dilated pupils & teary eyes
- Diarrhea & stomach cramps
- Chills and sweating
- Muscle aches
- Tremors & twitching
It’s best to stop Methadone use before withdrawal is a serious risk. The key to quitting Methadone successfully, besides tapering off the medication, is identifying when you are misusing it and bringing any concerns up with your doctor as soon as possible. There are many alternatives to Methadone that may be considered.
Signs That Someone Is Abusing Methadone
Someone who is abusing Methadone may display the following behaviors or patterns:
- Taking more than their prescribed dosage
- Taking the drug regularly, even if it isn’t needed
- Ignoring regular duties to use Methadone
- Continuing to use the drug despite negative outcomes
- Issues with work, family, or other relationships
- Lying about using the drug or taking it secretly
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the issues above, it’s important to contact a doctor or substance abuse specialist as soon as possible to avoid any long-term health risks.
Some long-term risks of Methadone abuse or addiction may include respiratory failure, low blood pressure, seizures, overdose, and collapsed veins (if injected).
Methadone Addiction Treatment
While Methadone addiction is a possibility, recovery is also very likely. Those who develop a dependence to Methadone or another prescription drug can create a treatment plan that’s right for them with help from a team of substance abuse and mental health professionals. To learn more about Methadone abuse and treatment, give our rehabilitation specialists a call today.