Methadone addiction

Perhaps you have been prescribed methadone as part of a treatment plan or for serious pain and are noticing you are craving the drug more than usual. If this is the case, you may be addicted to methadone and require professional help. Methadone addiction is a serious condition which can affect every part of your life including your health, relationships and well-being. If you or a loved one is suffering from methadone addiction, know that you are not alone and that Linwood House can help you transform your life.

Methadone addiction - bottle of methadone

What is methadone?

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is prescribed to help treat chronic pain or as a substitute drug used during opiate drugs and heroin withdrawal (known as replacement therapy or maintenance therapy). Methadone works much like other opioid medications by changing how the central nervous system and brain respond to pain in order for the body to experience relief.

When used for the treatment of drug addiction, methadone works at a slower rate compared to other opioids, such as morphine, and prohibits the euphoric effects felt from these opiates while helping to decrease the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone abuse and addiction

Despite methadone being used to help people overcome addiction, it is still an addictive substance in itself. Similar to all opioids, prolonged methadone use will result in you developing a tolerance to the drug. This means that you will have to take more to feel the same effects.

As tolerance grows, so does your physical dependence on methadone, so if you stop taking the drug, you will experience an array of adverse withdrawal symptoms that could cause you to go back to abusing methadone.

Signs and symptoms of methadone abuse and addiction

If you believe you or someone you love is struggling with methadone abuse, then there are a range of signs and symptoms of methadone addiction to look out for including:

  • Physical symptoms – changes in your physical and bodily health, such as nausea or vomiting.
  • Mental symptoms – those that affect your mental health, such as co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression or the experience of hallucinations.
  • Cognitive symptoms – those that affect your ability to think.
  • Behavioural symptoms – Changes in how you act and how you interact with those around you.

If you are taking small doses of the medication, you are most likely able to function normally and engage in your day-to-day activities. However, if you are taking more of the substance than prescribed, it’s likely your movements will become slow, and you will be unable to do things you once did, such as driving.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of methadone abuse include:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Clammy skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Methadone cravings

Methadone addiction - muscle pain

The effects of methadone addiction

If methadone is used as prescribed, there are generally few long-term effects of the substance. However, prolonged opioid abuse can cause problems within the brain by reducing the effects that opioid receptors have so you may find that you are more receptive to pain than before.

Prolonged methadone abuse can also cause changes in the brain in areas that are associated with memory and learning, specifically affecting your ability to learn through pleasure and positive conditioning.

Methadone addiction help at Linwood House

Recognising that there is a problem is your first step to recovery from methadone. Once you admit that you need help, you will be able to focus your time and energy on healing and recovering from methadone. If you are feeling stuck with how to move forward, contact Linwood House today to see how we can help and support you.

We provide comprehensive methadone detox and rehab treatment that can help you break your physical and psychological dependence and overcome withdrawal symptoms. We will help you to identify and address the reasons for your methadone addiction and take the necessary steps to overcome it once and for all.

Contact Linwood House today to find out how we can help you begin the journey to recovery.

Frequently asked questions

Can I risk overdosing on methadone?
A major risk that can lead to methadone overdose is the drug’s half-life. You may think that the drug is out of your system, so you continue to take more, but the previous dose may still be present in your system. This, in turn, can lead to an overdose. It may take up to ten hours before the methadone overdose symptoms begin with signs that include blue skin, body spasms, weak pulse or loss of consciousness. If you notice any of these methadone overdose signs, seek medical help immediately.
Can I become addicted to methadone during replacement therapy?
Replacement therapy, or maintenance therapy, can involve the use of methadone to help someone with an opioid addiction, usually to heroin. These carefully controlled doses help prevent a person from developing a physical dependence on methadone while breaking their opioid addiction. However, methadone can still produce a high and there is still a risk of methadone addiction if abused.
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