Information About Methadone Addiction

Methadone is a synthetic opioid which is used medically to manage chronic paid and to aid opioid addiction withdrawals. Methadone does not resemble morphine or heroin chemically but does act on the opioid receptors to produce many of the same effects. Methadone Maintenance Treatment is an opiate replacement therapy used to reduce and/or eliminate opiate use. The main participants are those suffering from heroin addiction hoping to ease their addiction symptoms. The principal goal of methadone maintenance is to aleve narcotic cravings, suppress withdrawal symptoms, and block the euphoric effects associated with opiates. Methadone blocks the euphoric effects of heroin, morphine, and similar drugs helping patients reduce or stop altogether their use of these substances. When methadone is injected, it does not produce the “rush” associated with opioids such as morphine due to its high distribution volume. Methadone diffuses into other tissues in the body, particularly fatty tissues.

Methadone is available in a traditional pill, a dissolvable tablet, and two formulas the patient can drink. The most common administration route is the liquid form for it allows small dosage changes. Regardless of whether injected or ingested, the reaction is produced about the same time.

Addiction

Albeit methadone is used to help overcome withdrawal symptoms, it is still a powerful drug. Some adverse effects:

  • Hypoventilation
  • Constipation
  • Increased sweating
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Stomach pain
  • Itching
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin rashes
  • Seizures

Those undergoing methadone maintenance trying to overcome their substance addiction can in fact become addicted to methadone. As with other opioid medications, a tolerance and dependency can develop with repeated usage. Also, due to the population seeking this treatment, a tendency to abuse these medications leads to methadone abuse. In some cases methadone addiction ensues. Methadone withdrawal symptoms have been shown to be twice as severe as kicking morphine or heroin, as well as lasting significantly longer. The withdrawal symptoms last for a minimum amount of time for several weeks. For example, taking 100 mg consistently for a year can take 18-24 months to detox safely.

Substance Abuse Treatment

Methadone clinics are usually associated with outpatient units in hospitals. Inpatient addiction treatment centers attend to all aspects of the individual. Depending on one’s history of abuse, a physiological dependence may have developing. For these patients, medical detox may be necessary. Inpatient addiction treatment facilities medically manage the detoxification process as well as keep close supervision. Depending on the facility, methadone may be used in the detoxification process. Some choose not to due to the addictive nature of the patients. These patients are prone to abuse their medications leading to methadone addiction in some cases. With close supervision, this can hopefully be avoided since kicking is hard enough, another addiction can be devastating to a newly sober individual.