If you are addicted to methadone, you may find it difficult to talk about your drug problem. After all, recovering heroin and prescription drug addicts often use methadone. While this drug is an effective treatment option, it is only available through specialized treatment clinics.1
However, there is another group of methadone addicts. The people in this group develop methadone addictions without the advice of a medical professional. In some cases, psychological and physical dependence can develop from methadone use.2
For Methadone Addiction Treatment
Methadone has been used as a form of addiction treatment for decades. Even today, the drug is still considered quite effective. Methadone therapies can help recovering addicts participate in their communities and feel better about themselves. While there are many medications available to treat addiction, doctors often reach for methadone because they know it works.
Drug abuse changes the chemical levels in a user’s brain. As the drugs enter the body, they attach to opiate receptors located in the brain and intestinal system. Soon, the body becomes accustomed to large amounts of drugs in the system. Eventually, opiate receptors become less responsive. When drug use stops, the receptors are so weak that they can’t pick up the natural chemicals in the body. The person begins to feel incredibly sick, and the cravings for the drug may be intense. Methadone can help opiate receptors normalize the functions of the body which brings the person immense relief.
The common initial dose of methadone is 30 to 40 mg of the drug daily when in a methadone program for addiction.3 However, it is possible that some patients may take higher doses. Often, doctors start patients at low doses of methadone and slowly increase the dosage until withdrawal symptoms go away. At this point, the patient is considered stable. In many cases, people must go to specialized clinics to get methadone.
Pain Relief and Methadone
People with severe forms of pain that don’t respond to treatments may also develop a methadone addiction. When the drug attaches to the opiate receptors in the brain, tiny chemicals are released that help the body feel soothed and relaxed. Often, this allows people with severe pain to sleep or forget about their pain, and this relief can last for hours at a stretch. For people with cancer, for example, this could be a significant relief.
Over time, however, the person may find that he or she needs larger and larger doses of methadone to feel the same level of pain relief. Once again, the body is adjusting its response to the medication and trying to stay balanced. This is called tolerance, and it’s not the same as methadone addiction. It’s a natural process related to taking these medications.
Some people who use methadone for pain relief are given the drug in pill form or injectable form, and they’re allowed to take the drug outside a doctor’s office. Sometimes, other people grab the drug to abuse it. In some cases, small children have been impacted. Methadone is sometimes dissolved in juice, and small children mistakenly drink the laced juice and overdose. This is a real problem with methadone addiction: People might take the drug accidentally or with intent unless the user takes care to lock the drugs up.
Methadone and Recreational Use
Some people may take methadone without a prescription, sometimes developing a methadone addiction. They may be tempted to experience the drug on their own, out of a sense of fun and adventure, or they may mistakenly assume that the drug is a synthetic form of heroin that will provide the same sorts of euphoric pleasure heroin provides. Unlike heroin, people with a methadone addiction experience no sense of euphoria. It might make the user feel relaxed, but it doesn’t provide a burst of happiness. And this is true no matter what dosage the person takes. People who use the drug to feel a high may take extremely high doses of the drug in order to feel a rush that is never coming, and they may die as a result of their methadone addiction.
Methadone is a depressant, so it gives the user feelings of relaxation. People with a methadone addiction risk the following health problems:
- Slow breathing
- Extremely low blood pressure
People with methadone addictions may have difficulty when they stop taking the drug. Those withdrawal symptoms that have been lurking in the background may come right up to the front and demand attention. The person may feel cold, clammy, sweaty, rigid, and queasy and the craving for the drug may be intense. The person may go back to their methadone addiction to make the cravings stop.
Spotting Methadone Addiction
People who develop a methadone addiction without a prescription are breaking the law. The person may seem very relaxed or incoherent the majority of the time. The person may become incredibly defensive when asked about his drug use. If you or a loved one is struggling with methadone addiction, please contact Michael’s House today at 760-548-4032. We are here to help. Have your insurance information ready. We can even tell you what forms of treatment are covered. Please reach out now and find out how we can help. We will help you move forward today.
1 “NIH Fact Sheets – Heroin Addiction.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. 10 July 2017.
2 “Methadone.” CESAR: Center for Substance Abuse Research. Web. 10 July 2017.
3 “Methadone Dosage Guide with Precautions.” Drugs.com. Web. 10 July 2017.