Methadone – Purpose, Abuse, Withdrawal, and Treatment Options

Methadone - Purpose, Abuse, Withdrawal, and Treatment Options
Methadone is an FDA-approved medication used to reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings for people in recovery from opioid addiction. Though methadone is a treatment drug, the substance is still an opioid and carries a high risk for abuse and dependence. Methadone addiction carries many of the same risks as opioid addiction — including the risk for an overdose. Knowing the signs of methadone abuse can help you find out whether you or your loved one needs professional drug rehab treatment to achieve long-term abstinence from methadone.

Here are common signs of methadone abuse, along with information about how you can safely overcome methadone dependence and addiction.

What Are Signs of Methadone Abuse and Addiction?

Methadone abuse is a form of prescription drug abuse, which is defined as using medicines in ways that are different from how the doctor prescribed. A person abusing methadone will use medicines prescribed for someone else, take larger doses than directed, use the drug for non-medical reasons, or take the medicine by crushing, snorting, or injecting it.

Other signs of methadone abuse include:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Constricted pupils.
  • Fatigue.
  • Constipation.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Confusion.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Problems with memory and concentration.

Many who become dependent on methadone eventually become addicted to this drug and go on to suffer from serious problems that affect their health and overall livelihood.

Common signs of methadone addiction include:

  • The inability to control or reduce methadone use, despite attempts to do so.
  • Using methadone in higher amounts over time, or for longer than intended.
  • Loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities due to increased methadone use.
  • Continued methadone use despite negative consequences that arise from use.
  • The onset or worsening of mental illness with continued methadone use.
  • Neglecting important obligations like work, school, and family to use methadone.

Methadone addiction can put you at high risk for a methadone overdose, which can happen if you use more than the recommended amount of medicine or use methadone with painkillers, such as morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone.

What Are the Side Effects of Methadone?

When used as directed to treat opioid dependence at a drug or alcohol detox center, methadone helps reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. However, methadone may cause other side effects, including the following:

  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore tongue
  • Weight gain
  • Flushing
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Mood swings
  • Vision impairment
  • Sleep disturbances

Some methadone side effects are serious and require immediate medical help. Contact your doctor or get emergency medical help if methadone causes any of the following side effects:

  • Allergic reactions (itching, rash, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat)
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Severe muscle stiffness or twitching
  • Loss of coordination
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness or weakness

What Are Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms?

Discontinuing methadone use abruptly can cause a range of mild to severe withdrawal symptoms that begin anywhere from 12 to 48 hours after the last dose. Many drug detox centers use a tapering method to gradually help patients come off methadone without experiencing severe symptoms.

Methadone withdrawal symptoms include nausea and vomiting, tearing eyes, a runny nose, diarrhea and abdominal cramping, chills, and muscle and joint pain. Other common symptoms include the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessing yawning
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

How Can I Overcome Methadone Addiction?

Methadone addiction can be safely and effectively treated at a drug or alcohol rehab center like Dana Point Rehab Campus that offers medical detox and medication management, along with evidence-based therapies that address the root causes of addiction. When researching your treatment options, choose a rehab center that individualizes its therapies so you or your loved one can experience a safe, successful recovery from methadone addiction.

Dana Point Rehab Campus uses a comprehensive and holistic approach to treatment that can help you overcome addiction as a whole for long-term abstinence. If you need help recovering from methadone addiction, contact us today to learn more about your available treatment options.

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