Understanding Methadone’s Addictive Properties
Methadone is a synthetic opioid medication commonly used to treat chronic pain, and dangerous addictions to drugs such as morphine, heroin, and codeine. However, because methadone is an opioid itself, some recovering addicts find themselves replacing their former addictions with methadone addiction during treatment.
If you’re a recovering addict, the key to overcoming opiate dependency is to fully understand methadone’s addictive properties, as well as signs and symptoms that could indicate addiction.
If you’re facing opiate addiction and have questions about how methadone can help, call our toll-free hotline at 800-530-0431 to speak with a trusted advisor about your treatment options. Our hotline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for your convenience.
Here’s what you need to understand about methadone, and its potentially addictive properties. The more you know about how methadone works, the more you can avoid developing an addiction to this medication during recovery.
How Methadone Works
The active ingredients in methadone work on parts of your brain and spinal cord to block the euphoric highs triggered by other opiates, such as heroin. Methadone also helps reduce the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms caused by other opiates.
When methadone is taken properly as prescribed, patients benefit from lessened opiate withdrawal symptoms and a decreased risk of relapse, which allows them to work on rebuilding healthy lifestyles without being distracted or affected by intense cravings.
At the time patients are no longer addicted to other dangerous opiates, they can work with their physicians on reducing their methadone dose until they’re no longer taking the medication.
The Importance of Gradually Reducing Methadone Intake
Considering methadone is an opioid, stopping methadone abruptly can cause you to experience several uncomfortable and adverse side effects. These symptoms may include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, nausea, vomiting, intense stomach cramps, sweating, muscle pain, and diarrhea. Certain symptoms can be more intense, depending on the individual.
However, reducing your methadone intake gradually over time can help prevent or reduce these symptoms significantly — improving your outcome for recovery. This method, commonly known as tapering, allows your body to adapt to reductions in dosage without the intense side effects and discomfort often associated with stopping cold turkey.
Signs of Methadone Addiction
If you’re addicted to methadone, you might feel anxious or worried about the idea of stopping this medication. You might also find yourself saving or setting aside small doses of methadone to take later on in large doses with hopes of getting high from the medication.
Other signs of addiction to methadone include:
- Combining methadone with other drugs or medications.
- Visiting multiple physicians to obtain extra prescriptions for methadone.
- Obtaining methadone from unauthorized third parties such as friends, family, or other sources.
- Taking methadone using other methods, such as through snorting or injection.
- Prioritizing methadone over other important personal and financial responsibilities.
If you suspect you might be addicted to methadone, understand that it’s okay to seek help and support from a trusted healthcare professional. Your counselor, physician, or methadone center has thorough understanding about the addictive properties of methadone, and can help you overcome dependency.
After your body is completely clear of methadone, you can move on to the next stage of recovery, which may include group or individual therapy, and education on drug abuse and how to prevent relapse. Your healthcare provider or methadone center will guide you through overcoming opiate addiction so you can benefit from a healthier, drug-free life.
Are you addicted to heroin or another opiate, and want to learn more about methadone treatment and methadone’s addictive properties? Call our toll-free hotline at 800-530-0431 to speak with an experienced counselor who can provide you with resources and information about treatment and recovery.
Your privacy and confidentiality is guaranteed, and no commitment is required. We’re here to help you overcome addiction, and to educate you on how methadone can help.