What Is Methadone?
Methadone is an opioid narcotic most commonly used to treat substance abuse, such as heroin. It was first developed in the 1930s when scientists searched for a pain reliever that would not be as addictive as morphine. Though methadone acts similarly to morphine and other prescription opioids, the slow onset of the drug means the person taking it doesn’t get the rush effect.
Without the euphoric “high” which usually fosters addiction, many people can successfully use methadone in addiction recovery. Methadone is available in oral forms such as liquid, powder, or tablet. Prescribed dosage varies according to several factors, such as weight, height, and degree of tolerance—those taking methadone for treatment tend to have some level of tolerance to opioids. Unfortunately, though methadone can be used to help people overcome addiction, it can also be abused for recreational purposes.
How Is Methadone Abused?
Those abusing methadone tend to get their supply from people who are enrolled in a treatment program that uses methadone, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR). Methadone is most often abused by injection. Taking it orally as prescribed ensures a gradual release of effects; injecting forces a quicker onset.
As with most prescription opioids, forcing a quicker release can have harmful side effects. In addition, injecting drugs can present a risk of infection or contracting a host of diseases, such as HIV.
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What Are The Physical Side Effects Of Methadone?
Short-term side effects vary, but may include:
- Disruption of menstrual periods
- Feeling weak
- Increased sweating
- An itchy feeling of the skin
- Lights appearing too bright
- Pupil contraction (“pinpoint” pupil)
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Sense of well-being (euphoria)
- The trouble with sexual ability, arousal, drive, or performance
- Vision changes: blurred, loss, difficulty identifying a color, seeing double, tunnel vision
- Weight changes
- In extreme cases, death
Side effects can range from moderate to severe, depending on a person’s degree of abuse. Changing the amount of dosage or the method of administration can enhance the extent of some side effects.
What Are The Psychological Effects Of Methadone?
Methadone does not produce the same euphoric rush as other opioids, like heroin, but it can still have negative psychological (mental and emotional) effects. Again, side effects vary from person to person and range from moderate to severe. These include:
- Suicidal thoughts
What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Methadone?
In time, abuse of methadone can lead to addiction. Addiction can impact a person’s body, mind, social, and environmental situations. In addition to the physical and psychological effects, addiction can result in a tolerance to the effects of it.
When a person develops tolerance, he or she no longer feels the effects of a substance. To continue to get the same effects from methadone, the dosage would have to be increased. Addiction can also result in physical dependence.
When a person becomes addicted, the body becomes used to the effects of the drug. If a person stops taking it or no longer has access to it, withdrawal can occur. Withdrawal symptoms can be quite harsh and can cause the person suffering to avoid quitting use for this reason.
Before your loved one undergoes withdrawal or begins to seek other methods of abuse due to tolerance, help get him or her into treatment. The treatment provides the best chance for recovery success, and we at Vertava Health can help you get there.
Recovering From Methadone Abuse
Methadone is not only a pain reliever, but it is also used in the treatment of other abused substances. Because of this, it can be the addiction a person never sees coming. But addiction to methadone is very real, and the effects can be long-lasting.
Methadone addiction treatment has reached a great level of effectiveness in recent decades. Rehab centers offer varied methods of therapy and care, but the following are some of the most effective:
- Counseling (including individual, family, and group)
- Gender-based treatment
- Medication-assisted therapy
- Therapy (adventure, behavioral, holistic, and wilderness)
Why Choose Inpatient Addiction Rehab?
What is the inpatient rehab center difference? Addiction rehab offers a key difference that can be missing when people attempt recovery on their own: support. Inpatient rehab centers allow addicted individuals to be removed from their usual environments, to focus on healing, and to be surrounded with positive influences.
At rehab centers, participants may receive:
- Medical assistance (when needed)
- Assistance in therapy and counseling
- Medical and psychological evaluations
- Help with diet and nutrition
- 12-step program
- Daily care and emotional support
- Education and substance abuse awareness training
Get Help For Methadone Abuse
Methadone can be quite useful in helping people step away from the harsh effects of opioid addiction. But when a person develops an addiction when treating another, it can seem like an endless cycle where addiction always wins. That does not have to be the case for you or your loved one. If you are struggling, or know someone who is and wants to help, don’t hesitate.
Contact us today at Vertava Health to learn more about treatment options and the inpatient rehab center difference. Give us a call at 615-208-2941