Type of addiction

Methadone Addiction

Methadone Addiction Treatment

Methadone AddictionRecovery from methadone addiction is possible. For individuals who are prepared to overcome their methadone addiction, we offer a personal approach to treatment that is based on proven methodologies. We give our clients the tools needed to build a strong recovery by promoting personal responsibility and accountability. We are personally invested in our clients’ recovery process, and putting people first has always been the bedrock of our treatment philosophy. Reach out today, and find out how GateHouse can help.

What is Methadone Addiction

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid pain medication typically used to help those addicted to other opioids such as heroin. It is also used as a painkiller for moderate to severe long-term pain treatment. Since methadone is still an opioid, there is still a high rate of methadone addiction and abuse. Methadone stays in the bloodstream for 1-2 days. Therefore, tolerance is quickly built up to the drug. Many become dependent on methadone because it acts essentially as a replacement in the body. There are many treatment options for methadone detox and methadone addiction treatment.

History of Methadone

With the escalating drug use in the 1960s and 1970s and U.S soldiers returning from Vietnam with heroin addictions, America finally realized that opiate abuse was a medical issue that required treatment. Methadone’s effectiveness as a treatment for opiate addiction was the answer to the heroin epidemic of that time. In 1971 Richard Nixon implemented the first federal program for methadone treatment and the methadone treatment program was being used by 25,000 opiate addicts. In 1973 controversy over the methadone program led to stricter government regulations.

Today about 500,000 people participate in methadone maintenance treatment programs, but it remains a controversial topic. Those who advocate for harm reduction for heroin and opioid addicts point out the impressive track record and how many people have improved their lives. Those who support abstinence-based treatment for opiate addiction still hold to the belief that it is just switching addictions.

Physiology and Side Effects of Methadone Addiction and Abuse

Being as methadone is an opioid, it reacts to the opioid receptors in the brain, although compared to other opioids and opiates such as heroin, it only produces a mild euphoria. It increases the amount of dopamine and endorphins in the brain that is naturally produced to offer pain relief and calm. When someone is dependent on other narcotics, methadone can significantly reduce cravings for other opiates. When methadone is abused and taken with no prescription or more than is prescribed it amplifies the effects to the point of it being detrimental to the user. When someone abuses methadone, it can have adverse side effects and can become highly addictive.

With a repeated dosage of methadone, a tolerance is developed, and users require more to achieve the same pain relief or high from methadone. Common side effects of methadone abuse are:
• Dry mouth
• Lack of coordination
• Depressed respiratory function
• Constipation
• Drowsiness
• Depressed heart rate
• Pinned pupils
• Overdose

Understanding Methadone Abuse and Methadone Addiction

When methadone is taken for extended amounts of time it causes the users’ mind and body to become dependent on the effects it produces on the user. This can result in addiction. Many of the people who fail with MMT programs end up resorting back to other narcotics and illicit drugs such as heroin which they were trying to get treatment for in the first place. When methadone is stopped it can cause cravings and painful withdrawal. This leads back to the dangerous cycle of use. If you or a loved one is seeking methadone addiction treatment there are many options to choose from. The best place to start is a methadone detox program. At GateHouse we offer a medical detox program to help get clients out of the vicious cycle of opiate abuse.

Quick Facts

  • Methadone is involved in 1/3 of opiate pain reliever-related deaths
  • It is a Schedule II drug
  • When abused or combined with other drugs it can cause overdose and death
  • Has a 22-hour half-life (the time a drug stays in the body before its concentration drops by half)
  • A minimum of one year in a methadone maintenance treatment program is recommended
  • In 2005, more than 4000 fatally overdosed on methadone or methadone and combinations of other drugs together
  • Prescribed in a pill form and in liquid form
  • Methadone abuse can present similar if not the same side effects as other opioids
  • Facility administering it must be certified by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to prescribe methadone.

Signs of Abuse

Abuse of methadone has very similar side effects to that of every other opioid and opiate that is abused. Since it can also be a prescribed medication there are some side effects that are limited to that of prescription drug abuse.  Here are common side effects and symptoms of methadone abuse: 

MOOD

Euphoric mood, mood swings, lowered motivation, irritability, forgetfulness, change in patterns, increased sleeping, lowered inhibitions, aloofness, improved self-esteem

BEHAVIORAL

Hoarding of medications, going to multiple doctors for the same medication, nodding off at inappropriate times, miscellaneous pills being hidden, purchasing prescription methadone on the street, drug-seeking behaviors, crushing or breaking pills, wearing long sleeves in warm weather (to hide track marks), changes in eating habits, changes in sleep patterns

PHYSICAL

Constricted pupils, constipation, slowed breathing, flushed skin, oversleeping, fatigue, tolerance to normal dosage, unexplained itchiness, lack of coordination, bruises, track marks