How Addictive Is Methadone?
Taking methadone is a great first step in your addiction recovery process. If you’ve even begun to consider this step, congratulations for moving closer to sobriety.
However, when researching methadone, you might begin to become worried about its addictive tendencies. Getting hooked on another drug is exactly what you don’t need.
Just how addictive is methadone? Is it something you need to worry about as you begin your recovery?
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic narcotic analgesic that works by stimulating the opioid receptors in your brain.
These receptors are typically involved in pain and reward, so by having them stimulated, it reduces pain and produces a sense of euphoria.
However, because methadone in particular has such a long half-life and has a mild onset, its euphoric effects are not nearly as severe as other opiates. In fact, this means it also prevents you from feeling the effects of other opiates as well as lessens your withdrawal symptoms from these opiates.
Unfortunately, because methadone shares so many qualities of other opiates, this means that it is classified as a Schedule II drug. According to the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and might also cause a physical or psychological dependence.
Being Dependent on Methadone
Whether you’re taking methadone illegally or as part of a supervised treatment program, you’ll eventually become dependent on it.
Your brain’s opioid receptors will get so used to being constantly stimulated, that when you try to stop taking methadone, you’ll experience extreme withdrawal symptoms.
This is your body struggling to readjust to normalcy.
However, in the case of methadone maintenance treatment, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Having a dependence on methadone is not nearly as dangerous or toxic as having a dependence on heroin or other harmful drugs.
Because of its unique pharmacological actions, methadone can actually reverse the detrimental effects on the immune and neuroendocrine systems that were caused by heroin.
Still confused on how methadone dependency works? No worries, because we can help explain it over the phone! Just call us at 800-891-9360 to talk with us now.
How Methadone Is Abused
If you’re worried about abusing methadone prescribed to you for addiction treatment, don’t be. A study that looked at methadone-related deaths in the United States and Australia found that the majority of these were related to prescriptions for pain treatment rather than prescriptions for addiction treatment.
This is probably because of the intense regulations governing methadone maintenance treatment. You must go to the clinic every day, where you will be given a supervised dose of methadone. A medical professional will observe you for an extended period of time to make sure you don’t divert the dose and that you tolerate it well.
With this kind of method, it becomes nearly impossible to abuse methadone in a treatment setting.
Instead, methadone is being abused by people other than recovering addicts. In fact, statistics show that nearly one percent of senior high school students had tried methadone before.
Warning Signs of Methadone Addiction
If you are addicted to methadone, it will be pretty easy to determine thanks to the uncomfortable side effects.
These side effects will begin to appear about 24 hours after your last dose of the drug. Because your body is craving more, you will feel several strong symptoms. These include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach and muscle aches
- Tremors, chills, and sweating
- Loss of appetite and problems sleeping
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms during your methadone treatment, it’s important to talk with your doctor. He or she might be able to find a solution to make your recovery more comfortable.