Methadone: Unmasking its Usage and Addiction Symptoms

Recovery from Methadone addiction is possible. If you or a loved one need help to overcome methadone abuse or misuse, call us today at our 24/7 Addiction Helpline at (888) 446-5952 to learn about our successful methadone detox and recovery program.

Methadone has a long history of use for over 40 years for the safe and effective treatment of opioid addiction and withdrawal, particularly for that heroin. More recently, the drug has been increasingly prescribed for patients for long-lasting pain relief. As methadone pain medication prescriptions increased significantly in 1999, so has the corresponding increase in methadone-related emergency department visits and overdose deaths.

From 2003 to 2010, the number of methadone prescriptions dispensed doubled from 2.2 million to 4.4 million. Similarly, emergency visits increased from 36,806 in 2004 to 65,945 in 2010. Many of these visits are attributed to addicts seeking Methadone detox help. Methadone addiction and overdose visits are primarily due to the drug being diverted by abusers for nonmedical use. So what is Methadone, and why can it be addictive and dangerous, even though it is used to treat addictions?

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid medication. It is primarily prescribed for a couple of distinct reasons. First, Methadone is safe and effective for treating heroin and other opioid addictions. When medically administered as part of a detoxification program, it helps to prevent withdrawal symptoms and reduce the cravings for other opiate drugs without producing a “high.” Methadone can block the effects of illicit opiates as well. When the drug is used to treat and manage addictions, it is only available through certified pharmacies approved by regulatory authorities.

Secondly, methadone is an analgesic prescribed to control moderate to severe pain, particularly when continuous pain relief is needed over a long period. Any licensed pharmacy can dispense methadone for the treatment of pain. Dolophine and Methadose are brand-name versions of methadone.

Methadone is in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act because of its potential for abuse and addiction. Although methadone is used to treat the addiction and withdrawal of other opiates, it is also a popular street drug, and methadone addiction has become a problem.

What are the Dangers of Methadone Addiction and Abuse?

Methadone is a favorite drug on the streets, and it’s often called Fizzies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Amidon. Some abusers take it when they cannot access their drug of choice, as a substitute for heroin, or if they can’t get into an opioid treatment program.

One of the dangers specific to methadone relates to its long-acting properties. It stays in the user’s system for an extended period, 8 – 59 hours, even though users may no longer experience the drug’s effects which typically last 4 – 8 hours. As a result, patients and abusers think the anesthetic has worn off and take another narcotic pain reliever or benzos.

This practice often leads to overdose and sometimes death. Two-thirds of emergency department visits related to methadone abuse also involved another drug. A methadone overdose can be fatal. Signs may include severe drowsiness, slow breathing and heart rate, muscle weakness, constricted pupils, cold and clammy skin, and fainting.
Like other opioids, the use and abuse of Methadone can result in tolerance, dependence, and eventually addiction. Even when it is taken at regular, prescribed doses by patients, this synthetic opioid can be habit-forming.

Using this substance in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed or using the drug for nonmedical purposes are potential signs of methadone addiction. Addicts may want to stop using the medicine but cannot do so although the harm methadone is causing to their health and well-being.

What are the Symptoms and Signs of Methadone Withdrawal?

If you think you have a methadone addiction, do not suddenly discontinue its use. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may occur, including anxiety, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, sweating, pain, rigid muscles, tremors, and insomnia. Long-term users taking high and frequent doses may experience severe withdrawal symptoms and, therefore, would benefit from the assistance of a methadone detox facility.

About Methadone Detox and Recovery

Freeing yourself of methadone can be difficult and uncomfortable to do on your own. Sometimes the process can take a very long time. Holy Land Rehab understands how hard it can be to struggle daily with methadone addiction. Let us help you with your methadone detox and recovery through our safe and effective Intensive Outpatient Program and Rehabilitation Services. Start living drug-free today by calling our toll-free 24/7 Addiction Helpline at (888) 446-5952.

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