Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment Options

Methadone Addiction

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is used as part of
medication-assisted therapy for those struggling with
opioid addiction. It can help relieve many of the symptoms
those in recovery for methadone abuse may experience when
going through withdrawal from opioids.

What is Methadone Addiction

Methadone differs from other opioids in the fact, because it is longer acting, it blocks the high that one would typically get from using opioids. It is, therefore, a useful treatment method to curb the physical symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal without allowing the individual to succumb to the psychological effects and dependency of using an opioid. Although the euphoric effects are typically eliminated and risk for psychological dependency are decreased while using methadone, it is still an opioid and users run the risk of becoming addicted to it if used improperly.

Although methadone generally blocks the feelings of euphoria typically associated with opioids, there are certain properties that can actually allow an individual to get high while using the drug. This reaction varies, but those who are able to get a high from using methadone are more likely to use it recreationally. Recreational use of methadone increases a users risk for methadone dependency.

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Methadone Addiction: Signs + Symptoms

Some signs you or your loved one may be suffering from an addiction to methadone include:

  • Increased tolerance: Individuals who are addicted to methadone will require higher doses of the drug in order to obtain the same effects.
  • Withdrawal: Individuals addicted to methadone will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug begins to leave their system.
  • Changes in behavior: When an individual is addicted to methadone will begin to make the drug a priority over other things. The addiction may cause disengagement from social and family activities.

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Methadone Withdrawal: Signs + Symptoms

Withdrawal occurs when the drug begins to leave the body and the body begins to crave to medication in order to function properly. Depending on the level of dependency and tolerance, methadone withdrawal symptoms can vary from mild to severe. The length of time in which withdrawal symptoms are experienced also depends on the level of dependency.

Early withdrawal symptoms typically begin to onset within one to three days of last taking the drug. Early withdrawal symptoms tend to include:

  • Muscles Aches
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Excessive Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Agitation

These symptoms generally begin to decrease after day three.

Additional withdrawal symptoms tend to onset after day three including increased heart rate and blood pressure, intestinal and digestive issues such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Individuals may also experience goosebumps and dilated pupils. Most physiological symptoms should begin to decrease and eventually disappear by within two weeks. Cognitive and psychological symptoms, such as short term memory loss, decreased focus and concentration, difficulty sleeping and depression and anxiety may linger for up to one month after the last dose of methadone.

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Treatment for addiction to methadone can vary, depending on the level of dependency and the in. For most people detox overseen by a medical professional and therapy, both one on one and in a group setting is required for a successful recovery. Medication-assisted therapy can include buprenorphine and L-alpha-acetylmethadol or LAAM.

Buprenorphine is a low dose opioid that carries a lower risk for physical dependence and euphoria while minimizing the physical symptoms of withdrawal. LAAM is a synthetic opioid, similar to methadone, but it is longer lasting, is taken on alternate days. LAAM also minimizes the symptoms of withdrawal while blocking feelings of euphoria and cravings.

Using medication to treat withdrawal symptoms in addition to engaging in one on one and group therapy increases an individuals chance for success, as therapy will allow the individual to gain valuable insight from their peers and learn coping skills to deal with life’s barriers without using the drug.

Struggling with an addiction to methadone can be difficult. The cravings for the drug can lead an individual to isolate themselves from their family and loved ones and the withdrawal symptoms experienced by ceasing the drug abruptly can be severe enough to dissuade someone not to quit. Thankfully, there are many treatment options out there that can help lead to a successful recovery. If you or a loved one is currently struggling with an addiction to methadone give us a call.

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