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Methadone

Methadone Abuse and Addiction: A Deadly Problem

Doctors sometimes prescribe methadone for those suffering moderate to severe pain. Typically methadone is prescribed in specific instances such as pain associated with cancer treatment. 

Its use is intended for people pain management troubles who aren't responding well to other medications. Because it acts on the same opioid receptors as morphine and heroin, it is commonly used to help ease withdrawals symptoms in patients undergoing medically assisted detox for an opioid addiction.

Taking prescribed methadone in the proper medical situations and with proper monitoring is safe, but when methadone is used without a prescription or not taken according to the prescription, a methadone abuse disorder may develop.

Methadone Abuse

Methadone is a synthetic, man-made opiate created in laboratories for the specific purpose of alleviating the side effects of opiate withdrawal. Because it is often used as a gateway treatment for those with more serious opiate addictions, such as heroin or morphine, methadone is not regulated as heavily as other prescription pain reducers.

Methadone does not produce the euphoric high associated with other opiates such as heroin and morphine. In fact, it is medically used to block these effects and ease the transition from opioid abuse and dependency during the detox process. While this can be beneficial, the potential for methadone addiction still exists, especially in patients with prior history of substance abuse.

Methadone abuse may begin as an attempt to produce the euphoria commonly associated with opiate abuse. However, the nature of Methadone's chemical composition prevents these desired effects.Even without the euphoria, methadone may produce a high for new users.

Signs of methadone abuse include:

  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • unusual sleep patterns
  • itchiness
  • skin rashes
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • lack of appetite
  • fainting and dizziness
  • confusion

Many of the signs of methadone abuse are similar to other opiates. Those concerned that a loved one may be abusing methadone should look for methadone withdrawal symptoms, which include yawning, muscle aches, restlessness and dilated pupils. When attempting to stop methadone abuse, your loved one may sweat and their eyes may tear. If withdrawal proceeds, people experiencing methadone addiction will have trouble sleeping, and may suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Methadone Addiction

If you're taking methadone as directed by a doctor, your odds of developing an addiction are low. However, you should always be alert to potential methadone dependence and abuse.  Taking larger doses than prescribed for psychoactive effects is an early sign of developing addiction should this behavior continue.

A continued conscious decision to misuse methadone results in addiction. Methadone abuse and addiction takes the form of chewing, snorting, or injecting methadone pills and taking methadone without a prescription.

As with any opiate used for a legitimate purpose, however, addiction is an unpredictable side effect, as one cannot anticipate addiction though certain factors may increase one's risk.. Even when the drug is used properly as a pain reliever, patients can develop a tolerance, which may lead one to seek out more of the drug.

Methadone addiction involves a psychological and/or physical craving for the drug and its effects. If you take methadone to deal with life stress, this may be an indication of psychological dependency. Other signs of methadone addiction include:

  • Using or abusing methadone despite negative life consequences
  • Craving methadone or using it compulsively
  • Taking methadone for pleasure or for a high
  • Habitual use of methadone to prevent withdrawal symptoms
Ready to get help?
Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.
Call us now (24/7)
(855) 977-9303

A Growing and Deadly Problem

Because methadone's pain-reducing effects are long-lasting, it is often used for severe pain relief and under the supervision of medical professionals responsible for monitoring its effectiveness. Individuals who self-medicate using methadone run the risk of experiencing severe, potentially fatal side effects. The risk of overdose is largely increased among unregulated methadone users who may accidentally or intentionally misuse the drug to produce highs, treat pain, or simply because of lack of knowledge. In fact, thousands of people suffer accidental deaths each year from overdosing on methadone.

A disturbing trend among methadone abusers is the propensity to mix methadone with alcohol or other drugs. Methadone, being a depressant, may cause deadly consequences when mixed with other depressants, such as alcohol. Combining methadone with alcohol often produces low blood pressure and respiratory depression. Even when used according to prescription, one should never mix methadone with other drugs, even natural or herbal remedies.

The statistics for methadone related deaths are alarming.

  • The number of poisoning deaths involving methadone increased from 790 to 5,420 between 1999 and 2006, most likely on account of its increased use as pain medication.
  • According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, medical examiners listed methadone as playing a role in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2004. More than 80% were listed as accidental. Most of these deaths involved combining methadone with other drugs.
  • In 2008, there were 750,000 methadone prescriptions written for pain relief.
  • According to a 2012 statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), methadone accounts for nearly a third of opioid-associated deaths.
  • About 120,000 people take Methadone to control their heroin addiction.
  • According to the CDC, About 20 percent of methadone patients continue the opiate-substitute treatment for more than 10 years.

Methadone Withdrawal

Methadone abuse is sometimes easier to spot by looking for withdrawal symptoms. Those who voluntarily stop using methadone may experience withdrawal symptoms, which sometimes can be severe. This is one of the reasons that support throughout the addiction recovery process plays such a critical role,  as it gives the drug abuser or addict hope that he or she can overcome the addiction.

As withdrawal symptoms begin and proceed, addiction causes one to become fixated on obtaining more of the drug. If an individual with these or similar symptoms insists on getting money and leaving the house or office, you may want to investigate further.

Withdrawal from Methadone may cause the following symptoms:

  • Flu like symptoms, including aches, fever, sweating and chills
  • Anxiety or pain
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
Guidance from a medical professional is crucial to one's comfort and safety throughout the methadone detox process. Immediate and complete termination of use may cause symptoms to worsen significantly. In many cases, professionals recommend tapering doses under careful monitoring in tangent to mental health counseling to overcome addiction.

Doctors sometimes prescribe methadone for those suffering moderate to severe pain. Typically methadone is prescribed in specific instances such as pain associated with cancer treatment. 

Its use is intended for people pain management troubles who aren't responding well to other medications. Because it acts on the same opioid receptors as morphine and heroin, it is commonly used to help ease withdrawals symptoms in patients undergoing medically assisted detox for an opioid addiction.

Taking prescribed methadone in the proper medical situations and with proper monitoring is safe, but when methadone is used without a prescription or not taken according to the prescription, a methadone abuse disorder may develop.

Methadone Abuse

Methadone is a synthetic, man-made opiate created in laboratories for the specific purpose of alleviating the side effects of opiate withdrawal. Because it is often used as a gateway treatment for those with more serious opiate addictions, such as heroin or morphine, methadone is not regulated as heavily as other prescription pain reducers.

Methadone does not produce the euphoric high associated with other opiates such as heroin and morphine. In fact, it is medically used to block these effects and ease the transition from opioid abuse and dependency during the detox process. While this can be beneficial, the potential for methadone addiction still exists, especially in patients with prior history of substance abuse.

Methadone abuse may begin as an attempt to produce the euphoria commonly associated with opiate abuse. However, the nature of Methadone's chemical composition prevents these desired effects.Even without the euphoria, methadone may produce a high for new users.

Signs of methadone abuse include:

  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • unusual sleep patterns
  • itchiness
  • skin rashes
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • lack of appetite
  • fainting and dizziness
  • confusion

Many of the signs of methadone abuse are similar to other opiates. Those concerned that a loved one may be abusing methadone should look for methadone withdrawal symptoms, which include yawning, muscle aches, restlessness and dilated pupils. When attempting to stop methadone abuse, your loved one may sweat and their eyes may tear. If withdrawal proceeds, people experiencing methadone addiction will have trouble sleeping, and may suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Methadone Addiction

If you're taking methadone as directed by a doctor, your odds of developing an addiction are low. However, you should always be alert to potential methadone dependence and abuse.  Taking larger doses than prescribed for psychoactive effects is an early sign of developing addiction should this behavior continue.

A continued conscious decision to misuse methadone results in addiction. Methadone abuse and addiction takes the form of chewing, snorting, or injecting methadone pills and taking methadone without a prescription.

As with any opiate used for a legitimate purpose, however, addiction is an unpredictable side effect, as one cannot anticipate addiction though certain factors may increase one's risk.. Even when the drug is used properly as a pain reliever, patients can develop a tolerance, which may lead one to seek out more of the drug.

Methadone addiction involves a psychological and/or physical craving for the drug and its effects. If you take methadone to deal with life stress, this may be an indication of psychological dependency. Other signs of methadone addiction include:

  • Using or abusing methadone despite negative life consequences
  • Craving methadone or using it compulsively
  • Taking methadone for pleasure or for a high
  • Habitual use of methadone to prevent withdrawal symptoms
Ready to get help?
Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.
Call us now (24/7)
(888) 642-9705

A Growing and Deadly Problem

Because methadone's pain-reducing effects are long-lasting, it is often used for severe pain relief and under the supervision of medical professionals responsible for monitoring its effectiveness. Individuals who self-medicate using methadone run the risk of experiencing severe, potentially fatal side effects. The risk of overdose is largely increased among unregulated methadone users who may accidentally or intentionally misuse the drug to produce highs, treat pain, or simply because of lack of knowledge. In fact, thousands of people suffer accidental deaths each year from overdosing on methadone.

A disturbing trend among methadone abusers is the propensity to mix methadone with alcohol or other drugs. Methadone, being a depressant, may cause deadly consequences when mixed with other depressants, such as alcohol. Combining methadone with alcohol often produces low blood pressure and respiratory depression. Even when used according to prescription, one should never mix methadone with other drugs, even natural or herbal remedies.

The statistics for methadone related deaths are alarming.

  • The number of poisoning deaths involving methadone increased from 790 to 5,420 between 1999 and 2006, most likely on account of its increased use as pain medication.
  • According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, medical examiners listed methadone as playing a role in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2004. More than 80% were listed as accidental. Most of these deaths involved combining methadone with other drugs.
  • In 2008, there were 750,000 methadone prescriptions written for pain relief.
  • According to a 2012 statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), methadone accounts for nearly a third of opioid-associated deaths.
  • About 120,000 people take Methadone to control their heroin addiction.
  • According to the CDC, About 20 percent of methadone patients continue the opiate-substitute treatment for more than 10 years.

Methadone Withdrawal

Methadone abuse is sometimes easier to spot by looking for withdrawal symptoms. Those who voluntarily stop using methadone may experience withdrawal symptoms, which sometimes can be severe. This is one of the reasons that support throughout the addiction recovery process plays such a critical role,  as it gives the drug abuser or addict hope that he or she can overcome the addiction.

As withdrawal symptoms begin and proceed, addiction causes one to become fixated on obtaining more of the drug. If an individual with these or similar symptoms insists on getting money and leaving the house or office, you may want to investigate further.

Withdrawal from Methadone may cause the following symptoms:

  • Flu like symptoms, including aches, fever, sweating and chills
  • Anxiety or pain
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
Guidance from a medical professional is crucial to one's comfort and safety throughout the methadone detox process. Immediate and complete termination of use may cause symptoms to worsen significantly. In many cases, professionals recommend tapering doses under careful monitoring in tangent to mental health counseling to overcome addiction.

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