In the beginning, Methadone was developed as an aid to helping addicts overcome their addictions to heroin and other street drugs. In fact, it is still used today for that reason. However Methadone is itself an opiate drug and there is a risk of dependency if not used correctly. Most of the time dependency happens when the recovering addicts abuses the medication instead of taking it in the prescribed manner. It is not uncommon for the recovering addict to mix their Methadone with other substances seeking the “high” they crave. Just like other opiates, Methadone addiction can be equally as devastating as addiction to other street drugs.
Methadone is an effective addiction treatment
Methadone has proven itself to be a very effective treatment for drug addiction because it significantly reduces the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal without providing the “high”. As an opiate, Methadone is also addictive if not taken exactly as prescribed. Doctors are aware of the potential for dependency but the benefits of Methadone are plentiful and doctors will monitor patients while on this medication. So it is ironic that, in some instances, those who are attempting to recover from an addiction to a street drug will, in fact, become addicted to the medication being used to treat them.
Methadone addiction is potentially life threatening because this is a strong medication and typically is prescribed to be taken only once per day. For those who take it more often, the effects could be deadly. Methadone slows breathing and an overdose can easily cause a coma, or even death. Other side effects of Methadone include hallucinations, fainting, chest pain, and dizziness. Other, non life threatening side effects include dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and reduced libido. If Methadone is taken as directed most of these side effects will not be an issue. Extra precautions are taken with nursing moms because the substance can easily be transferred to the baby via the breast milk.
Methadone addiction is gradual
It may be that methadone addiction is a gradual problem, and some may not realize a dependency is forming until it is too late. Some signs of potential problems with Methadone are, among others, slow breathing, trouble following the prescribed dosing schedule (taking more than prescribed), erratic mood swings, lack of appetite, and dry mouth. If these signs present themselves there may well be a problem that should be discussed with medical authorities immediately. Lasting substance and drug abuse can affect mental function and decrease rational thought. Memory and ability to focus are also negatively affected. A study of methadone addiction in animals showed an impairment in attention and brain function when large doses were given. Addiction to drugs affects what you can do to take in information and retain it, along with putting your life in jeopardy.
As with any drug addiction a gradual withdrawal is the best path to getting clean. Gradual decrease means fewer withdrawal symptoms and fewer cravings for drugs. Many addicts put off entering a treatment program due to a fear of the detoxification process. Detoxification is scary when symptoms like hallucination, dehydration, nausea and vomiting, and shakes or tremors are a possibility, but there are medications that can help with withdrawal. For those hesitant to take these medications for fear of developing another addiction, it is important to note that all medications should be taken according to doctor advice.
Recovering addicts who have gone through the detoxification process he then turns to other support functions to reduce the possibility of a relapse. Therapy with a trained counselor can help deal with past traumatic issues and avoiding situations where temptation is likely. Group therapy is available to talk with those who have the same problem and who can offer support twenty-four hours a day.
In rehabilitation the drug abuser learns that his behavior has not only affected him but also his family and friends as well.