Methadone Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms

Methadone Abuse: Effects, Signs & SymptomsWhile intended to help people affected by serious opioid problems, the opioid medication methadone can turn into a new target of addiction instead. If you or your loved one suspect the presence of methadone-related problems, you’ll need accurate information to chart your path toward sobriety. This brief guide will help improve your understanding of the most important topics for addiction recovery.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Methadone Abuse

When used properly, methadone1 is a proven, effective treatment for people addicted to a range of opioid substances. However, since the medication is itself a powerful opioid, it can serve as a source of addiction when used too often and/or in excessive amounts. People addicted to methadone have a form of opioid use disorder2, an illness category that includes all diagnosable, opioid-related substance problems. Serious, non-addicted abuse of the medication also falls into the same category.

People with methadone-related opioid use disorder are affected by symptoms such as:

  • A pattern of uncontrolled methadone intake (marked by consuming too much of the medication at once or consuming the medication too frequently)
  • Failure to stop misusing methadone despite two or more attempts to quit
  • Strong cravings for the medication when not actively using it
  • Repeated use of methadone in situations that endanger your health or the health of others
  • Rising tolerance to the medication’s mind-altering and painkilling effects
  • Continued consumption of the medication after your intake harms your mental or physical function
  • A pattern of methadone misuse that interferes with your conduct or performance at home, at work or in the classroom
  • Turning to intake of the medication as a preferred form of recreation
  • Continuing to misuse methadone in the face of clear objections from your loved ones

Signs of Methadone Abuse

A person who takes too much methadone can also develop any number of other problems. Recognized potential indicators of a pattern of misuse include3:

  • Unexplained fluctuations in your normal mood
  • Loss of the ability to speak without slurring words
  • Nausea (often accompanied by vomiting)
  • A declining ability to demonstrate sound judgment
  • Unexplained bouts of depression or irritation
  • Unexplained episodes of panic
  • A declining ability to control your body movements
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained carelessness or general lack of interest
  • Unusual fatigue

Methadone is under stricter federal control than other opioid medications such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. In fact, doctors must obtain special licensing to prescribe it to their patients. Among other things, this means that most people who misuse methadone are enrolled in opioid treatment programs, or know someone else enrolled in treatment. You can develop a dependence on the medication without ever experiencing diagnosable symptoms of opioid use disorder. Doctors in treatment programs can make dosing adjustments that decrease the risks for significant problems.

Reach Out For Help

We provide holistic care and treatment using an individualized approach specifically tailored to your needs. Our holistic care and treatment is based on the best scientific evidence available. Secondly, we help you lead a healthy, substance-free life with adaptive coping and problem-solving skills. Don’t let Methadone addiction control your life. Our addiction professionals can help you get on a path of recovery, significantly changing your life. Contact us today for more information on our certified staff of professionals, as well as our first-rate facilities.

  1. University of Maryland – Center for Substance Abuse Research: Methadone
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Substance Use Disorders
  3. American Academy of Family Physicians: Opioid Addiction
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