The Risks of Methadone Usage

When it was first developed, Methadone was something of a miracle narcotic, treating heroin-addicted veterans from Vietnam by giving them a stronger, safer drug to taper off with. At the time, there weren’t any other treatments for opiate addicts, and to the day, Methadone is a valuable medication in controlled environments. However, just like other opiates, Methadone can quickly change from a helpful medication to a debilitating, addictive substance, and as physicians learn more about the risks of Methadone usage, fewer and fewer prescribe it. America is facing an opioid addiction crisis, one which our Tennessee opioid addiction programs aim to address directly.

Why Methadone is Prescribed

Just like any opioid, Methadone is commonly prescribed as pain relief for chronic, debilitating conditions, and although Methadone has its own risks and downsides, it’s still less dangerous than many other opioids and narcotics. As such, doctors sometimes prescribe it to recovering opioid addicts during something called replacement therapy—by replacing harsher drugs with a controlled amount of Methadone, patients are able to recover from an addiction without going through withdrawal.

Methadone Dependence Can Become Opiate Addiction

The Risks of Methadone Usage

There are few ways to ruin a life faster than with a crippling substance abuse problem, but it’s important to distinguish dependence and addiction. Medically prescribed, controlled doses of Methadone universally cause physical dependence on opiates in patients, characterized by painful withdrawal symptoms and a need for continued medication to avoid chronic pain. This prescribed usage of Methadone is important and generally well-founded from a medical perspective. 

Unfortunately, uninformed panic over America’s very real opioid crisis can result in patients being denied painkillers and narcotics that can help them live their life normally—this often creates new addicts who begin to seek out Methadone by any means necessary. Dependence always carries the risk of suddenly transitioning into a state of addiction, but regardless, Methadone users can expect a variety of symptoms which range from unpleasant to life-threatening.

  • Normal symptoms of Methadone usage often include nausea, restlessness, emotional or sexual lethargy, sweating, anxiety, depression, and other uncomfortable, but not life-threatening conditions. A doctor can adjust dosages as needed to minimize these side effects, but addicts will face these in spades alongside other symptoms.
  • Dangerous symptoms should never be ignored in addicts or prescribed users. Symptoms akin to allergic reactions, such as swelling, hives, a rash, and trouble breathing can be signs of overdose or an adverse reaction, alongside reports of hallucinations, chest pain, or rapid heartbeats.
  • Clear signs of overdose include severe drowsiness, weakness, fainting, clammy skin, low blood pressure, and slowed heartbeats and breathing. These can quickly devolve into comas or death, even during the first instance of Methadone abuse, and should always be treated as a medical emergency.

Recovering from Methadone Addiction

Recovering from a Methadone addiction is a slow, challenging process—but it doesn’t have to be a painful one. The thought of “rehab” can invoke feelings of anxiety and disappointment in addicts and loved ones alike, which is why Discovery Place’s alternative treatment center takes a different approach. Our 30-day residential treatment program in Burns, Tennessee offers a compassionate treatment plan which has been proven to minimize the risk of relapse. Please, if you or someone you know is struggling with a Methadone addiction, contact us at 1-800-725-0922 at any time of day to learn how we can help.

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