Can Methadone Affect My Memory?

Can Methadone Affect My Memory?Methadone is a medication prescribed for severe pain. It is also given to individuals recovering from heroin and prescription drug addiction. People who abuse these substances often change their brain chemistry.  Drugs such as heroin and prescription painkillers attach to opiate receptors in the brain and intestinal system. Over time, the receptors become less and less responsive until they can no longer detect natural pleasure-producing chemicals on their own.

Methadone is an acceptable substitute medication that helps individuals break addiction to heroin and painkillers while avoiding excruciating withdrawal symptoms. It attaches to opiate receptors to normalize body functions and bring relief without producing an addictive high. Doctors typically administer a low dose of methadone to new patients and gradually increase it until withdrawal symptoms fade. Important facts about methadone treatment include the following:

  • It is a long-acting medicine and each dose stays in the body for a long time
  • It can take several days to become fully effective
  • Some individuals must continue methadone treatment for their entire lives

Memory and Methadone

Methadone is a lifesaver for people breaking heroin and painkiller addiction, but it does have several negative side effects. It disrupts the way the brain handles cognitive processes which subsequently results in slower reactions and diminished alertness. Additionally, it can impair attention, learning ability and memory functions, including the following:

  • Working memory – Short-term storage of numbers, words, names and other items
  • Verbal memory – The ability to remember words and abstract concepts related to language

Like other narcotic medicines, methadone also slows down breathing. Respiration can remain slowed even after the pain relieving effects of the medication have worn off. Other guidelines to follow in order to take methadone safely include the following:

  • Never stop taking methadone suddenly
  • Call your doctor if you miss doses for more than three days in a row
  • Call your doctor immediately if you feel the medicine is not working
  • Do not combine with alcohol
  • Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how methadone affects you

When taken under the supervision of a medical professional, methadone can be an important part of treating the physical consequences of opiate addiction. In addition to the provision of the drug itself, methadone maintenance should include ongoing psychological and medical support. Nutritional counseling can also be a component of recovery. Several supplements recommended for their ability to restore balance and function to the brain include the following:

  • Vitamin B-5
  • Tyrosine
  • Citicholine
  • Melatonin

Recovery from addiction is not easy, but it is possible with courage, commitment and the right tools and support.

Recovery Help For Methadone

If you or someone you love struggles with addiction and other issues surrounding methadone, you are not alone. Recovery counselors at our toll-free 24 hour support line can guide you to wellness. You never have to go back to a life of addiction. Please call to start your recovery today.