Methadone is an opioid pain reliever similar to morphine. It works in the brain to change the way the body perceives pain. Methadone is also used to treat addiction to other opioid narcotics like heroin, as it reduces the withdrawal symptoms without causing the “high” associated with the drug. Although methadone is used to treat drug addiction, it is also highly habit forming. People who are part of a methadone treatment program can develop a secondary addiction to the drug. Anyone can become addicted to a drug like methadone, even if they are using as prescribed by a doctor.
Methadone addiction can happen to anyone, but it is most likely to occur in those who are being treated for an addiction to heroin. Methadone works in the brain to block the high caused by using other opiates such as heroin, morphine and codeine, and reduces the cravings caused when these drugs are withdrawn. Methadone use, as with other opiates, produces drug tolerance. So when methadone is stopped, drug withdrawal symptoms will appear. This is true even when the methadone is being used to treat other addictions. Using methadone exactly as prescribed is the best way to prevent methadone addiction. Along with the appearance of withdrawal symptoms, there are other symptoms that may indicate someone is suffering from an addiction to methadone. These include:
- Needing more of the drug than prescribed to feel “normal”
- Buying methadone on the street rather than just using what is prescribed
- Doctor shopping or clinic hopping to get more methadone
- Needing a supply of the drug at all times
- Spending money you do not have or engaging in illegal activity to get and use methadone
- Needing more of the drug before the next dose is due to get the same level of relief
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms and you use methadone as part of a drug treatment program, it is time to get additional help.
Who Becomes Addicted to Methadone?
Drug addiction can happen to anyone, and even good people can struggle with methadone abuse. Often those who need methadone to deal with a drug addiction have undiagnosed or untreated mental illness or a family history of drug addiction or mental illness. People with untreated mental illness are not able to make good decisions when it comes to substance abuse, and addiction can overtake them before they are even aware. Those with a family history of substance abuse or mental illness are at an increased risk of addiction. It is important to share all of the information you have about substance abuse in your family with your doctor or the clinic where you are being treated. Methadone is highly habit forming. Although it can help those who are addicted to heroin and other opiates, it can create a secondary addiction that requires additional treatment.
Finding Help for Methadone Addiction
If you or a loved one suffers from methadone addiction or think you may be developing a secondary addiction during treatment, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free number, admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can answer your questions about addiction and help you find the right treatment program for your unique situation.