Methadone’s Effect on Serotonin

Methadone’s Effect on Serotonin

Methadone unbalances serotonin levels, which affects overall mood and wellbeing

Found throughout the body and brain, serotonin is an invaluable neurotransmitter that influences many of the body’s most important functions. It may affect how quickly wounds heal, and it contributes to happiness since it influences mood, memory and sleep patterns. In fact, a lack of this chemical may be partially responsible for depression. Because serotonin is so important and its effects are so wide ranging, any substance that affects its levels can cause many problems.

Prescription Drugs and Serotonin Levels

While many drugs affect serotonin as a side effect, other drugs have been created to influence this neurotransmitter. Many antidepressants directly affect serotonin either by preventing its breakdown or by increasing its concentration in the brain and body. This medication therapy, when combined with professional support, can greatly improve quality of life for those struggling with depression. However, many prescription and recreational drugs, including methadone, unbalance rather than balance serotonin levels, which affects overall mood and wellbeing.

Serotonin Syndrome

While low and unbalanced serotonin levels can contribute to depression and mood swings, too much of this chemical can be even more harmful. Excess levels of serotonin become toxic, so it can poison the body. Using a drug like methadone can cause this serotonin syndrome even though methadone’s primary action has nothing to do with serotonin levels. It does inhibit serotonin reuptake, so using too much of it, or using it in conjunction with other substances that influence serotonin, can result in toxic levels of the neurotransmitter. The syndrome begins with mild symptoms, like increased heart rate and changes in body temperature, which become more extreme if drug use continues. Users may experience temperatures that become life-threatening, or they may experience shock that results from increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Multiple substances affect serotonin levels, but they are unpredictable: one drug may multiply the effects of another, and perhaps exponentially. Individuals cannot predict neither how substances will react to each other, nor how those drugs will affect their unique body chemistries. Because drug use is so unpredictable, the dangers of substance abuse are high, and the numbers of overdoses and drug-related poisonings are quite high. However, by talking with medical professionals about substance abuse, you can take action to address drug abuse and to increase public knowledge about prescription drug use. Seek help to get and stay clean from methadone.

End Methadone Addiction

If you or a loved one struggles with methadone abuse, depression or other mental health concerns, then get help immediately. Integrated care addresses all aspects of mental and physical health to help patients reach healthy, happy, drug-free lives. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today to learn about your options for mediation, intervention, therapy and rehab.