The side effects of drug abuse range from mild to severe, and when prescription drugs are taken as directed, most people will see few side effects. However, the benefits of a prescription drug will fade when the drug is abused, and several problems will form as a result. Methadone is one prescription drug that offers several benefits when used as prescribed, but it can lead to several physical complications when abused.
Why People Abuse Maintenance Drugs
As an opioid, methadone is used to relieve pain, but it is more often used as a maintenance drug, which means that addicts can take this drug to taper off more powerful opioids, like heroin or oxycodone. The downside to using maintenance drugs is that users can abuse and develop an addiction to them. In fact, people can replace an opioid addiction with one to methadone, because this drug produces effects similar to other opioids. The drug is most commonly abused by people who take prescription doses for pain, by addicts using it to treat another addiction and by recreational drug users seeking to relieve withdrawal symptoms. No matter the reason, methadone abuse is dangerous, and it can cause serious complications, including dependence, addiction and overdose.
Methadone Abuse Effects
Methadone slows down brain functioning, so it can affect a user’s thought-processes, motor coordination, cognitive abilities and behavior. The following complications may arise from methadone abuse:
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Mental cloudiness and confusion
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, internal bleeding and constipation
- Poor immune system responses
- Fainting and unconsciousness
- Impaired motor skills and slurred speech
- Slowed, labored breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heightened pain perception
- Reduced libido
- Vision complications
- Toxicity and organ damage
The physical complications of methadone abuse can have both short- and long-term effects. High doses of methadone can compromise one’s ability to walk, talk and perform everyday tasks; acts like taking care of a child, driving a car and operating machinery at work can be incredibly dangerous when people are high. The abuse of this drug will also have social and economic repercussions. Someone that abuses methadone is usually described as being checked-out: she lacks the clear mental state needed to have and remember conversations, to perform well at work or school and to behave in a manner that is true to her character.
In other words, long-term methadone abuse can cause addiction, serious health problems and numerous problems in a user’s everyday life. People that use methadone to treat addiction should be extremely cautious of abusing the drug—take the drug as prescribed to minimize the risk of side effects.
Methadone Abuse Help
If your methadone use has spiraled out of control, you have the power to regain control. If you are ready to overcome a methadone abuse or addiction problem, then call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators can give you advice and information 24 hours a day, and they can connect you with treatment services if you are ready. Recovery is feasible, and you do not have to get their alone, so call us for help.