Methadone is an addictive opioid that is mainly used for treating narcotic addiction. Methadone’s effects last longer than morphine based drugs and can last up to several hours or a full day. Methadone can be swallowed orally or injected. Methadone is used to help addicts quit drugs such as heroin in two different ways. One way involves reducing the withdrawal symptoms that are experienced as a result of opiate detox and when taken in larger doses methadone can prevent addicts from feeling the euphoric effects of opioids and heroin. When addicts do not feel the euphoric effects from shooting up anymore it becomes much easier for the addict to quit.
There are many adverse reactions that can occur during use of methadone that addicts are especially prone to. Overdose is not unheard of and deaths have happened because of patients and addicts taking excessive doses of methadone. Methadone typically includes the normal range of side effects experienced with many other opioids such as physical and psychological dependence as well as a high tolerance. Problems could arise in the addicts’ respiratory system causing bronchospasms or hypotension. Other symptoms include sedation, edema, nausea, constipation, vomit and vertigo.
The symptoms of methadone overdose consist of difficulty breathing, slow breathing or stopped breathing, muscle spasticity, small pupils, bluish skin, low blood pressure, constipation, a weak pulse, stomach or intestinal spasms, drowsiness, disorientation and even coma. Methadone withdrawal can be harsh and many addicts will feel as if they cannot function without it. This is what traps an addict often resulting in the formation of a physical dependency to offset the pain experienced when methadone is not taken by the addict long after their last dosage. Methadone addiction can be fatal if left untreated and methadone related emergency room visits has risen in the past few years.
It is easy for methadone users to become addicts if they have been using methadone regularly. Even if prescribed, typically patients will experience some type of withdrawal symptoms. Just like other opiates the physical changes when using methadone include contracted pupils, suppressed cough reflex, constipation and drowsiness. Sometimes, first time users of methadone will feel sick when they use the drug. One of the more prevalent problems with methadone prescriptions is that methadone prescriptions are prescribed to addicts in quantities that last them weeks or a month. Addicts will sell their methadone prescription because of this and many children have died as a result.
If you or someone you love needs help with methadone addiction, please contact me today and I can make a referral.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.