What Is Methadone?
Methadone was originally created as a synthetic substitute to Morphine. Like all Opioids, Methadone is a pain reliever that works by binding to the body’s Opioid receptors, blocking the feeling of pain, and releasing dopamine to induce calm. The drug is extremely effective when taken orally and has a long duration of action.
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The Effects of Methadone
After World War II, Methadone made its way to the United States. It was used as another alternative to pain relief. Sometime after, however, it was discovered that Methadone blocked the euphoric effects of other Opioids, like Heroin. Since then, it has become a popular tool in medicating the symptoms of withdrawal, and helping people suffering from addiction. Today, Methadone is one of the most popularly prescribed medications to people recovering from addiction.
Methadone, as an Opioid, has similar effects to Morphine and Heroin. It can block the body’s receptors to pain and release dopamine, bringing on pleasant and calming feelings. A key difference between Methadone and Morphine is that Methadone stays active in the body for 24 to 36 hours. As with any prescription Opioid, however, it comes with its own side effects. These can include:
- Weight gain
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Sore tongue
- Difficulty urinating
- Mood changes
- Vision problems
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
These are the common side effects of Methadone. Sometimes, other, more dangerous effects may come out of Methadone use. In that case it is recommended to contact your prescribing doctor immediately.
Use of Methadone to fight Heroin Addiction
People suffering from Heroin addiction are often pointed towards Methadone as a way to wean off their dependency on the drug. Since Methadone is a weaker Opioid than Heroin, doctors are able to prescribe the amount of Methadone necessary to cover what the body is used to. After that, they can gradually decrease doses until the user can safely stop taking all drugs. While Methadone use is most often monitored by a medical professional, in cases of Intensive Outpatient Programs, someone may be responsible to take it on their own. This may sound simple, but what many don’t realize is that Methadone is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high risk of abuse.
Dangers of Methadone
What many don’t realize is that going through Opioid withdrawal leaves your body susceptible to another addiction. Methadone, despite its practical uses, is highly addictive and not taking it as prescribed can mean developing a new addiction.
Like many prescription Opioids, it is rare for someone to develop an addiction on their own accord. Rather, they start with a prescription and their dependency grows from there. In the case of Methadone, one must be extra cautious, as they are often using it to treat the symptoms of withdrawal for another Opioid that they are addicted to.
If you suspect someone is addicted to Methadone, paying close attention to their behavior can be an important indication. It is likely that it is known that they are taking Methadone, but if they are acting secretive, guilty, or odd in another way, they may be abusing their prescription.
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Recovery from Methadone Addiction
While Methadone has been shown to be effective in many cases, its use still carries its own dangers. If you, or someone you love, have fallen into the grips of Methadone addiction, know that you shouldn’t feel any shame. Recovering from addiction is a sensitive process, and your body is naturally looking for a way to replace the substance it has grown dependent on. The best thing you can do is admit yourself the moment you realize that there is a problem. Professional monitoring can help you wean yourself off Methadone over time. If you are looking for treatment for Methadone addiction, contact a rehab expert today.
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