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What Is Methadone?
Methadone was originally created as a substitute to Morphine. Like all Opioids, Methadone is a Painkiller 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 and has a long duration of action. The substance is offered in pill, liquid, and wafer forms and is taken once per day under the supervision of a medical professional.
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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 the drug 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 Opioid 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 the former stays active in the body for approximately 24 hours. As with any prescription Opioid, however, it comes with its own side effects. These can include:
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Sore tongue
- Difficulty urinating
- Mood changes
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Sexual dysfunction
- Slowed breathing
- Itchy skin
- Changes in menstrual cycle
These are the common side effects of Methadone. Sometimes, other, more dangerous effects may occur. 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 toward 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 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. Methadone use is closely monitored by a medical professional in programs that are highly monitored by the government. These programs combine medication-assisted treatment with counseling and participation in 12-step support groups.
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. However, when taken as prescribed, users do not display the uncontrolled, compulsive and disruptive behavior that is common among Heroin users.
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, paying close attention to their behavior can be an important indication. It is likely that it is known that they are taking the drug, 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 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 it to yourself the moment you realize that there is a problem. There are many rehab facilities and recovery centers which are able to help their patients to thrive without Methadone through Methadone detox. If you are looking for treatment for addiction, contact a treatment provider today.
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