August 8th, 2023
Methadone is often mistaken for the drug that was the star focus of the classic American television show Breaking Bad. However, Methadone is a different drug that has healthy, legal uses in hospitals and approved clinical service hubs. When abused, Methadone will display side effects that range from restlessness to seizures. Once misused, Methadone addiction and dependency are not far behind.
How does methadone work?
Methadone belongs to the family of Opioids and was created in Germany during World War Two to treat pain. Today, it continues to be used as such and is further used to aid heroin detox and withdrawal processes.
Methadone works by bonding to the Opioid receptors, which primarily exist in the human body to respond to pain, reward, and addictive behaviours. Once bonded, Methadone changes how the receptor responds to pain and provides relief to its user. Methadone remains bonded to the Opioid receptor for an average of twenty-four hours.
Methadone is sometimes used as an alternative to other Opioids in hospitals like Morphine and Codeine, though its effects are slower. It also disables the high from some other opioids in the family. For this reason, it is used in replacement therapy for other addictions and can help with the effects of withdrawal.
However, Methadone is no cure for addiction. In fact, Methadone addiction often occurs with the abuse of this drug. The danger with Methadone is that tolerance builds up when it is used for longer periods of time, but the need for pain relief remains. Increasing the intake of this drug is a slippery slope. Once it is taken over the prescribed amount, then it Is classified as Methadone abuse.
How does methadone addiction develop?
There is no one clear reason for Methadone addiction. It is a reaction that greatly depends on different people’s genetics, mental health, and even the general environment. However, at its core, it is the manifestation of underlying issues that are bubbling to the surface in the form of Methadone abuse.
Furthermore, the way in which Methadone abuse bubbles to the surface may not be as clear cut as it will appear below. Just as people are different, the manifestation of their Methadone addiction may appear differently as well.
Physical signs of methadone abuse
Listed below are the physical signs that are an indication of methadone abuse:
- slow breathing
- loss of appetite
- dry mouth
- urinary problems
Behavioural signs of methadone abuse and addiction
There are also behavioural signs of methadone abuse, such as:
- Mood swings
- Periods of anxiety and depression
- Deteriorating work performance
- Prioritising Methadone over other activities such as spending time with loved on hobbies and activities they enjoy
You will want to keep an eye out for deception and manipulation tactics that will come with trying to hide the addiction. Unfortunately, this symptom is not exclusive to Methadone addiction.
Deception and manipulation can arise for a few reasons. One reason is the shame that the person is feeling about their actions. Another may be that they don’t want to be forced to stop. Furthermore, it may be that their judgement is impaired by the addiction. The cravings that accompany addiction may also seem like enough of a reason to behave in a certain way, or it could be because drug addiction could provide its user with a sense of power. In any case, it would be best to remember that you may not just be able to rely on the physical symptoms of methadone addiction and should consider the changes in the behaviour of your loved one.
Impact of methadone addiction on health
In addition to the physical and behavioural symptoms mentioned above, Methadone abuse and misuse can also result in some side effects that will impact your daily life. The danger of Methadone to your health is the reason you should wait to be prescribed this medicine before you take it according to the doctor’s orders. Below we have listed some common and serious side effects of Methadone addiction that begin in your daily life and become progressively harder to ignore.
Common side effects of Methadone addiction
- Itchy skin
- Sexual problems
- Weight gain
- Sleep changes
- Stomach pain
- Mood changes
- Vision problems
Serious side effects of Methadone addiction
- Breathing difficulties
- Fainting or feeling lightheaded
- Hives or a rash
- Swollen lips, tongue, throat, or face
- Chest pain or a rapid heartbeat
- Hallucinations or confusion
- A hoarse voice
- Swallowing difficulties
- Severe drowsiness
- Unusual menstrual periods
Is there Methadone abuse and misuse in the UK?
Methadone is a controlled substance supplied carefully by the NHS on prescription intended to combat heroin addiction. In such cases, Methadone is supplied in fixed doses. It is also used for end-of-life care and in cases of severe pain. Nonetheless, Methadone addiction and abuse remain significant occurrences around the UK.
In 2018, Opiates were the most common factor for drug misuse and death in the UK. In just under three thousand opiate-related deaths during this year, Methadone was ranked as the second-highest used in England and Wales. Methadone misuse resulted in fourteen% of all opiate-related deaths in these countries.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, the number of Methadone misuse related deaths in the same year is relatively higher, grossing forty-seven % of all opiate-related deaths in the country. In fact, in 2018, Methadone misuse led to a higher number of deaths than heroin did.
Can Methadone addiction be cured?
Recognising the problem is the first step to recovery. Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that you or your loved one suffer from Methadone addiction, the process of healing will begin through methadone detoxification and continue with methadone rehabilitation treatment. A difficult process that will take a toll on you and your loved one’s mental health. However, curing Methadone addiction is the healthiest path to take. The alternative is to live with the addiction for the rest of your life, and that would only exacerbate the problems and possibly put your loved one’s life at risk as the Methadone addiction continues to intensify.
The process of withdrawal, detoxing and rehabilitation is difficult and can be personally taxing on you to see your loved one go through this process as much as it is for their body to undergo these changes. There are tools to help you make these healthy transitions from Methadone addiction that provide as much assistance as possible to you and your loved one.
Methadone addiction and misuse do not automatically mean that you have failed beyond return. You can always find your way back from anything. Sometimes, however, people just need a little help. We are committed to providing you with the helping hand you need to get back to a healthy, happy lifestyle without the threat of Methadone abuse and addiction looming over your heads. Contact us today to let us know how we could begin this journey together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you accidentally abuse Methadone?
Using Methadone with other medications increases the risk of contracting the side effects from the other medicines and could, in some cases, lead to an overdose.
Is Methadone addiction guaranteed?
Methadone is just as addictive as heroin. This means that Methadone addiction is likely to occur after using it for the first few times, and in some cases, the first time.
Is Methadone safe?
Providing a doctor has prescribed it, and with a doctor’s supervision, Methadone is safe to use for specific ailments in a hospital where medical health professionals are available to monitor the drug and your reaction to it. They will also ensure that you do not get enough dosage to render you a Methadone abuser or invoke Methadone addiction.
What do I do if someone is showing symptoms of Methadone addiction?
The first thing to do is consult a professional. If you are at a loss for what you should do after you have recognised the behavioural or physical symptoms, contacting an addiction professional will be the best way to ensure you get personalised care and advice for your particular situation.