Methadone Addiction: Why it’s so Hard to Quit

No drug addiction is easy to treat. Unless you’ve been there yourself, you really can’t understand, but a drug addiction is extremely difficult to get over. This is something that consumes your life, takes over, and you are helpless against it once you have gotten to that point. However, there is something you can do if you are willing to make a change. You have to be willing to work hard and stay dedicated, but you can get off the drugs, get clean and sober, and start living a normal life again.

Methadone is a particularly addictive drug. Also known as Symoron, Dolphine, Amidone  and Methadose, Methadone belongs to the opioid family of drugs. This prescription drug is often prescribed to treat the pain and withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin addiction. For a person trying to get off heroin, their doctor may prescribe this drug to help them cope while their body experiences living without the drug in its system. This not only helps make it easier for an addict to cope while they are dealing with intense withdrawal symptoms from stopping, but also can prevent serious medical issues such as heart attack and stroke.

In most cases, an individual is required to go to a public clinic or other center in order to receive their daily or weekly dose of Methadone. This is to prevent misuse of the drug. This drug may be taken anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, or even longer, depending on the doctor’s advisements.

Methadone is the first step to recovery for many addicts. It gives them the chance to get off the drugs without having withdrawal symptoms so extreme that they can barely function. For serious addicts, these withdrawal symptoms can last for months, even longer. For some people, they will feel urges for the rest of their life. It is definitely not easy to overcome a drug addiction, but this is a necessary process for someone hooked on drugs who wants to get clean. Methadone can help you get your life back, so if this is something you’re interested in, you should talk to your doctor to get more details. They will be able to provide you with the necessary information and get you a prescription if you are thought to be a good candidate for the drug.

The detox process is essential for anyone trying to get off heroin. Be prepared for serious withdrawal symptoms, including anything from muscle aches, anxiety and muscle tension to headaches, nausea and agitation. You may feel edgy, moody and miserable, you may notice that you’re sweating or even feel almost feverish. These are all normal, expected symptoms. Physical and emotional symptoms are expected, especially with a drug like heroin. These symptoms are occurring because you are stopping the drugs after heavy and prolonged use, forcing your body to become dependent without the use of the drugs.

Abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goosebumps, nausea and vomiting are all common withdrawal symptoms of opiate drugs like heroin. If you notice you are starting to feel extremely unwell, experience heart palpitations, or otherwise feel lightheaded or faint, you may want to get in to see your doctor or to the emergency room at your local hospital. A health care professional can examine you and ensure you are not suffering any serious medical conditions.

You may have to take additional medication along with the Methadone, especially if you are experiencing very intense symptoms. You may be placed on long-term maintenance, which means you could be taking Methadone for the long-term or even for the rest of your life, if your doctor feels it is helpful for your recovery. You need to stay in close contact with your doctor to properly monitor your progress. They can ensure there are no potential complications arising as a result of your treatment, such as aspiration or dehydration.

The most important thing is that after you go through treatment, once you have gotten yourself on the right track and aren’t using anymore, that you do whatever it takes to stay off the drugs. The last thing you want is to end up back in the same situation you started, having to start all over from square one. Go through a support group or have regular sessions with a therapist, to have someone there to talk to and support you during this difficult time in your life. It always helps to have someone there who you can feel safe venting to, expressing your feelings and getting support from when you’re not feeling at your strongest.

Millions of people suffer from heroin addiction, and if you are one of those people, at least you know you have options. Methadone is an effective treatment for heroin addicts, offering many advantages to users as a means of treatment.

Effects of Methadone : More Than For Methadone Treatment

What Are The Effects of Methadone ?

Effects of Methadone

Effects of Methadone

There are mainly two groups of people who need to know the effects of methadone.  The person who is being treated for pain with methadone is one.  The other is the opioid addicted individual who wants information on methadone treatment. It is important to realize that the opioid dependent person is not longer limited to the stereotypical heroin addict.

Over the last decade, there has been a rise in the use of oxycontin in addition to methadone for the treatment of various forms of pain.  Many people who never had an addiction started these medications through their primary care doctor for a legitimate reason such as a broken leg or perhaps severe back pain. Some are more susceptible to the addictive effects of methadone.

Although getting an addictive disorder is on of the effects of methadone, when use as directed under the care of a physician, the risk of addiction to pain medications is low (4-5%). There are estimated to be about 30 million patients in the United States so even this small percentage of abusers is a large number. There has been a more recent article indicating up to 1/3 of people being treatment for non-cancer pain on a chronic basis get addicted to opioid medications.  Apparently, this was in the July 2011 issue of the Journal for Addictive Diseases and I have not reviewed the actual article. Here is one link.

There are, however, a much larger number of individuals who are abusing the medication through non-medical sources. Most people abusing opioids are getting the medication through family or friends rather through “drug dealers.” They may be using is for recreational use.  There are many others who are at higher risk to having an one of the addictive effects of methadone: especially those who are  mentally ill and those with an existing addiction,

Effects of Methadone

  • Treatment of Pain : Excellent for acute (sudden) pain. Can work well for chronic (long-term) pain, however, the effectiveness for long-term pain is being questioned as compared to other pain relieving medication.  The exception is cancer pain.
  • Increase in energy: Patient report to me lower doses give them energy
  • Euphoria: People describe a “better than sex” feeling.  A feeling of falling backward, being half dead and alive and sleepy.
  • Reduce or stop coughing
  • Reduce or stop diarrhea
  • Treatment of Opioid Addiction (such as methadone maintenance)

Side Effects of Methadone : Go to my article or See Below

Methadone Side Effects List :

  • nausea
  • decreased libido
  • urination problems
  • decreased appetite
  • sedation
  • weight gain
  • flushing
  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • vision changes
  • mood swings
  • swelling of limbs
  • weakness
  • difficulty with sleep
  • vomiting
  • missed menstrual periods

Serious Side Effects of Methadone : Call Your Doctor Immediately:

  • rash
  • seizures
  • itching


  • irregular heartbeat and death

Summary of Effects of Methadone

Methadone is a very good pain reliever and has some other medical uses such as for cough, diarrhea, and the treatment of opioid addiction. Although it can be safely used under proper medical supervision, there is a real risk of addiction. The risk of addiction is more for those with mental illness, a genetic predisposition, and current addicts. Patients taking methadone should be aware of the side effects of methadone to know what to discuss with their doctor.

Other Resourses Related to the Effects of Methadone :

National Pain Foundation FAQ on Opioids

US Department Of Health and Human Services : Research on Prescription Drug Abuse

History of Methadone

Methadone Treatment Center Directory and Suboxone Doctor Directory

Dr. Rich is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with licenses in Texas and Hawaii. He specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction with buprenorphine and runs a FREE locator service to find Methadone Treatment including Suboxone treatment for opioid addiction. Find a Suboxone Doctor in your area.
Dr. Rich has written more articles on the cost of oxycontin, buprenorphine (Suboxone) including frequently asked questions and a recent post : Signs of Painkiller Addiction