Methadone Abuse And How To Treat It

For those who are addicted to opiate narcotics, many opt to receive drug therapy treatment in an attempt to beat drug addiction.  Usually this is beneficial and helps thousands to overcome dependency, but for some it can mean trading one addiction for another.  Methadone is an approved drug that is often prescribed for use in helping to relieve the withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction.  A problem occurs when some use this medication in a manner not advised by their physician, such as taking more than is prescribed, or coupling it with other drugs to attain a euphoric sensation.

Methadone was initially, and still is, prescribed to help reduce severe withdrawal symptoms from drugs such as heroin.  It was approved for use by the FDA and has been used for over fifty years.  It is often the fear of extreme cravings, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, fever and tremors, that keep many for attempting detoxification.  Methadone was beneficial because it helped to reduce or even eliminate some of the more severe symptoms.  Methadone is also use to relieve pain for those who have illnesses or injuries that result in chronic pain.  Long-term use or abuse of this medication can lead to addiction.  Many take it too often, and some take it with other medications.

Methadone, if not taken properly, is a dangerous and potentially life threatening drug.  This is because it comes with a list of potential side effects and some long-lasting effects that are detrimental to one’s health if taken improperly.  Every medication has possible side effects, and methadone is not exempt.  Most potential and serious side effects never occur, and doctors prescribe medications because they feel the benefit of taking it is higher than the risk of not taking a medication that may result in beating dependency.  Some of the side effects include swelling of hands or feet, mood changes, appetite loss, drowsiness and flushing.  Some more serious effects are nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fluid retention, difficulty urinating, vision problems, headache and weakness.  The potential for serious side effects increases when the drug is taken against doctor advice, which makes the possibility for overdose or death a very real possibility.

As with most drugs, if abuse occurs over a long period, it affects the body in numerous negative ways.  Drugs can remain in the system for years after use.  Drugs lodge in the fatty tissues of the body and can cause damage long after some stop taking it.  We also know that drug abuse can lead to decreased intellect, difficulty learning, and difficulty paying attention and may tamper with memory.  Methadone abuse is particularly dangerous because it can slow breathing down making breathing difficult or impossible.  This is a strong medication, and usually it is only taken once per day.  For those who take it more often, there is a serious chance for overdose, coma and death.

Detoxification is necessary, but it is not recommended for those who have used Methadone long-term to stop taking this medication suddenly.  This is because a slow and steady weaning is safer.  Sudden cessation could mean an onset of withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, sweating and chills, wide pupils and muscle pain.  These symptoms are decreased with a gradual weaning of this medication.

Detoxification is a scary concept for some.  The symptoms can range from mild to severe, but there is help for these symptoms.  There are medications that can help decrease these symptoms, and while some might be fearful of trading one addiction for another, if the medication is taken as prescribed this is usually not an issue.  It is important to take all medications according to physician and label instructions to reduce the risk for dependency and life-threatening side effects.  Detoxification is necessary to rid the body of drug residue, which can increase cravings and cause health related ailments.  Of course rapid detoxification is an option.  This is where all medications are stopped suddenly and completely.  This will of course result in ridding the body of drugs, but should not be attempted alone.  A physician can sit down with you and discuss the best options available for success.

Taking medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms may help to increase success rates.  This is because it helps control cravings, which helps to decrease activities like injecting drugs and obtaining infections like thrombophlebitis, HIV and hepatitis C.  Methadone is still very helpful in treating dependency to opiates and heroin, but for those who end up with an addiction to Methadone, help is available.  Through other medications and the detoxification process, a drug-free existence is possible.  Addiction does not just affect your life, but the lives of those around you as well.  Personal relationships deteriorate, and work relationships may also be negatively affected.  Beating dependency will improve not only the quality of your life, but it may help to save it as well.