Methadone is a medication that is prescribed in the treatment of addiction. It can be used for addiction to heroin or any other opiate drug. It is known to be useful in this treatment. Methadone is also an opiate and can be addictive, so it is controversial.
Some believe it as just trading one addiction for another. That isn’t necessarily wrong. But in this case, the benefits outweigh the risks.
It is ultimately meant to help taper off of riskier narcotics.
Methadone can be safe and effective in treating addiction. But this is only the case if taken as prescribed. It has been in use for this purpose for decades. It is still important to know any risks.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone changes how the brain and nervous system responds to pain, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. It can lessen the impact of withdrawal symptoms. It can also block any pleasure from using a drug.
Some of the substances methadone can block pleasure from include:
Methadone is taken a multiple of ways. As a pill, a liquid, or even a plain wafer. It can only safely be taken once daily. This one dose can help to relieve pain from drug addiction for eight hours. It does last for a long time in the system.
Is Methadone Replacing One Addiction For Another?
A short and easy answer to this question is technical, yes.
There are a lot of disagreements on the use of methadone as a treatment for addiction. There are strong arguments on either side.
People who support the use of methadone believe that it is safe when used as it is meant to. This means in a controlled environment by a doctor.
There isn’t a high like we know it when it comes to other addictive drugs. Instead, methadone has a slow release system, so there isn’t a rush of euphoria. That rush is often what addicts are chasing, and methadone does not supply that.
Heroin and other drugs are taken for that sudden high. These then have crashes that can lead to intense depression and feeling the need to take the drug again. They feel strong and happy when high, and the lows of the crash convince the addict they need more.
Methadone helps stabilize the brain and drug levels so that people aren’t pushing to go find more drugs. This means addicts can help battle their destructive tendencies.
For those who don’t believe methadone is the right choice, they point out how people can and do get addicted to methadone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that methadone caused 3,295 overdose deaths last year.
That isn’t a number to ignore, even if it isn’t the epidemic levels of fentanyl.
Side Effects Of Methadone
Just like with any drug, methadone can have side effects. Some side effects include:
– Difficulty falling asleep
– Difficulty urinating
– Dry mouth
– Flushing of the skin
– Mood problems
– Stomach pain
– Weight gain
– Vision issues
Severe side effects of watching out for can include:
– Agitation and hallucinations
– Extreme drowsiness
– Swelling of eyes, face, or tongue
– Itching or hives
Methadone does require detoxing just like opiates because it causes withdrawal symptoms. It can somewhat resemble the flu and should be monitored by a doctor. It is important to be controlled by a doctor. If a woman is pregnant, she shouldn’t try withdrawing from opiates.