If you are living with a loved one who is in recovery from opioid abuse, they are no doubt taking some sort of “maintenance” medication to help reduce their cravings and withdrawal symptoms. One of the most common medications used in this capacity is methadone. Since the 1960’s, methadone has been the go-to medication to help opioid addicts recover. While methadone is effective when used in a comprehensive treatment plan and when administration is closely monitored, there is a considerable risk in becoming addicted to methadone.
What is Methadone?
If your loved one is among the 52 million people abusing prescription drugs like methadone, you know how hard it is to live with a methadone addict.
Created by German doctors during the Second World War, methadone is a synthetic opioid used to treat the extreme pain from war-related injuries. When brought to the United States, methadone was used to help treat the pain and discomfort felt after surgery or due to chronic diseases. In the 1960s, methadone started being used to help those struggling with heroin and prescription painkiller addiction.
Taken in tablet form or sublingually, methadone changes the way the brain and the nervous system responds to the pain associated with withdrawal symptoms. Methadone blocks the high that is felt from drugs like codeine, heroin, morphine, and oxycodone among other opioid drugs. Methadone’s effects are similar to morphine in the fact that it provides a similar high found in other opiates and opioids. However, it is very effective making withdrawal symptoms more tolerable.
Methadone is an opiate drug used to relieve pain and in the right and supervised dose, it can be included in the treatment program addiction. However, methadone is a highly addictive drug that can cause dependence. Anyone on regular methadone therapy must taper down the dose to avoid withdrawals. While it does not cause a big rushes like heroin or meth, it can be very dangerous when you mix it with alcohol or other drugs. Second, to heroin, it is one of the most abused drugs in the country because it is more accessible and cheaper being a prescription drug.
Why many families are suffering from addiction-induced problems
NIH considers addiction as a treatable disease that not only changes the functions of the brain but the structure itself. It changes a loving responsible and honest person into a detached, irresponsible liar even if they don’t want to. With 23.2 million Americans suffering from different types of addiction and only ten percent thereof have been receiving treatment; many families should brace themselves for the psychological, physical and financial impact of addiction.
A Question of Addiction
Methadone is an opioid in of itself. While people use the drug under close and experienced medical supervision, there still can be considerable risk that people can become addicted. While the drug does not create the same euphoric effects as produced by heroin and other opioids, it does produce sedative effects that are pleasant.
Some side effects associated with methadone use include the following:
- Decrease in reaction time to stimuli
- Dry mouth
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased body temperature and blood pressure
Despite the advantages of using methadone, it is extremely potent. Because of the euphoric sedative effect it produces, people may try to obtain the drug on the street or will try to take more than the prescribed amount. When this occurs, an overdose can be very likely and can produce the following symptoms:
- Constricted pupils
- Discoloration in the user’s nails and fingertips
- Nausea and vomiting
Additionally, methadone is a strong depressant that affects the central nervous system. If users also use alcohol, benzodiazepines or other sedatives, they run the risk of shutting down their respiration and heart rate. In the worst-case scenarios, those who abuse methadone in this manner can slip into a coma and even death.
How Can Hawaii Island Recovery Help You?
If you or a loved one is struggling with methadone dependence or addiction, the best motivation to seek help often comes from those who successfully completed treatment. At Hawaii Island Recovery, several of our graduates have shared their success stories in order to help others.
Rene claims that Hawaii Island Recovery helped her do the most important thing she cannot do for herself when she was addicted to prescription drugs.
“I would have to stay the best thing I learned in recovery is to love myself and be myself and who I
am. It’s because when you’re on drugs, you don’t know who you are. The only things you want are the drugs and alcohol or the gambling or the sex addiction and whatever your addiction is.”
As a trainer, Vilma had to deal with personalities at all times. The HIR program helped her believe in herself and in her passion for fitness and health and to help other people.
“It is my way of being of service as an AA member” says Vilma.
If you will ask methadone users why they cannot quit methadone, they might probably tell you that trying to quit this drugs is like a million times harder than it is to stop cold turkey heroin because of the very painful withdrawal. Some try to taper off, other switch from methadone to heroin and back, but they remain stuck in the pattern of addiction. They always revert to methadone to avoid the pain of withdrawal.
Take Back Your Life Right Now
It’s hard to give up the addict identity and get your real identity back. At Hawaii Island Recovery, experienced therapists will help you give up your addict identity which revolved around drug addiction and the factors influencing it, including your environment and physical health. They will equip you with the tools you need to discover your identity and become empowered in your recovery.