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Methadone first reached the United States in 1947 and was then advertised as an all-purpose pain medication. It wasn’t until 1971 that it was approved as a viable form of medical treatment for narcotic addiction. Nowadays, it is well known as a safe and effective medication for those who are struggling with drug abuse.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s free from side effects. After all, methadone is still an opioid. This means taking methadone incorrectly can cause problems within the body. Some people even abuse the drug just like any other addictive opioid.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control or CDC reports that about 5,000 deaths each year are caused by a methadone overdose.
The Dangers of Methadone
Methadone is known to reduce symptoms of withdrawal in individuals who are dealing with narcotic addiction. It is important to mention that this drug is safe unless taken improperly. It takes a significantly large amount of methadone to get high. It also greatly reduces the risk of relapse. This is why methadone treatment is a very popular technique used in drug rehab facilities.
Still, it comes with its own dangers. The risk of experiencing adverse health effects increases if a person abuses their methadone prescription.
Common side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, lightheadedness, sexual impotence, and gastrointestinal distress. But these effects are rather mild and may be encountered occasionally by those who are taking the drug properly.
If a person abuses the drug, the risk of serious side effects increases. They may experience tremors, fainting, respiratory depression, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and anaphylactic reactions. And again, there’s also that chance of overdosing on methadone, which can be fatal.
The adverse effects mentioned above are merely the physical side effects caused by methadone abuse. However, there are also psychological side effects like insomnia, depression, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, delusions, and impaired concentration.
If someone you care about is suddenly showing changes in behavior, it might be due to their methadone intake. There’s a chance they might be abusing their methadone prescription. Some people even get suicidal thoughts due to methadone abuse.
Methadone addiction may be less common compared to other opioids, but this is a very real issue that can cause long-term problems. Addiction to this substance can have an incredibly dangerous impact on a person. Long-term abuse of this drug can lead to tolerance and physical dependence. Dependence would involve becoming unable to function properly without taking the drug. The person will go into withdrawal if they don’t take methadone.
At this point, proper addiction treatment becomes essential to their recovery. They need a comprehensive treatment plan so that they could receive the medical attention they need. They may go through behavioral therapy to address the emotional and psychological effects of addiction.
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Techniques like group therapy and counseling could help tackle the root of the addictive behavior. This is just as important as the medical detox process, where the drug user is slowly weaned off of methadone.
It’s worth remembering that methadone is a safe and helpful drug under most circumstances. But all opioids can be dangerous once abused. So if you know someone who is taking methadone to deal with a different addiction, make sure you help them stick with their prescription.