What is Methadone?

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

What is Methadone?

Methadone is often a “replacement drug” for heroin. Many times, physicians will give opioid addicts methadone as a way to avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms. However, methadone isn’t risk-free. Get answers to the question, “What is methadone?”, and find out more about the drug below.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is the generic name for a specific type of opioid medication. Methadone can work as a pain reliever, just like many other opioids. However, methadone most often, doctors prescribe methadone to help with opioid withdrawal.

Methadone is a small pill that offers a dose of opiates to the body. To those with addictions to drugs like heroin, methadone gives off a much smaller high. For many people, methadone reliance is preferable to an addiction to heroin. Of course, methadone is still a drug with plenty of risks.

How Do People Abuse Methadone?

Although methadone has a legitimate medical purpose, users often abuse it. Two primary groups are guilty of this: recovering opioid addicts and recreational users.

Many people who abuse methadone don’t start out with that in mind. They may begin taking methadone on their doctor’s orders as a part of the addiction treatment process. Clinics often distribute methadone daily to help patients avoid a relapse with other illegal drugs.

Over time, however, patients can build a tolerance. Individuals may stockpile methadone to have a larger dose. Some may go to several clinics to use ever growing amounts of methadone on a daily basis.

The other group of methadone abusers might simply want to take methadone for its opioid ingredients. This group is also more likely to combine methadone with alcohol or other drugs. Using methadone in this way is substance abuse, and it may also be illegal.

What are the Side Effects of Methadone?

In addition to the risk of drug addiction, methadone has a number of unpleasant side effects. Like other opiates, methadone is a depressant. It slows down body function, including respiration and heart rate. That can lead to lethargy, but it can also produce a coma, in extreme circumstances

Nausea is very common among methadone users. Chronic use of this drug also commonly leads to constipation. In worst case scenarios, methadone use can lead to difficulty breathing, twitching muscles, and even a fatal overdose.

Can You Recover From an Addiction to Methadone?

What is methadone doing to your life? If the answer is “making it complicated,” there’s good news. People can recover from a methadone addiction. Detox will be necessary, but more important is learning to maintain that newfound sobriety. Rehab is the best option, and it can offer a range of effective treatment methods. Just some of those methods might include:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • Individual talk therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Life skills therapy
  • Relapse prevention programs

Are you ready to say goodbye to active addiction? At 1st Step Behavioral in Pompano Beach, Florida, you’ll have the tools to achieve lasting recovery. Start your journey to recovery by calling (866) 319-6126.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.