Methadone is a synthetic analgesic drug that produces side effects similar to those of morphine but longer acting. It’s commonly used as a prescription drug to treat morphine or heroin addiction. It can come in tablet, powder, or liquid form that a person can ingest to experience pain relief. However, because methadone is a type of opioid, it can also produce adverse side effects of its own, including addiction. Although it’s effective in treating chronic pain, its high potential for abuse makes it a last-resort treatment. Our drug rehab in Pennsylvania is sharing the short and long-term side effects of methadone and why it can be dangerous.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone works by changing how the central nervous system responds to pain. Specifically, it works like other opioids by attaching itself to opioid receptors on neurons in the brain. This promotes the release of chemicals like dopamine, which is responsible for reward and pleasure. However, not only does methadone and other opioids activate the release of this chemical, but these drugs also inhibit the brain’s ability to absorb the excess amount of dopamine communicated between neurons. As a result, the individual experiences a euphoric high. Methadone is shown to be effective in lessening the severity of painful symptoms caused by opiate withdrawal, and yet it’s just as addictive. Clearbrook Treatment Centers Pennsylvania offers medically monitored detox for drugs like opioids that can assist patients in safely getting through withdrawals. Our detox programs minimize the risk of withdrawals because they incorporate medical assistance (as needed) and 24-hour supervision.
What Are the Side Effects of Methadone?
When used to treat opioid addiction, methadone can cause mild to severe side effects, depending on how long the person had been using drugs. The reason it’s so effective in treating pain and assisting in morphine and heroin withdrawals is that it mimics the effects of these drugs. While this is a pro, it’s also a major con. Those who begin abusing methadone often experience tolerance, which usually leads to physical dependence and addiction. Because methadone is potent, it can produce immediate side effects after one dose. The longer it’s used, the more likely the individual is to experience problems in their health, relationships, finances, and overall well-being.
Short-Term Side Effects
Although carefully monitored doses of methadone are legal when distributed in a medical setting, methadone is still an opioid agonist drug similar to heroin and opium. Although it’s a milder drug, it still has a high chance of addiction and adverse side effects. When a person misuses or abuses methadone in any form, they run the risk of becoming addicted.
The short-term side effects of taking methadone include:
- Dry mouth
- Problems urinating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Sexual dysfunction
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Tremors and shaking
- Poor coordination and balance
- Respiratory depression
- Anaphylactic reactions
In addition to physical symptoms, the side effects of methadone also include psychological changes like hallucinations, insomnia, anxiety, depression, paranoia, and delusions. When abused, these side effects are all amplified. Long-term opioid abuse of any kind increases the person’s likelihood of overdosing as well. The opioid addiction treatment at Clearbrook Pennsylvania is one of the most helpful forms of treatment for individuals in this situation.
Long-Term Side Effects
The most common side effects of long-term methadone use are dependence and addiction. Methadone addiction is a real issue for many people. Even in heavily monitored cases where it’s prescribed for pain, methadone can lead to chemical dependency, which is why some physicians are hesitant to prescribe it to their patients. Despite its medical value, methadone is still an opioid that can foster physical dependence and addiction. Opioids change the chemical makeup of the brain. Long-term drug abuse rewires one’s thinking to the point where it’s entirely focused on that drug. When a person develops a physical dependence on a drug, any of their attempts to suddenly stop using it can cause withdrawal symptoms. Because these symptoms are often uncomfortable, the person may continue using drugs to avoid the symptoms, which promotes addiction.
Alongside health-related issues, common side effects of methadone use include relationship and financial problems. Especially since the opioid epidemic began in the late 1990s, thousands of people have died from opioid overdose, and thousands more are suffering from addiction every day. If you or someone you know is battling drug or alcohol abuse, call our Clearbrook drug rehab in Pennsylvania now at 570-536-9621