What is Methadone?

Methadone is a is a synthetic opiate that is most commonly used in the treatment of heroin addiction. This medication is also used in the treatment of Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet addictions. Methadone has similar characteristics as other drugs in this class. It acts as a pain reliever that also reduces withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting heroin and other addictive drugs with out producing a high.

Abuse Potential

Methadone works on the pleasure centers in the brain and creates a feeling of well-being, this makes it a high risk of abuse amongst patients. In fact, there is a lot of controversy in regards to the use of Methadone in addictions treatment. It is thought that patients are just having one addiction replaced by another.

However, Methadone is simply relieving any  pain and withdrawal symptoms associated with that drug. It is not intended for life long use, however some patients will require the drug for over a year into their addiction treatment. The objective is to stop the patient from using heroin (or other addictive drugs) by prescribing Methadone which will gradually be weened from the patient until they are able to control cravings, they are no longer suffering symptoms of withdrawal and their pain is properly managed.

Methadone Use

Methadone is a medication given to people that are being treated for heroin and other types of addiction to prevent painful symptoms of withdrawal and drug cravings. It is taken orally or injected, both having the same pain dulling effects to help keep the addict away from heroin and other drugs. Methadone eases symptoms of withdrawal and controls cravings. It is not uncommon for some people to use methadone for years after they stop using heroin.

Methadone holds a high risk of abuse. This is why any patients receiving Methadone for addiction treatment require regular medical visits to ensure they do not develop a tolerance or dependency to the drug. If the medication stops working the patient is urged to contact the prescription physician immediately.

The patient will be gradually weened off methadone until they are at the point where they experience no symptoms of withdrawal and are able to maintain their sobriety without its aid.

Signs of Methadone Abuse

  • Lying to the doctor about symptoms to get a higher dose of the drug
  • Taking methadone in combination with alcohol or other substances
  • Taking larger doses of the drug than prescribed
  • Continuing to use heroin while taking Methadone
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Visiting multiple doctors or methadone clinics for now prescriptions

Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal

A person who is addicted to Methadone and stops its use abruptly may experience many of the following symptoms of withdrawal:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Goosebumps
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Twitching

Methadone Addiction Treatment

Patients taking Methadone are doing so because they want to get sober. However temptation to use other drugs while on methadone or to increase their doses of the medication on their own can be too much and they give in. Unfortunately that limits their treatment options when entering into an rehab facility. This makes a residential programs with psychotherapy the best option for them.

Individualized Treatment

Treatment for Methadone addiction is individualized to each specific patients recovery needs. No two addictions are the same. Not only will the patient be working through their addiction to methadone but they will need to continue working through their addiction to the initial substance methadone was being used to treat.


Detoxification will allow the patient to work through the withdrawal period with support of Doctors and staff. Their body will be cleansed of the chemicals and toxins due to Methadone use in a controlled, therapeutic and temptation free environment.


Behavioral modification therapy will greatly benefit the patient in identifying the dysfunctional behaviors and routines that are associated with Methadone abuse. They will be guided threw treatment to make the healthy choices, free of drug use. They will have the key tools needed to overcome temptation and maintain their sobriety when returning home.

Self Help

Treatment for Methadone addiction does not end when they leave the rehab facility. Patients need continuous support from friends and family. Joining a self help group such as Narcotics Anonymous will help the patient to maintain their sobriety with the help of others who too have been in their situation at one point in time.