America has an opiate problem.
Two-thirds of drug-related deaths in the United States each year are due to the use of opiates. Many who struggle with opiates go to methadone clinics to get help with their addiction struggles.
Methadone is a synthetic opiate drug which blocks opiate receptors in the brain, thus helping opiate addicts through their recovery.
But methadone use has its own risk. Away from the watchful eye of a medical professional, addiction to methadone itself can fester. Methadone abuse can still be dangerous, even if the drug is safer than the opiates it is being used to replace.
How can you tell if a loved one near you is abusing methadone? It can be difficult to discern the difference between proper and improper use. The below methadone symptoms and warning signs can help.
Symptoms of Addiction to Methadone
Methadone is legally prescribed to patients in a variety of scenarios. Many individuals are recovering from addiction to heroin or other opiates. Some others are just dealing with chronic pain or other medical conditions.
The drug is usually given orally in a pill or tablet form. It has many side effects, including impaired judgment and sexual dysfunction.
Addiction to methadone can come on in a variety of stages. The first is simply tolerance to the drug.
When methadone is prescribed initially, the individual is likely to feel dizzy or ‘high’ as the chemical compounds enter the body. After a certain amount of time taking methadone, the body will become more used to these chemical compounds and the feeling will fade. This individual will then have reached a level of methadone tolerance.
Once tolerant, the individual will have to take larger dosages to feel the dizzying effects of the drug. This need is usually the first sign of potential addiction, though not always the case.
Withdrawal symptoms are the next major symptom of methadone addiction. Methadone, much like heroin or other opiates, can leave users in great pain when they are without the drug.
Methadone withdrawal symptoms can include cramping, nausea, lack of sleep, chills, and extreme fatigue. These symptoms can take several days to come on and last for a significant amount of time.
Sweating, constrained pupils, and constipation are other withdrawal symptoms which might be apparent in a methadone addict.
Warning Signs A Loved One May Be Abusing Methadone
If a loved one has been prescribed methadone, it’s important to keep a close eye on their use and recovery. Addiction to methadone can happen surprisingly easily. There are a number of behavioral symptoms which can help identify methadone abuse.
Is My Child Using Methadone?
If your offspring is going through methadone treatment keep a close eye out for strong changes in behavior or attitude. Like the physical symptoms of methadone abuse, these changes can come on in a series of stages.
At first, methadone addiction is likely to result in a lack of control from the individual. Any failures to stick with the doctor-prescribed treatment plan are a sign of this lack of control.
Some individuals may feel they need to space out their methadone intake to better deal with withdrawal symptoms. Some may claim they need to take it at unprescribed times, like in social settings or over weekends, where social pressure is increased.
The compulsion to use methadone more frequently or in a different way than prescribed is the first serious sign of a much larger problem.
This can then lead to an increased and extreme desire to obtain and use methadone. The individual reaches true and extreme addiction when they begin to search for more methadone than their prescription allows.
This is usually done through a process known as doctor shopping, where the individual visits multiple different doctors in an attempt to receive multiple prescriptions of methadone.
Any and all attempts to receive higher dosages or greater quantities of methadone should be taken seriously as an extreme sign of addiction in your child.
Is My Parent Using Methadone?
Methadone addiction does not discriminate by age. Addiction symptoms including an increased need and search for methadone can happen to parents struggling through recovery as well.
Parents and mature adults frequently have even more access to potential sources of methadone, making such an addiction even more dangerous.
Another symptom of methadone addiction is the shirking of familial or social responsibilities. Methadone addicts will choose to spend their time using the drug as opposed to taking part in activities that used to be important to them.
If you’ve noticed a steep decrease in your parent’s familial activity and concern, it may be a sign of methadone abuse. The repeated absence from birthday parties, school plays, holidays, and family gatherings can be a huge red flag.
Intervention For Methadone Abuse
Methadone withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and can make an intervention in the case of abuse difficult. Most methadone addicts truly feel as if they need the drug to handle the pain, even if their dosages are getting out of hand.
The advantage you have in seeking to intervene with a methadone addict is that the person is likely to open to help. The fact that they’re using methadone is indicative that they are aware of an addictive past and have been receptive to getting help.
Approach a methadone addict with love and concern instead of anger or judgment. Share the observations you’ve made about the changes in their behavior. Express how these changes have made you feel.
With some luck, you may be able to get your loved one back on the right track.
Looking For Methadone Symptoms and Warning Signs
Methadone treatment can be an important step for any recovering addict. But repeated use of the drug can be dangerous in and of itself. Looking out for the above methadone symptoms and warning signs can help you determine if your loved one is struggling with a new addiction.
Need more help in your family’s recovery process? Contact us anytime.