Methadone Addiction – What are the Symptoms and Warning Signs?

Methadone was first created during World War II, as an alternative to morphine. But what is methadone used for now? It is used for the treatment of Opioid dependence and (medical detox) pain management medicine.

Even though it is a safe medication, it still has an addiction-forming potential, being an opioid category drug. Therefore, people on this medication have to stay under a doctor’s treatment program.

In this article, we’ll discuss what is Methadone used for, its methadone side effects, and the signs of addictions in detail.

Methadone Symptoms and Warning Signs

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a slow-acting synthetic opioid medication to treat addiction from taking drugs like codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and heroin. It comes in powder, liquid, or tablet form and is available via prescription. It helps in reducing drug cravings and blocking their high.

You may wonder, but how long does Methadone take to take effect? Generally, it takes 5 or more days to show the full effect. However, this may vary from one individual to another.

Uses of Methadone

UsesHow it works
Opioid addiction treatment
  • Long-acting treatment for codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and heroin.
  • Recommended use in up to one year while undergoing rehab or other programs for quitting drugs.
Mathadone Pain management
  • Methadone is a narcotic analgesic.
  • It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to reduce pain.
  • It is used on a needed basis.

Methadone is a Schedule 2 controlled substance; hence, highly regulated. However, many fall into the trap of its addiction by acquiring it illegally.

Recognizing Methadone Addiction

Is Methadone also addictive? If yes, then why is Methadone used for drug addicts? As Methadone is a narcotic analgesic acting on the brain, it can cause addiction by making the nervous system dependent on the relief.

Methadone produces similar feel-good euphoria that comes after taking other opioids. So, the body and brain may get used to the medication while experiencing a similar high. For this reason, long-term use of Methadone is not recommended

Other factors such as high dose, history of substance abuse, genetic predisposition, environment, and mental health may impact the addiction-forming habits.

Mental Dependency Signs and Effects Include:

  • Feeling anxious: Experiencing unease, worry, or nervousness
  • Wanting to Use Methadone more than recommended: Craving larger or more frequent doses despite medical guidance
  • Constantly reusing even after the doctor has asked to stop: Continuing methadone use against medical advice
  • Neglecting health due to addiction: Allowing the compulsion to use methadone to override attending to one’s physical or mental well-being
  • Strained relationships: Interpersonal problems or isolation
  • Volatile behavior: Outbursts of anger or mood swings

Physical Signs of Methadone Dependence Include:

  • Constipation
  • Slow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Urinary problems
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Increased tolerance

Coma, disorientation, confusion, fatigue, and muscle twitching are some more Methadone overdose symptoms. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to be brave and seek professional help.

Understanding the Facts and Statistics

Methadone addiction usually starts when users have a history of opioid dependency and start abusing the drug the same way as others. Even when Methadone is prescribed for reducing opioid addiction, it may still keep the user in the loop of addiction. To get the same high, users tend to increase the quantity and frequency of use, leading to severe addiction.

According to the CDC, over 107,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2021, and 75% of these were due to opioids. In the past years, more than a million Methadone prescriptions have been given for pain management and opioid use reduction. Out of these, some may form an addiction to the medication.

Methadone Side Effects

Now, that we know what it does Methadone do, let us discuss some of its side effects:

Heart problems

Methadone can block some potassium channels and (hERG channels) in the heart which is important for repolarizing the cardiac cells. Plus, its over-usage could lead to prolonged QT intervals which could lead to arrhythmias. In addition, it may raise BP levels in some individuals straining the cardiovascular system even more.

Liver damage

Chromic usage of this drug could also lead to the accumulation of toxic materials in the liver and even cause oxidative stress on hepatocytes. If left untreated, this problem may lead to liver inflammation and eventually, liver damage.

Mental disorders

Methadone’s side effects on the brain are even worse. For regular drug users, Methadone could disrupt dopamine signals which could lead to depression or emotional stability. Additionally, the disruption of serotonin levels may lead to anxiety in many cases. In some cases, it may affect a user’s memory, too.

Respiratory problems

Prolonged exposure to this can hinder the central nervous system’s functioning. More specifically, it impacts the brain stem respiratory centers. It could also reduce the user’s ability to retain carbon dioxide affecting normal breathing patterns. In some cases, chronic usage of Methadone has contributed to pulmonary hypertension.


Though Methadone is used for the treatment of opioid addiction, it is a potent opioid with an addiction potential too. Its prolonged usage in inadequate quantities can increase its accumulation in the body and pose risks of overdependence. Additionally, its withdrawal symptoms are more prolonged than those of other short-acting opioids.

Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs when Methadone starts to cause addiction and other heart and liver-related problems. In such cases, seeking apt medical attention could help you on your journey to recovery.

Don’t let Methadone addiction control your life, contact a professional clinics for personalized support.