What is Methadone Addiction?
Methadone is a synthetic opioid created in a laboratory. It’s commonly used to treat other addictions such as heroin, oxycodone, and dilaudid. Methadone does trigger a relaxed high, although it’s relatively mild and tolerance develops quickly. Methadone maintenance treatments involve progressively smaller doses of the drug, although this is not a cure—just a treatment.
There’s much controversy about methadone treatments. Critics suggest that methadone treatments are just substituting one addiction for another. Most users who switch over suffer from intense methadone addiction and dependence, in some cases even stronger than the original drug. There is a movement to move away from methadone treatments, although nobody yet has answer for those already dependent on it.
Addiction vs. Dependence
Part of the controversy around methadone is the difference between addiction and dependence. Dependence triggers extreme physical withdrawal symptoms when the user stops taking it: stomach cramps, nausea, seizures, and respiratory problems. Some users liken the difference to insulin: you’re dependent on insulin to survive, but you’re not addicted to it.
Despite this, there is still a risk of psychological dependence in users who still crave the opioid high that heroin gives. They lie about their prescription to the pharmacist and consume larger amounts than they should, just to feel the high.