Methadone is an analgesic drug, which is distinguished as an opioid. Opioids can be either natural or man-made, and they are pain-relieving drugs that are often prescribed medicinally after an injury or surgery to alleviate pain and discomfort.
In terms of the effects of methadone addiction to the human body, this drug has similar effects to morphine; however, the effects tend to be longer-lasting. It is commonly used as a substitute drug during the treatment of an opiate addiction; the most common opiates that create addictions are heroin and morphine.
It is important to note that methadone does not create the same kinds of effects as other opioids, and in fact, this drug is ideal for blocking those effects. Although methadone does not produce the intense effects similar to other drugs, it is still capable of creating feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Because of this, it is important to note that methadone can still be abused.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified methadone as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that it is helpful in treating medical conditions, but that it can also cause physical and psychological dependence if not used properly.
If methadone is not used as prescribed, the effects can be dangerous. The following are some of the short-term and long-term effects of methadone addiction to the human body.
Short-Term Effects on the Body
After an initial absorption of methadone, individuals may experience feelings of drowsiness and sedation, which makes them feel heavy and lethargic. They should also notice relief from any pain, as well as feelings of euphoria and complete relaxation.
If an individual has been taking methadone for a series of days or weeks, they may notice more severe physical effects on the body including sweating, nausea, constipation, a decreased heart rate and pinpoint pupils.
When it comes to their actual behavioral changes, friends and family of individual users might notice that they experience more aggressive mood swings, heightened anxiety and even feelings of depression.
When an overdose has occurred or dependence is beginning to take over the body, users may experience effects that include lowered blood pressure, shallow breathing, tremors, itchy skin, blue lips and a decreased heart rate. They may also become extremely lethargic, have a hard time recognizing their whereabouts and may even enter into a comatose state.
Long-Term Effects on the Body
The effects of methadone addiction to the human body become more severe the longer an individual has been using. The changes are quite often a result of drug abuse, and friends or loved ones of a user should be weary of potential problems if they see any of these signs.
Effects that a user may notice occurring in their body include severe respiratory issues, as a result of long-term use and a continuously reduced quality of respiration. They may also notice cardiovascular problems, which often begin to build-up with continuous injections, collapsed veins, etc.
Other effects a user may notice include memory loss and issues with learning, as well as signs of dependence.
Long-term effects on the body that may be more noticeable physically include issues with poor judgement and a change in personality or behavior. Individuals who are focused on getting their fix also tend to focus less on their physical hygiene, which often signals friends/family to begin noticing the dependency.
In small, controlled doses, methadone can be helpful in the aid of opiate addictions to substances such as heroine and morphine. However, when abused, methadone has the potential to be just as dangerous as other addictive substances. Those who have been granted medicinal use of methadone should be aware of its potential dangers and remember the potential effects of methadone addiction to the human body.