Is methadone addictive? Yes. Methadone can be habit forming when used over a prolonged period of time.

In fact, long-term use of any drug can lead to physical and psychological dependence. When methadone is abused, there is a possibility of developing addiction, which can cause serious health consequences. But is there a certain profile of people with greater risk of developing methadone addiction? How can you know if you are addicted to methadone? We’ll look at these questions in more detail here. For any further questions, join us in the comments section at the end of the article.

What medicines contain methadone?

Methadone is a medication used for the treatment of pain, during detoxification treatment of opioid dependence, and for the maintenance treatment of narcotic addiction. It comes in the form of a tablet, oral solution, or injectable liquid and has a molecular formula C21H27NO.

Methadone can be recognized under the following brand names:

  • Dolophine
  • Diskets
  • Dolophine Hydrochloride
  • Methadose
  • Methadone Hydrochloride Intensol TM
  • Westadone

What does methadone do in the body?

Methadone has two purposes:

  1. To relieve moderate to severe pain
  2. To help treat opioid dependence

Methadone works by “occupying” the brain’s receptors affected by heroin or other opiates. Methadone blocks the euphoric and sedating effects of opiates, but also relieves cravings and symptoms associated with withdrawal from opiates.

However, methadone may cause euphoric effects and produce a “high” when it binds to the opiate receptors in the brain. Although the high from methadone is far less intense when compared to other medications and drugs, it can still cause significant toxicities. For that reason it is classified as Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

How do you get addicted to methadone?

Do you wonder what influences the occurrence of methadone drug addiction? When a person is addicted to methadone s/he abuses the medication and if this habit isn’t stopped on time the consequences can be very serious. The following factors determine how long it will take for a person to become addicted to methadone.


You can take low doses of methadone on a daily bases and still not become addicted to it. Many people are prescribed low doses of methadone for chronic pain issues, and some take it in higher doses. The dose levels depend on individual needs. According to medical experts, people who are prescribed higher doses of methadone stay in treatment longer, use less heroin, have a lower chance of relapse, and have lower incidence of HIV infection.

If a person is abusing methadone and taking higher doses than the ones prescribed s/he risks to develop tolerance to it which is often accompanied with methadone addiction.

Methods of abuse

When a person is abusing methadone by snorting it or injecting it, s/he will experience more potent effects and they will occur much faster. Therefore when methadone is abused in these two ways addiction can develop more quickly. But, the faster the onset of euphoric effects, the shorter their duration. Once the extremely intense effects wear off, the user will feel the need to take methadone again.

History of addiction to other substances

People who have a history of addiction to other substances are more susceptible to developing methadone addiction. The body and brain of addicts are already used to the effects of substances and will likely to experience them again in the face of drug abuse, you must be extremely careful with how you use the methadone, especially in long-term methadone maintenance treatment.

Signs of methadone addiction

1. Tolerance. You can recognize methadone addiction when a person has developed tolerance to this medication. Tolerance means that s/he requires higher doses of methadone to reach the same effects that used to be achieved at lower doses.

2. Withdrawal. Another sign of methadone addiction can be the occurrence of methadone withdrawal symptoms when the person stops using this medication.

3. Cravings. A person addicted to methadone will also obsess over obtaining the drug and start to crave it compulsively. This means that the user thinks about methadone constantly, and won’t stop using even when his or her physical and metal health are at risk.

Overall methadone addiction is characterized by a set of behavioral, physical and psychological symptoms. In addition to financial, social, work, family and life implications, many chronic and long-term methadone abusers display the following side-effects as a result of their habit.

1. Mood changes that are recognized as behavioral symptoms:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

2. Physical symptoms:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Open sores
  • Tachycardia
  • Urinary retention

3. Psychological symptoms:

  • Confusion about identity, place, and time
  • Disorganized thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Repetitive behaviors

How to avoid methadone addiction

The best way to avoid developing an addiction to methadone is to follow your doctor’s advice on dosing, use, and duration of treatment. Be careful with the use of this medication if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse because you are more susceptible to develop a dependency on methadone.

Questions about methadone dependency

Still have questions about methadone addiction? Please leave them in the section below and we will try our best to provide you with a professional and prompt response.

Reference sources: NHTSA: Methadone
NCBI: Methadone

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from Addiction Blog