Long term effects of methadone addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

Is methadone addiction possible? Of course! Methadone is an opioid medication which affects the brain. Learn about the effects of methadone abuse and addiction in this infographic.

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Can methadone be abused?

As helpful as methadone may be for people trying to get off heroin successfully, if the proper psychological, behavioral, educational support and therapy are not applied, cross-addiction is a real risk. For those who do not use methadone legally as a part of a doctor-supervised opiate addiction treatment, increasing doses or purchasing methadone without prescription is not only considered to be abuse, but can easily lead to addiction.

How is methadone addiction formed?

As an opiate/opioid class of medicine, methadone causes physical dependency with regular and long term use. If a person takes methadone chronically for a period of time, regardless if it’s prescribed or not, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop. Still, this physical dependence on methadone is DIFFERENT than psychological dependence. So, how do people become addicted

Long term effects of methadone addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Methadone is structured differently than other opiates such as heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone. In fact, it has been designed to reduce the risk of abuse. However, because methadone can produces the same euphoric effects and the feeling of being high, some people can get psychologically hooked. This psychological dependence is at the bottom of any drug addiction.

Methadone withdrawal symptoms

Just like other opiates, methadone produces the same adverse withdrawal symptoms after long-term use. In fact, the harsh withdrawal is what discourages many users from quitting methadone successfully.

Symptoms you can expect in the early withdrawal stage, include:

  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • sweating
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • muscle pains and aches
  • Symptoms you can expect in the late withdrawal stage, include:
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • cramps
  • compulsion and cravings to use methadone
  • restlessness

Effects of methadone addiction questions

As you can see in our infographic, uncontrolled and long-term use of methadone can take its toll on your health, work, social relations, self-image, etc. These are the real dangers of methadone. We encourage you to seek help and allow professionals to support and guide you towards sobriety.

Ask us your questions in the section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly. THEN, share the infographic if you like it, so the information can be spread.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I have been taking methadone for about 10 years, I started out taking it for addition, but later used it to control joint pain. In the last couple of years i’ve went from 40 mg. down to 10 mg. a day. I cut myself back a little at a time. I’m finding it very hard to get all the way off, I read somewhere to cut 2 mg. at a time, do you have any advise for me. I really want to get off of it completely but am scared of the withdrawals. Thank you.

    1. Hi Larry. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to help you plan a tapering schedule. If this doesn’t work, call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find treatment options for you.

  2. my 60 year old son is in the middle of withdrawals from methadone. The doctor has given him a pill that he says makes him sicker but the dr says you have to take the pill. My son has now started to drink vodka quite heavy. I live a 1000 miles away and need to know if there is anything I can do for him from here. Dumb question I guess just desperate to help.

    1. Hi Bill. Your son should take the pill as prescribed by the doctor. Also, he should talk with the doctor and tell him/her about the side effects he is experiencing, and that he is mixing them with alcohol. I suggest that you call the helpline you see on the website and get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you decide what is the best possible solution for your son.

  3. I have been on doctor prescribed methadone since 2009. I had stage 4 melanoma and bad lymphadema.It was on and off detox programs since age 17. Now 61,so pretty much my whole adult life battering drug issues. Now, there aremore medical problems and I have given up even thinking about getting off. It sucks, afraid all the time that something will happen and I won’t be able to get my pills. I want to move to another state to be closed to family, but again. Will I be able to get my meds. I hate this. Afraid


  4. I was taking loads of codeine painkillers aday then at night time start on tramadol painkillers until I went for help they put me on methadone stopped taking then in almost 2 days thought it would be impossible to stop taking painkillers as I tried many times but with methadone it worked no pain what so ever coming off the tablets but now I feel as though I’ve got off them for an even hard problem iam really worried I tried coming down a few mil at a time but got to a certain point where I started taking painkillers again seen my drugs worker he put my methadone back up to were I started reason for this msg is that iam really scared to even start to think of coming off methadone I feel like iam taking it not for a reason it’s just the thought of coming off it can’t stand the pain n depression after.I stopped many years back taking painkillers I was depressed for an hell of a long time so I hit the drugs again.thanks for the time reading this msg

  5. Please, I have been on MMT for 12 years. I am presently at 120mg. I am 64 years old and I have a love /hate, more hate at this time, relationship with methadone. I cannot tell you how much it has ruined mine and my families lives. I can’t bare living as I do anymore. I don’t want to die but I cannot go on living/existing and hurting everyone I love so very much anymore. Please tell me, even at my age, there IS a way out. I hate myself. Or this horrible person I have become. I will be listening, hoping and praying ? there is another way out of this abyss. Thankyou.

    1. Hi Mickie. There’s always a way out… I suggest that you call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.

  6. Hi I was a heroin user for nearly 20 years n have been on methadone sInce 2009 I started on 100 ml n now 8 years later am on just 8ml I am finding it really hard to stop the last 8ml n am worried that I’ll never get off it . I have been reducing for the past year n now I drop 2ml a fortnight n it’s killing me I struggle every day .I’m going through withdrawl wud it be better just to stop it as I feel crap anyway

  7. Since I got on the methadone program my sex drive has gotten a lot higher .as for my husband of 12 years won’t get on the program and uses pericet a lot why don’t he be in the mood ever,? And seems himself while he has them say he takes 10 to 20 daily he seems to be normal buy when he is out what a different man ?? I’m so confused and feel so unwanted by my partner ?

    1. Hi Yvonne. The drug effects are different for each individual. I suggest that you talk with your husband about your issue. Also, you may consider family therapy if you thank that the problem is deeper than the medication effects.

  8. I was a big hydro taker I would take 30 a day I had to at least take 15 or I would not be right I been clean now for almost 2 years because I been going to the methadone clinic now for 2 years Im on 100mg of methadone I been on 100mg for a year now but none of this got to me like nurotin another name for it is gabapentin I was taking 10 of the 300mg at one time everyday for a year and a half and still to this day I take t he nurotin and methadone but I have cut myself down to 1 300mg a day and I feel like crap I feel weird and I get hot then I have a tingle in my body then I get cold it’s got so bad that it’s tuff just to get up and start the day I hope I will be back to normal soon I want to get off everything but I’m scared of the way I’m gonna feel so I guess I’m asking will I ever get back to normal

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