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Methadone Addiction: Effects, Symptoms & Treatment

Handful of tablets

Methadone treatment is now common throughout the UK and overseas since it is prescribed for people suffering from heroin addiction. Methadone isn’t always a positive solution as users find themselves hooked on a new drug which just replaces an old addiction. With the right help and some dedication, you can overcome an addiction to methadone. 

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Methadone Rehab Clinics


methadone clinic is rather like most drug clinics in that you go through a detox phase, as well as group counselling and one on one counselling.

If you think you or a member of your family or even a friend is suffering from methadone or heroin addiction there is help available to you.

What is Methadone?

Methadone Hydrochloride is an opioid (a synthetic opiate) that was originally synthesised by the German pharmaceutical company Axis during the second world war.

Methadone is usually available as a liquid – linctus or methadone mixture – which should be swallowed. Tablets and injectable ampoules are sometimes prescribed, and like many other medicines, some of these prescribed drugs are diverted and become available illegally.

What is Methadone used for?

It was first marketed as ‘Dolophine’ and was used as an analgesic (a painkiller) for the treatment of severe pain. It is still occasionally used for pain relief, although it is more widely used now as a substitute drug for people addicted to other opiates (primarily heroin).

Methadone Effects

opioids addiction

When methadone is prescribed to people addicted to other opiates (primarily heroin), the guidelines for the dosage are that enough should be given to prevent physical withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is not supposed to give you a buzz or get you high. If you take methadone orally (mixture or linctus), it will take around thirty minutes before you feel the effects.

If you are using injectable methadone (Physeptone) then the drug takes effect much more rapidly.

Physical Changes From Using Methadone

Man Sitting Alone

As an opiate, regular use of methadone causes physical dependency – if you’ve been using it regularly (prescribed or not) once you stop you will experience a withdrawal. The physical changes due to the drug are similar to other opiates (like heroin); suppressed cough reflex, contracted pupils, drowsiness and constipation. Some methadone users feel sick when they first use the drug. If you are a woman using methadone you may not have regular periods – but you are still able to conceive. Methadone is a long-acting opioid; it has an effect for up to 36 hours (if you are using methadone you will not withdraw for this period) and can remain in your body for several days.

Keeping Safe When Using Methadone

Doctor with patient

Methadone is a very powerful drug, and individual doses vary for each person. If you are using methadone that you have bought illegally be aware that you could overdose on an amount that would seem ‘normal’ to someone else – especially if you are not using opiates regularly, and therefore have a low tolerance (it doesn’t take very much to affect you).

If you are using methadone regularly – prescribed or not – taking a higher dose than normal or using other depressant drugs (like alcohol, heroin, tranquillisers or sleeping tablets) on top could cause you to overdose.

If you do lose consciousness and vomit you may well choke. If you become drowsy you should not try to drive or operate machinery – you could easily have an accident. Methadone is very dangerous for children.

You should store methadone where children are not able to get to it – in a high cupboard, not by your bed or in the fridge. If a child does swallow methadone they should be taken to the Accident and Emergency Department at your local hospital immediately – let the doctors know what has been taken, and if possible at what time and what quantity.

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Methadone Laws In The UK

Clinic Medical Documents

Methadone is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as a schedule 2 drug, that is a substance considered to have a medical therapeutic use, and legal to possess only if prescribed by a doctor, and then only to be taken in accordance with the doctor’s instructions. Methadone is a Class A drug.

We understand that taking the decision to commit to rehab can be difficult, you can schedule a tour at one of your local rehab centres to see the available facilities, resources and environment. This can help you with taking the first steps towards your rehabilitation.


  • Continuously taking drugs that are no longer needed for a health problem
  • Building up a tolerance against the drugs
  • Feel shaky, depressed, stomachaches, intense sweating, headaches and more intense symptoms when the drugs wear off
  • Even when drug addiction is hurting your loved ones, you still can’t stop
  • You spend time thinking about how to get drugs, when to take it, how good it feels.
  • Having a hard time giving yourself limitations to drug use
  • Losing interest in extracurricular or social activities that don’t involve drugs
  • Losing priority over personal & professional responsibilities
  • You borrow or steal money to pay for drugs
  • Having trouble to get along with loved ones and colleagues. They complain about your actions or how you’ve changed.
  • Sleeping and eating too much or too little
  • Drug addiction reflects on your physical appearance. Bloodshot eyes, bad breath, tremors, blood nose, or you may have gained or lost weight.
  • You have a new set of friends with whom you do drugs and go to different places to use the drugs.
  • Drug inpatient detox
  • Drug home detox
  • Drug rehab
  • Intervention
  • Counselling
  • Group therapy
  • Rehab facilities

We have rehab and detox clinics all across the UK to help you on your journey to recovery. Click here to find rehab centres & facilities near you.

For more information on how much drug addiction treatment costs, please click here.

The best way to get started is to give us a call at 0800 118 2892 for free advice and assessment. Let us help you or your loved one figure out the best treatment plan for your alcohol addiction so you can get started on your journey to recovery.

Woman looking out in deep thought

  • Keep track of the volume of your drug use to have a better understanding of the role of drug addiction in your life.
  • Consider the impact of your drug use to the things that matter most to you, such as your partner, your children, your career and your health.
  • Consider getting advice from a person you trust about your drug use.
  • Remind yourself of the reasons why you want to change for the better.
  • Analyse your attempts at recovery. What worked and what didn’t?
  • Set specific, measurable goals, such as time and limitations you’ve made to recover from drug addiction.
  • Consider to open up to your loved ones that you’re committing to recovery and seek for their support.