Methadone Symptoms and Signs

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What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opioid used to treat pain and also used as part of a detox program for heroin addiction. Opioids are a group of drugs, both legal and illegal. Legal opioids, sometimes called narcotics, are prescription drugs that are used primarily for pain relief. They include morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, codeine, and others.

Opioids derive their name from the opium poppy plant. Some opioids are naturally occurring, and some are mass-produced. Illegal opioids include heroin. This class of substances binds to the brain’s dopamine receptors, which block feelings of pain and, in some people, produce a “high”. But, how can you tell if someone is using methadone?

Understanding Methadone Addiction

Many people find they are addicted to methadone by accident. How can you tell if someone is using methadone? What started as legitimate medical use turned into prolonged use. Methadone use can lead to a development of tolerance quickly, leading to increased use to gain the same feelings of “normalcy”.

This begins the cycle of increasing use, further increasing tolerance, which further increases use and leads to a full-blown physical and mental addiction. When addiction is developing, the user can start to feel the early signs of withdrawal between doses. Withdrawal of an opiate can look like irritable behavior, sweating, stomach cramps or diarrhea, feeling anxious and needing to move around, chills, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty sleeping.

Detox from methadone requires careful observation and medical monitoring. If signs and symptoms of withdrawal appear in-between doses, the user can take higher doses and more frequent doses of methadone than they had before.

Classic Signs of Methadone Addiction

Methadone addiction is a medical condition that is defined as not being able to abstain from using methadone, and behaviors centered around methadone use that interfere with daily life. Once methadone is used on a regular basis, withdrawal can occur in between doses. This can look like sweating and cravings.

  • decrease in personal care
  • withdrawal from friends and family
  • erratic behavior
  • mood swings
  • small pupils/Opiate eyes
  • constipation
  • weight gain
  • financial problems
  • increased sleeping

What Are the Signs of Someone High on Methadone?

Opioid addiction can sometimes be difficult to confirm for friends and family members. Behaviors can at first seem vaguely concerning, or something doesn’t add up. This can be frustrating and confusing. Methadone addiction may begin with increasing isolation from friends and family members. Continuing use and abuse may result in constipation, dental problems, nausea/vomiting, and mood swings.

When someone uses too much methadone, they may feel an immediate heaviness in arms and legs and become itchy. This may progress to nodding off, or excessive sleepiness. They may slur their speech and look like they are mostly asleep. It may be difficult to focus and coordinate speech and thoughts. Breathing and heart rate will also slow down. If breathing slows too much it can lead to death.


If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to methadone we are here to help. At Resurgence, we use an integrated approach to heal and recover. We have 20 years of experience breaking the cycle of addiction and shame. Withdrawal from methadone is a physical process, but recovery is the mental process of rebuilding your life and learning how to live without opioids.

Recovering from the effects of methadone addiction is not a short process, but it is possible. Learning about addiction, treating any underlying issues, and building coping mechanisms other than drug use are learned behaviors that are taught and supported at Resurgence.

Payment Information

Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.

How to Get Help

Are you looking for peace and balance in your life? At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we are familiar with the complexities of methadone use and addiction. We understand the chemical addiction progression and can ensure a safe medical detox. Call 855-458-0050 to schedule your consultation.