Is Methadone Addictive?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on December 29, 2021

Taken chronically, methadone can become physically addictive, in that it can cause physical dependence. This is different from drug addiction, however, which is a disorder characterized by compulsive, often harmful substance use behaviors.

Is Methadone Addictive?

Methadone is a medication for opioid use disorder that can be addictive. However, this is different from addiction to other opioids of abuse when taken as directed by a doctor.

Methadone is addictive in the sense that its use can result in physical dependence, which may require tapering off the prescription drug slowly or beginning a detox program to stop taking it.

Find out more about the benefits of taking methadone for opioid addiction

Defining Methadone Addiction

While methadone can be addictive, this is not the same as having an addiction to methadone. An addiction is generally accompanied by negative consequences to a person’s life.

Methadone, on the other hand, is associated with a number of benefits for people addicted to other opioids, including a reduced risk of relapse to opioid use and higher quality of life.

When Methadone Addiction Does Occur

Taken as directed, methadone can be safe and effective for long-term use as part of a comprehensive treatment program.

However, a person may become addicted to methadone if the drug is misused by taking street forms of methadone or misusing take-home medication.

What To Do If You Become Addicted To Methadone

Methadone can be physically and psychologically addictive when misused. If this does occur, a more intensive treatment program or a switch to another medication may be recommended.

What to do if you’ve become addicted to methadone:

  • Tell someone you trust: Admitting you have a problem and being open about it is the first step. Consider speaking about this to a trusted friend, family member, or treatment professional.
  • Talk to your doctor: It’s important to be honest with your doctor about your methadone use. Although this can be difficult, it’s best to get a clinician’s guidance for how to proceed.
  • Consider treatment options: Methadone abuse can be a sign that a higher level of care is needed. This may include an inpatient treatment program or a residential program, both of which can offer greater support than can be found in a standard methadone clinic.

Methadone can for many be a life-saving medication. If this medication is not working for you, however, other treatment options may be available.

Benefits Of Methadone For Opioid Addiction

Concerns about becoming addicted to methadone shouldn’t deter a person from beginning methadone maintenance therapy.

Methadone has been safely and effectively used to treat heroin addiction and opioid use disorder for decades.

Although there is a risk for misuse, this risk also exists with almost any prescription medication.

Meanwhile, the benefits of methadone for opioid addiction treatment include:

  • more likely to stay in treatment longer
  • increased ability to find and maintain employment
  • reduced opioid cravings
  • reduced injection drug use
  • reduced criminal activity

Call Today To Find Methadone Treatment

Methadone is commonly offered as a component of a comprehensive treatment program for opioid use disorder and heroin addiction.

If you’re looking for treatment for yourself or a loved one addicted to opioids, call our helpline today to find an addiction treatment program that’s right for you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on December 29, 2021
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