Changes in mood are common among people with opioid use disorder who are receiving methadone maintenance therapy (MMT), but anger is not.
Anger issues are not a common side effect of methadone maintenance therapy, although this can occur as a result of other personal or substance-use-related factors.
What Can Cause Anger While Taking Methadone?
Although anger issues aren’t commonly reported as a side effect of methadone, this can occur in some people who take the drug for heroin addiction or opioid dependence.
Potential causes of this include:
- benzodiazepine abuse
- methadone abuse
- co-occurring mental health disorders
- stress and other personal factors
- chronic effects of drug addiction
Learn more about potential causes of anger issues while taking methadone:
Benzodiazepine Abuse While Taking Methadone
Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription medications that are commonly abused with opioids due to their ability to enhance the effects of opioid drugs.
Mixing benzodiazepines with opioids (including methadone) can be very dangerous, with the potential to cause respiratory depression and life-threatening overdose.
According to an article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, this can also lead to anger attacks in people receiving MMT.
Other signs of benzodiazepine abuse in people receiving MMT can include:
- sleeping more often than usual
- slurred speech
- severe sedation
- very slow or shallow breathing
- impaired coordination and balance
Methadone Abuse Can Cause Anger Issues
Taking a therapeutic dose of methadone for opioid addiction is unlikely to cause severe shifts in mood or hostility.
However, changes to mood can occur if the drug is being taken in ways other than directed by a doctor, such as using street forms of methadone or misusing take-home methadone.
Methadone abuse, or a return to the use of opioids like heroin, may cause anger, aggressiveness, or hostility.
Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders And Anger
Dramatic mood swings can be a sign of untreated or undertreated mental illness, particularly with psychotic disorders.
Displays of anger may be a sign of emotional pain, internal struggle, or a psychotic episode in which a person has, temporarily, lost touch with reality.
Mental health disorders commonly co-occur with substance use disorders and can be effectively managed with behavioral health treatment and social support services.
Stress And Related Factors Can Cause Anger
Drug addiction is commonly associated with high levels of stress, and this can persist into recovery.
If someone is feeling stressed, they may be more likely to act out in anger, turn inwards, or behave in ways that are uncharacteristic of their usual selves.
This may not be a sign of drug misuse or relapse, but rather that a person may need more emotional or behavioral support than they are currently receiving.
Chronic Effects Of Drug Addiction
Chronic addiction to opioids like heroin has been linked to higher levels of hostility and aggression, in part due to the effects of illicit drug use on the brain over time.
Chronic anger issues or aggression as a result of long-term drug abuse may be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other behavioral treatment services.
Are Anger Issues From Methadone Normal?
Side effects of methadone as a maintenance treatment for opiate addiction can vary from person to person.
Although anger issues aren’t common when this medication is taken as directed, you may wish to let your doctor know if you or a loved one is having issues while taking methadone.
Find Help For Opioid Addiction Today
Methadone is one of the oldest and most effective treatments for opioid use disorder, when taken as directed, and ideally as one component of a full rehab program.
For more information about methadone for addiction, or to find an addiction treatment program at a rehab center near you, call our helpline to learn more today.
Published on July 12, 2021
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
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- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health — What we have learned from the Methadone Maintenance Treatment of Dual Disorder Heroin Use Disorder patients
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Methadone
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) — FDA requires strong warnings for opioid analgesics, prescription opioid cough products, and benzodiazepine labeling related to serious risks and death from combined use
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders Research Report