Methadone 
and Alcohol

What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opiate analgesic drug used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders including heroin and other opiate pain relievers. When taken as directed, it is highly effective and safe.

Methadone has the reputation of being an effective treatment for many different types of opioid use disorders. Because the drug is generally prescribed to treat symptoms connected to opioid withdrawal, methadone and heroin are often seen as similar. However, methadone is not an opiate in and of itself but is actually an opiate receptor antagonist.

A doctor can prescribe methadone to treat withdrawal symptoms related to abusing heroin and other narcotic pain relievers. In addition to helping address withdrawal, methadone can also be used to ease cravings in people who recently stopped using opiates such as heroin. A doctor can administer methadone through intravenous injection, or a pill may be taken in a clinic.

Methadone and Alcohol Effects

Methadone and alcohol should not be taken together. The problem with mixing methadone and alcohol is that this can lead to serious health issues.

Dangers of Methadone and Alcohol

Combining methadone and alcohol is dangerous because methadone and alcohol effects work on the body in very different ways. Methadone affects the brain by altering how the nervous system and brain react to certain signs, such as cravings and pain from withdrawal.

Methadone Risks

Methadone also has its own set of risks. Methadone carries the risk of serious side effects such as respiratory depression, coma, seizures, and even death. It should never be used by those with preexisting cardiac or psychiatric problems, as that increases the risk that the combination of methadone and alcohol could prove fatal.

Risks of Combining Alcohol and Methadone

Alcohol and methadone have the potential to do more harm than help. Some of the negative effects of the methadone and alcohol combo include depression and irritability. People who take methadone to help them stop abusing heroin or other opiates have higher chances of having depression compared with those who do not take methadone. There is also a greater likelihood of other health problems like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and even suicide. Methadone and alcohol effects are only exacerbated when mixed with other substances.

Alcohol Risks

Alcohol has few benefits. One of the main reasons people choose to take alcohol and methadone together is that the methadone and alcohol effects can give a person an instant buzz without having to deal with the physical and mental side effects of opiates. Because of this, it can make someone feel a lot less “high” after using it, which means that they can take more methadone or drink more alcohol to get the same effect. Another common problem when someone tries to stop taking heroin and opiates while they are on methadone is that they tend to use more to get to the previous good feelings.

Alcohol and Methadone Maintenance Treatment

Methadone Maintenance Treatment refers to treating an individual taking methadone in conjunction with drug rehabilitation, medication, and other forms of therapy. Methadone is not recommended for patients who smoke or consume alcohol due to the risk of methadone and alcohol being fatal. Methadone is not a miracle drug, but rather an effective treatment option when used in conjunction with other treatment methods.

Methadone maintenance can be done in several ways: the doctor may decide that the patient can put methadone directly into the system orally, or administer it through a drip. Methadone may be injected under the skin on the skin surface, like a cream. This Methadone Maintenance Treatment method is usually most effective with those who are suffering from severe substance abuse disorders because the dose required to reduce or completely stop the cravings can be lower than others. It should be cautioned that no matter what method a patient receives during MAT, taking alcohol and methadone is never a good idea since methadone and alcohol can cause serious complications.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there is still hope for those who might be suffering from severe alcohol and methadone abuse. There are plenty of great methadone and alcohol treatment options available today. Whether you need inpatient or outpatient treatment, you can rest assured that there are many support groups and professional teams who have experience with this combination before. Contact your nearest inpatient or outpatient treatment center today.


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Call us today
1 (866) 338-6925