Methadone is a synthesized pain reliever commonly linked with treating opiate addiction such as heroin. Aside from this purpose, methadone is also effective for pain relief providing similar effects as that of morphine and most other narcotics.
- Methadone is effective on some parts of the spinal cord and the brain by blocking the euphoric high that is commonly experienced with opiate use.
- It is also known to effectively minimize cravings as well as symptoms of withdrawal from opiate use.
- The prescription drug is similar in action to most synthetic medicines categorized under opioids.
- Opiates are those substances that are directly taken from opium plant. Examples are morphine, codeine, and heroin.
German scientists crafted the chemical structure of the drug back in the 30’s.
Methadone production was prompted by the need to create a synthetic pain reliever that has lesser addictive properties than morphine or most other opiates. German scientists Max Bockmühl and Gustav Ehrhart were the first ones who aimed to develop the synthetic substance back in 1937. The result was known as Hoechst 10820 or polamidon. During the second World War, Bockmühl’s and Ehrhart’s research expanded through the efforts of other German scientists. They made a synthetic drug from the original medicine, primarily because there was a shortage in morphine availability.
When the World War II ended, U.S. was able to obtain rights to the drug and was since then called methadone. It was first introduced in the country in 1947 and was marketed as a medicine for pain relief; used for treating various conditions. The effectivity eventually led to the idea that methadone can positively work as a treatment for addiction to narcotic drugs.
However, it was not until the 1960’s that advancements were made regarding this pain relief drug. In the early years of the decade, treatments using methadone started to expand and the U.S. government then set regulations in place for methadone against addiction. In 2001, these regulations have been expanded and modified to dispense the drug in a more controlled way.
The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine reveals that methadone acts as therapy to stabilize the chemical imbalances of the brain.
The long-term abuse of methadone and opiates, in general, can affect the brain through correcting the chemical imbalance that occurred throughout addiction. The effect is a better mood, thinking, and overall sense of well-being.
In methadone treatments, the behavioral component can address the psychological impact of addiction. Behavioral treatments can be in the form of:
- Group therapy
- 12 Step support groups
- Relapse prevention
- Individual psychotherapy
- Drug education
Being a synthetic opiate drug, methadone can mimic the effects of addictive opiate drugs without carrying a high risk for addiction and abuse. Not only do long-term opiate addictions damage the chemical processes of the brain, but also warps the mindset geared towards drug use. Although methadone may correct chemical imbalances, still the emotional patterns and destructive thinking left behind by addiction to opiates linger longer.