Methadone, a medication used to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms, has side effects and interactions like any other medication. When combined with alcohol, methadone can become dangerous due to the interaction between the two drugs. Learn the risks associated with drinking alcohol while taking methadone.
In the field of addiction care, methadone has more than 50 years of results helping patients with opioid use disorder. Methadone counts as an opioid drug, but it can help you manage withdrawal symptoms with a doctor’s supervision. Your physician will determine a dose that provides benefits without creating a “high.” When you take this medicine as recommended by your doctor, you can experience fewer physical effects and cravings. To stay safe while using methadone, you need to follow your doctor’s instructions and consider drug interactions.
Why Do People Combine Methadone and Alcohol?
A person might use alcohol with methadone for a variety of reasons, including:
- Unawareness: Some patients who take methadone don’t know about its interaction with alcohol. When they drink, they experience effects they didn’t expect would happen.
- Intentional misuse: In other cases, the person might take methadone and alcohol together to increase the intoxication they feel. These people understand that the drugs affect each other and want to take advantage of the interaction.
- Comorbid alcoholism: Certain patients who have opioid use disorder also have alcohol use disorder in a phenomenon known as comorbidity. They might receive methadone for their opioid use disorder but don’t have a treatment for their alcohol use disorder.
Regardless of the reason, the combination of alcohol and methadone can have severe consequences.
What Happens When You Take Alcohol and Methadone Together?
When you drink alcohol while taking methadone, the alcohol puts you at a higher risk of a methadone overdose. As we mentioned earlier, you can have a safe methadone treatment plan with a doctor’s help. However, doing activities that go against that treatment plan, such as alcohol use, can put you in danger. Alcohol increases the risk of shallow or stopped breathing associated with opioids. This effect, known as respiratory depression, acts as one of the leading causes of opioid overdose. Combining alcohol and methadone can also cause:
- Memory problems
- Motor control difficulties
- Behavior changes
If you take methadone for opioid use disorder, remember to practice caution in environments involving drinking and opt for non-alcoholic alternatives.
How to Get Help If You Combine Methadone and Alcohol
If you misuse methadone and alcohol together or have both opioid and alcohol use disorder, a substance use treatment center can help. These clinics help patients who have substance use disorders recover. An opioid use disorder clinic such as MedMark Treatment Centers specializes in assisting people addicted to opioids. They can coordinate your care with other treatment centers to address all your symptoms.
Let MedMark Treatment Centers Help
Do you think you or a loved one has an opioid addiction? MedMark Treatment Centers and our affiliates help patients across the United States work toward drug-free living. Find the closest center to you using our map and call us at 866-840-6658 to schedule an appointment.