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Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

by | Last updated Sep 23, 2020 at 11:09AM | Published on Feb 2, 2015 | Drug Addiction, Opioid Addiction

Methadone Withdrawal

Methadone is an interesting drug that comes with a lot of controversies. Most of the time, methadone is a prescription drug to treat severe pain. However, although methadone can be addictive, it’s often used to treat addiction to potent opioids like heroin. It’s a beneficial medication-assisted treatment for those who need it. But, when people stop taking it, they can quickly experience methadone withdrawal symptoms. 

Methadone, which is an opioid, can be highly addictive. Even when someone is trying to control their addiction to another prescription painkiller, they can fall addicted to methadone. 

When someone stops taking methadone, they’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. And, going through methadone withdrawal is a painful experience that can lead to numerous side effects. When discussing treatment options with your doctor, consider all the options before choosing methadone maintenance as your go-to solution. 

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Methadone detox or symptoms of methadone withdrawal start quickly after someone stops taking the medication. At first, symptoms feel like a nasty flu case. However, these symptoms can stay for several days, sometimes weeks. When you stop taking methadone, you’re likely to experience mental health and physical symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Tiredness
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Muscle aches
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Methadone cravings

While methadone withdrawal isn’t life-threatening, it can lead to many uncomfortable side effects. Sometimes, people can experience respiratory depression, low blood pressure, and low levels of potassium. When any of these methadone side effects happen, it can be quite dangerous if someone doesn’t have the right medical supervision. 

Methadone Withdrawal Timeline

Methadone Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for methadone withdrawal symptoms to appear might be different for every person. Usually, age, weight, height, length of abuse, and other indicators determine how quickly someone will experience withdrawal symptoms. However, in most cases, the methadone withdrawal timeline looks something like this:

  • First symptoms will start approximately 24-36 hours after the last methadone dose
  • By days 3-8, methadone cravings are at its worst. By the end of the first week, methadone withdrawal symptoms reach their peak
  • Symptoms start to subside by days 9-15, although some mild symptoms will remain
  • Cravings, sleeping problems, and anxiety can last for 2-3 weeks

Even after the detox process, some people will experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). In this case, withdrawal symptoms can continue for months. In some cases, people might experience symptoms of flare-ups for up to two years after quitting.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms Treatment

Unfortunately, there isn’t an approved medication for methadone withdrawal symptoms. Methadone withdrawal can be quite dangerous, which is why it’s advised to seek medical assistance at a rehab center or detox facility. Having doctors or specialists by your side can be paramount if you experience any side effects during the withdrawal process. 

While there isn’t a medication to directly treat methadone withdrawal, sometimes specific drugs might be incorporated in the detox process to help ease the symptoms. Those include:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Naloxone
  • Clonidine 

Also, even those with a methadone addiction can potentially enroll in methadone therapy or methadone maintenance programs. These are government-approved treatment programs with medical supervision. In these programs, a doctor monitors your methadone intake. They’ll then start tapering off your dose to ensure the withdrawal process is safe, effective, and as comfortable as possible. These therapies are fantastic to prepare patients for an inpatient rehabilitation program or other forms of drug rehab. 

Also, these types of programs are excellent choices in preventing relapse. When people experience withdrawal symptoms, they’re likely to return to their drug abuse and often overdose or experience severe side effects. It’s important to talk to your doctor about the different options available.

Is It Time to Seek Help?

There’s no doubt methadone addiction can be challenging to fight, especially with the substance becoming legal in so many states. But it isn’t impossible. Anyone who chooses to quit methadone needs to find the right support system to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Thus, finding a partial hospitalization program (PHP) that monitors the detox process is paramount for a controlled and supervised scenario.

Many addiction treatment centers count with addiction specialists that can guide people through their recovery. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our drug rehab programs include:

Medical Detox: In this clinically supervised detox process at the rehab center, we ensure the patient’s safety and make the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and using medication-assisted treatment services to guarantee a complete detoxification process.

Intensive Outpatient Programs: When patients are looking to seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs are a more flexible option that still gives people access to the help they need.

Group Therapy: Recovering addicts need to build a healthy support system that encourages their recovery and sobriety. A support group gives them a safe space to foster these relationships and continue working through their recovery after leaving inpatient treatment programs.

Long-term Recovery Programs: With long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety. Recovery programs are crucial to relapse prevention. They’re also a great place to work on their mental health and have access to substance abuse treatment as they step into the early days of recovery.

Get Help

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorders, ask for help immediately. Please, call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.

We offer unique and personalized treatment plans because we believe no two addictions are alike. The journey towards recovery is a long one, but together and with your family and friends’ support, we’ll make it. Whether you or a loved one is thinking about starting addiction treatment, don’t delay it. Start your addiction treatment journey today. 

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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