Author: Charles Frank

Methadone Withdrawal: Symptoms, Treatment, and More I Psych Central

how long do methadone withdrawals last

Once they reach peak severity, your symptoms will begin to resolve. The acute (short-term) symptoms should disappear within two weeks. Some people have a genetic tendency towards addiction and may have loved ones who have undergone addiction and rehab. The first step to stopping methadone is consulting with your prescribing doctor.

While it is slowly weaned off methadone, its chemical makeup is regulated. This allows the brain to start producing, moving, and reabsorbing neurotransmitters like dopamine on its own without the interaction of methadone. In this way, the brain isn’t shocked by the sudden processing out of methadone, which can leave a major imbalance in its wake. While specifics will vary from person to person, on average, the methadone dosage can be lowered between 10 percent and 50 percent at tailored intervals. For some people, the dose may be lowered daily; for others, it may be lowered every two weeks.

Emotional support

Keeping in regular contact with your healthcare team, if you have one, can help make the process more tolerable. You may be prescribed anti-nausea medications or medications to help ease anxiety and irritability. Buprenorphine, clonidine, and naloxone are all medications that can help relieve symptoms. If you have discomfort after suddenly stopping methadone or decreasing your dose, you may be experiencing withdrawal. You may either have to resupply the substance or let your body go through the withdrawal process while it creates a natural state of balance again.

how long do methadone withdrawals last

Tapering methadone means gradually taking smaller doses over the course of several weeks or months. Although tapering is considered the best way of detoxing from methadone, it can still be challenging. You are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms each time your dose is cut. Working closely with a doctor, you can extend your taper timeline and reduce your dose by smaller increments if necessary. Quitting methadone can be a long and frustrating process, even for people without an opioid addiction.

It can be harder for an older person to recover from withdrawal as quickly as a younger person might. Your body will let you know by generating a number of uncomfortable, often severe symptoms. Binding to mu receptors isn’t the only mode of action methadone has in your body. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.

Let your doctor know any troubles you are having so that they can help treat your withdrawal symptoms if they arise. Support groups can connect you with others who understand what you’re going through. Since methadone can be addictive, it must be used exactly as the doctor prescribes it.

Individual variability in Methadone Withdrawals

Withdrawal is highly individual, and no two people will experience it in the same way. Recreational use of methadone can include snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug. For example, if you were taking methadone for chronic pain, you may see a return of pain symptoms and withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, they are reversible, and you will stabilize after a few days. You can avoid the rebound phenomenon by working with a medical team for withdrawal.

It is important to note that methadone is a synthetic opioid that works like other common opioids. And because it’s an opioid, stopping methadone causes opioid withdrawal. When used correctly at a “maintenance dose,” methadone prevents withdrawal symptoms without making you high or sedated. Generally, the longer you use it, the better your chances of recovery.

Symptoms may vary depending on several issues, such as the speed of the opioid taper and how long you’ve used opioid medicines. Tapering over time can help lessen withdrawal symptoms or keep you from having them. Your healthcare professional may recommend that you have naloxone available to lower your risk of an overdose.

  1. It allows people to recover from their opioid use disorder, giving them the ability to reclaim their lives.
  2. If you suddenly take a higher dose of opioids, you’re at an increased risk of overdose.
  3. Methadone is an opioid medication used during medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help people reduce or quit their use of opioids, such as heroin or fentanyl.
  4. Your healthcare professional may recommend continued counseling after you’ve completed your opioid taper.

However, everyone’s experience getting off methadone is different. Some people find methadone withdrawal less intense than they expected. Others think it’s worse than withdrawing from a short-acting opioid like heroin. You may have withdrawal symptoms when you stop or lessen the use of opioid medicine.

Average Methadone Withdrawal Timeline

Tapering means slowly lowering over time the amount of opioid medicine you take until you stop completely. Symptoms of methadone withdrawal, also sometimes referred to as methadone detox, typically start to appear approximately hours after you last took the drug. The duration of the process varies from person to person, but may last anywhere from 2-3 weeks up to 6 months. Medical detox programs are generally about five to seven days in duration, though this can vary according to the individual. Methadone withdrawal can be managed through medical detox, and it should be followed by a complete addiction treatment program to sustain long-term recovery.

The length of time a person persists on methadone treatment depends of their situation. Some say that six months to a year is a good term for methadone maintenance. Others may stay on methadone indefinitely if it keeps them clean.

What is Methadone Misuse?

These symptoms are most common in people who have been misusing opioids over a long period of time. Your healthcare professional may recommend combining your taper with counseling from an alcohol and drug counselor. Counseling can help you learn ways to cope with stress, identify early warning signs of relapse and keep you from taking opioids. Your healthcare professional may recommend continued counseling after you’ve completed your opioid taper. How long it takes to taper off your medicine depends on the type and dose of the opioid you’ve been taking and how long you’ve been taking it.

If The Recovery Village is not the right fit for you or your loved one, we will help refer you to a facility that is. In some cases, you may not find a lot of support from your family because they may not be able to understand. Seeking out other recovering methadone users can help you find people who understand what you’re going through and help you stay on track with your recovery.

With a short-acting opioid, these withdrawal symptoms can be intense, but they typically peak within a couple of days and begin to resolve. If you find yourself having difficulty during your taper, support from others can be very helpful. If you and your healthcare professional think you have an opioid use disorder, voluntary groups such as Narcotics Anonymous are structured support groups. They are led by other people who have been dependent on addictive substances. These groups can be a powerful support network for those who find that they aren’t able to quit using opioids despite their best efforts.