Methadone is a synthetic analgesic drug similar to morphine in its effects but longer acting; it is most widely used as a substitute drug in the treatment of heroin and opioid addiction.
Being a full opioid-agonist, methadone creates almost as brutal a withdrawal as withdrawal from heroin or morphine. Since most opioid painkillers and heroin are short-acting opiates, the withdrawal timeline is different from that of methadone. People usually begin experiencing mild methadone withdrawal symptoms 24-48 hours after their last dose. These symptoms can include: restlessness and insomnia, fatigue, increased heart rate, anxiety and depression, diarrhea and stomach cramps, sweating, generalized pain, hot and cold flashes with sweating, and psychological distress including terror/paranoia. The actual severity of these general symptoms is dependent on several factors, including: the daily dose, the duration of daily use, whether or not the person has been tapering off of the drug, the person’s body chemistry, their overall state of physical health/fitness, and their state of mental and emotional well-being going into the withdrawal period.
The timeframe a person experiences methadone withdrawal can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months after the onset of symptoms.
There are programs available to help individuals successfully get through their methadone withdrawal timeline. Some programs are inpatient, where the person will receive around-the-clock care, and others are outpatient. Some people choose to quit taking methadone “cold turkey,” and others opt to seek professional help. In addition, some people have no choice but to take themselves off the drug when resources are not available to them. If a person has the option to taper off, this is typically recommended by doctors. In addition, some herbal remedies are helpful in reducing withdrawal symptoms. Exercise and good nutrition are also highly recommended as soon as possible.
If you or someone you love is thinking of quitting methadone, contact us today and let us help you detox in a safe and professional environment. We can start you on the road to recovery.