How To Detox From Methadone

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For decades, methadone has been used to help in the treatment of opioid addiction, from street-level heroin, prescription opioids and morphine to name a few. A synthetic analgesic, methadone (also known as symoron, dolophine, and methadose) acts as a replacement or substitute for the opioid drug that an individual is addicted and it lessens the withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone is seen as a harm reduction tool, allowing the addict to stabilize and ideally find a favorable long-term recovery outcome. While methadone is safe when taken as prescribed it is a powerful drug and if abused can be highly addictive and can cause significant bodily damage. In those cases, methadone detoxification will be needed to physically and mentally stabilize the addict.

Why Methadone Detox Is Important

Medical detoxification from methadone is important in the fact that methadone itself belongs to the opioid family and with opioid drugs individuals who take them can build up tolerance. Once tolerance is built up it a person that is addicted to methadone will need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects. If an individual tries to stop the use of methadone by themselves there are both significant physical and psychological withdrawals symptoms. The physical withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Chills, which may be accompanied by goosebumps
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Body pain
  • Muscle twitching
  • Respiratory complications
  • Coma

Like other drugs in the opioid and opiate family, there are significant psychological effects associated with methadone withdrawal which can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Strong cravings (both physical and psychological)
  • Nervousness

The strongest withdrawal symptoms occur within the first 24 to 72 hours after an individual stops using the drug. It is crucial that a methadone detox intervention takes place to help minimize the physical and psychological symptoms as well as stabilizes the individual for more formal treatment.


Methadone Detoxification Options

Ideally, the process of detoxing from methadone should take place at an inpatient treatment facility that includes consistent medical monitoring around the clock. Since methadone affects each individual differently and differs regarding overall health and previous drug history, the detox process is crucial for both monitoring and adjusting the protocol. There are two main types of methadone detoxification; gradual methadone detoxification and rapid methadone detoxification.

With gradual methadone detox, the dosage of methadone is gradually decreased until usage of the drug is stopped entirely. The gradual method of methadone detoxification is typically carried out in an outpatient treatment facility, and there is little or nothing done to treat the patient’s withdrawal symptoms. This approach is not the most effective unless carried out in an inpatient methadone addiction treatment program.

With rapid methadone detoxification, the process is typically carried out in an inpatient treatment facility. A general anesthetic is administered in order to sedate the patient during the first hours of detox. This sedation typically lasts about an hour and the methadone withdrawal symptoms are eliminated or significantly reduced. Following the sedation, the patient’s physical and emotional well-being is closely monitored by doctors and therapists in order to ensure they are ready to enter into methadone addiction rehab and recovery.

Hydration and its Role in Methadone Detox Process

In the detoxification process from methadone addiction, adequate hydration should be an important factor to consider in the fact that detox can cause upset stomach and other digestive complications. Regular consumption of water can help alleviate those concerns and aid the process. Adequate hydration can be achieved by the use of administering liquids intravenously along with the addition of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.

Need Help? Call Us Today

Whether you choose the rapid or gradual methadone detox process, the best way to do it is at a detox facility where you will be medically supervised. This way, you can mitigate or avoid the dangers of withdrawal in comfort and safety. At the Palm Beach Institute, we can help you take that first step along the road to recovery. Call our addiction specialists today at 1-855-534-3574 and get a free assessment and consultation.



Staff Writer

The Palm Beach Institute employs a diverse staff of writers that share a common passion for helping those who are struggling with substance abuse find the care they need. With years of experience in the substance abuse treatment industry and decades of experience in writing and research, our team of writers constantly strive to present accurate and helpful information that is easily digestible and encourages people to seek help.

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  • My son has decided to detox on his own, he has been going to a methadone clinic for 6 years and has had enough of their run around as he calls it. His dose was at 21 mg. a day, today is his 3 day with out anything. What should I expect and is there anything I can do to help him with this.

    Any info you can give me.
    Thank You Eileen

  • I’ve be on Methadone for 1,5 yrs first prescribed for pain mgmnt. I’ve had surgeries to correct my pain issues but cant seem to get off Meth. Can u help me?

    1. If you are currently dealing with methadone addiction in your life, you can contact our representatives for no-obligation information about treatment options. There are now many inpatient detox centers that provide treatment for methadone addiction, and we will help you understand and evaluate your options.

  • Yes, there are numerous options that decrease the terrible psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms associated with detoxification from Methadone. Depending of course on just what your daily dose is, a very slow taper is preferred to rapid detox. If you have been fortunate enough to have been given a prescription of Methadone every month, you can begin a five milligram decrease every month until you reach a point when you feel you cannot hang on anymore: usually around 20 to 30mg. At this point, the most resistance comes from the psychological aspects of detox, not the physical. You need to speak with your physician for a prescription for anxietyolytics, such as Xanax, or Valium or Clonazepam. This will help you through to the end. When you have been Methadone free for a month, YOU HAVE MADE IT. I also hear that marijuana can help with the anxiety and anorexia. During the detox, check your vital signs such as blood pressure. For diarrhea, loperamide and for vomiting speak with your doctor. The most important thing to remember is to never use cross tolerant drugs to control the withdrawal symptoms; that is, don’t use opiate based diarrhea medicine or any medicine that can replace the methadone. It may be rough, but you can do it. Also, if you need help don’t be afraid to ask for it because you do not want people to regard you as a drug addict, get the help you need. This methadone is not street drug and has been prescribed for 6 years, right? You have been given prescriptions legally. Also let your pain Doctor know what you plan to do. GOOD LUCK, MY FRIEND

    1. Summer,

      Please check the email you provided when leaving this comment – we will have someone reach out to you ASAP.

    1. Jessica,

      You can get in touch with SAMHSA (1-877-726-4727) and they can help you find a state funded, self-pay, or free program based on your location.

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