Methadone is a synthetic opioids that is used in treating pain and treating addiction. Classified as Scheduled II drug by the Controlled Substance Act, methadone is both habit forming and potentially addictive. More here on methadone withdrawal with a section at the end for your questions.
When does methadone withdrawal start?
Methadone withdrawal starts when the methadone dose is lowered or quit completely. This withdrawal is not like the other opioid withdrawals: it stars a while after the last methadone intake. Usually, methadone withdrawal symptoms manifest three days after dose reduction, and could last 7-10 days. However, because every individual reacts differently to the drug, withdrawal symptoms may be different and could last from several weeks to month on a case-by-case basis.
Methadone withdrawal symptoms
In general, methadone withdrawal symptoms are not as severe or intense as other opioid withdrawal symptoms. They are typically flu-like symptoms. But why does withdrawal occur in the first place? What’s the brain science behind the discomfort?
Methadone affects the brain by blocking areas that cause euphoria while occupying receptors to postpone symptoms of opiate or opioid withdrawal. However, after consuming methadone daily for a certain period of time, the body creates gets used to the presence of the drug. This means that the body has developed methadone dependence, and has adapted by speeding up some actions and slowing down others. For methadone dependent people, the body can function “normally” only in the presence of methadone.
When you experience methadone withdrawal symptoms, the body is actually seeking homeostasis. Methadone withdrawal is the process during which the human system gets rid of a drug and stabilizes. The reason why withdrawal happens is that the brain is trying to maintain balanced after the body has become methadone tolerant. Moreover, the symptoms are just like flu. The most common symptoms which are reported during methadone withdrawal include:
- pain in the muscles or bones
- runny nose
- sleeping disorder(s)
- watery eyes
Methadone withdrawal timing
Usually, methadone withdrawal symptoms manifest three days after the last dose. Acute withdrawal usually lasts for 7-10 days, but if the methadone use was long-term, some symptoms can persist for several weeks or months, especially those related to mood and sleep.
Methadone withdrawal tips
Going through methadone withdrawal can be uncomfortable. In one word, be organized. Consult with medical professionals ahead of time. Be prepared with the support, aids, and therapies that you’ll need during this time. And always consult with a doctor, seek help from a methadone detox clinic, and/or reach out to an addiction professional to support and guide you through the process. You may require a structured methadone addiction treatment if you’ve been taking methadone for a long period of time or abuse methadone illegally (without a prescription).
Further, creating an individualized tapering calendar and sticking to it can help minimize the severity or intensity of symptoms. Plus, over-the-counter aids are excellent for over passing methadone withdrawal symptoms more easily. Be sure to drink fluids to avoid dehydration. Also, consider the user of body and mind therapies to focus your energies on your recovery and to help motivate you through withdrawal.
Methadone withdrawal questions
This article only covers the basic points about methadone withdrawal symptoms. If you still have any questions and/or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us in the comments section below. All your comments are welcomed and appreciated. We try to respond to all legitimate concerns with a personal and prompt response.