Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms, Signs, and Detoxification

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms and Signs and Detoxification

A person may suffer methadone withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops using it. There are methadone withdrawal treatment options available.


Takeaways from this article:

  • american addiction centers photo

    When does methadone withdrawal start?

  • american addiction centers photo

    Side effects of methadone withdrawal

  • american addiction centers photo

    How to detox from methadone


When methadone was first introduced in 1947, it was primarily used to treat severe pain. Today, the synthetic opioid is used to treat addictions to drugs like heroin. Methadone, however, is also an addictive substance. A person may suffer methadone withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops using it. If you or someone you love is addicted to this substance, there are methadone withdrawal treatment options available.

Signs of Methadone Withdrawals

Methadone is an opiate, and sustained usage can lead to physical dependency. When use of the drug stops, a person may experience the following methadone withdrawal symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Feelings of anxiety and agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lacrimation

The symptoms of methadone withdrawal usually appear about 30 hours after the last exposure to drug.

Withdrawing from Methadone: Options for Help

Withdrawing from methadone can be physically and emotionally challenging. With the right support and tools, however, a person can recover from an addiction to the drug and live a healthy life.

One option for treating an addiction to methadone is to switch to a different kind of medication. An alternative medication that is frequently used to treat an opiate addiction is Suboxone. This medication contains two active ingredients, buprenorphine, and naloxone, that work together to reduce a person’s dependence on an opiate drug like methadone.

Although buprenorphine is similar to morphine and other opiates, it does not produce a strong euphoric effect. Thus, a person is less likely to become addicted to this medication. Naloxone blocks the effect that opiates have on the body, which reduces the likelihood of a fatal overdose from opiate abuse and eases detoxification.

Another methadone withdrawal treatment option is to gradually reduce the dosage taken. This option gives the body time to wean itself from its dependence on the drug. Although it may take a longer period of time to overcome the addiction, the symptoms of methadone withdrawal may not be as acute as they would be if the person quit using the drug immediately.

Detoxing, Addiction Treatment Rehab, and Recovery

Rapid Anesthesia Methadone Detox is a method of detoxification that involves putting the person under general anesthesia. The idea is to allow the person to sleep through the detoxification process. The person may be given medication and/or supplements to speed the cleansing process.

This method of detoxification is somewhat controversial. One of the symptoms of methadone withdrawal is vomiting. There is a concern that the patient may suffocate on his or her vomit while under the anesthesia. Another concern is that the patient may wake up before the detoxification process is complete and experience the discomfort associated with detox. In some cases, though, Rapid Anesthesia Methadone Detox may be the best way to get through the physical pain of methadone withdrawal.

While you can go through the rehabilitation process at home, it is often best to check into a treatment facility. At a rehab center, you will have access to experienced and knowledgeable staff members who can assist you with the challenges of overcoming an addiction.

At an addiction treatment center, your physical health will be closely monitored to ensure the methadone withdrawal process does not become life-threatening. You may be given medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. The center will also address other health complications such as malnutrition.

Counseling and therapy is usually a part of methadone withdrawal treatment. In addition to addressing the underlying cause of the addiction, the person will be taught the coping skills he or she needs to continue living a drug-free life. This will help the person during the recovery process when they must reintegrate into society.

Physical recovery from a methadone addiction can take up to four weeks depending on the person’s physiology and the amount of time he or she has been using the drug. Emotional, mental, and spiritual recovery may take longer. As long as the person has the right support, however, he or she can get through methadone withdrawal treatment.

Methadone Information at a Glance
Medication Name, Costs Class of Medicine
  • Generic Name: Methadone
  • Generic Name Variations: N/A
  • Chemical Name: Methadone hydrochloride
  • Brand Name: Dolophine
  • Brand Name Variations: N/A
  • Cost/Price: For a methadone detox, it can cost anywhere from $50-300 per week.
  • Used to Treat Addiction? Yes
  • Function or Use at Low Dose: Pain reliever
  • Function or Use at High Dose: Help treat addiction to opiate drugs, such as heroin
  • Chemical Makeup: C21H27NO
  • System: Opioid analgesic
  • Duration of Action: Methadone has a very long duration of action.
Form, Intake and Dosage Interactions and Complications
  • Drug Forms: Tablet/elixir
  • Administration Routes: Oral/injection
  • Dosage: For injections, usually 10mg
  • Overdose: N/A
  • Alcohol Interaction: Methadone should be avoided with alcohol, as it can increase the effects of alcohol.
  • Illicit Drugs: Methadone is used to treat addiction to illicit drugs, so taking illicit drugs should be avoided.
  • Prescription Medications: Consult your doctor before taking any prescription medications with methadone.
  • Contraindications: Bronchial asthma, respiratory depression
Effects and Adverse Reactions Substance Abuse
  • Short-Term: Lightheadedness, dizziness, sweating
  • Long-Term: Respiratory depression, sedation
  • Risk of Substance Abuse: Methadone is highly addictive and has a high risk of abuse.
  • Signs of Abuse: Neglect, anxiety
Physiological Problem Signs and Symptoms Dependence and Addiction Issues
  • Withdrawal Syndrome Onset: N/A
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Lightheadedness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, tremors, tachycardia, high blood pressure, depression, fatigue, agitation, anxiety, delirium, paranoia, and delusions
  • Tolerance: After time, your body can build up a tolerance to methadone.
  • Cross Dependence: N/A
  • Physical Dependence: N/A
  • Psychological Dependence: Because of how methadone affects the chemical balances in your brain, your brain can become dependent on it in order to function properly
Legal Schedules and Ratings
  • Controlled Substances Act Rating: Schedule II