Whether you’re prescribed methadone from your physician to alleviate chronic pain or to help treat an opiate drug addiction, methadone contains very strong addictive properties in which many individuals find themselves addicted. Depending on your prescribed daily dosage and the longer that you have taken methadone, the detox process may take up to several months to be completely symptom-free.
A caveat for individuals wanting to detox from methadone, it’s not medically advisable to just stop taking the medicine “cold turkey.” Withdrawing cold turkey could result in severe medical conditions including seizures. Consult with your physician before beginning a methadone detox treatment program.
What to Expect from Methadone Detox?
Although the process of detoxing is not a pleasant experience, knowing what to expect may help to ease some of the apprehension of the unknown; however, keep in mind that every individual is different, and methadone detox symptoms vary from person to person.
While some methadone users may begin to experience the first withdrawal symptoms within a few hours after their last dose, it may take others up to three days before exhibiting the initial withdrawal symptoms. Generally, withdrawal symptoms are evident for two weeks; however, for long-time methadone users consuming larger dosages withdrawal symptoms could possibly last several months.
What are Methadone Detox Physical Symptoms?
Unfortunately, once detox begins and the body’s normal chemistry soon realizes its lacking the amount of the substance it believes it needs to function, the body begins to send out urgent pain signals to force the body into getting that chemical.
In addition, various other physical symptoms vary from person to person, typical detox symptoms to expect when detoxing from methadone may include but not limited to:
- Fast heartbeat
- Mood swings
- Runny nose or eyes
- Body aches
- Profuse sweating
- Abdominal cramps
How to Safely Detox from Methadone
- Consult with your physician once you’ve decided to detox from methadone. Never try to quit “cold-turkey” without seeking medical advice and supervision. Your physician may be able to prescribe medicines to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms such as an anti-anxiety, mild sedative or anti- inflammatory to help with painful body aches. It’s also a good idea to have Tylenol. Advil, Imodium and Pepto-Bismol in the medicine cabinet.
- Decrease the daily dose of Methadone that you were initially prescribed. Again, it’s best to consult with your physician when reducing your dosage. Generally, it’s recommended to decrease the dose of methadone by 1 mg every other day. Depending on withdrawal symptoms, the reduction of the dosage may need to be tweaked depending upon the individual.
- While detoxing from methadone, or any other substance, it’s very important to maintain a healthy diet. Avoid eating certain foods such as grapefruits, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, and foods high in calories with added preservatives.
- In addition, it’s imperative to drink plenty of fluids, especially water or Gatorade to help flush the toxics out of the body. Exercise also is vital in helping the lymphatic system and digestive system to rid the body of waste.
Commit to the detox program and don’t get discouraged!