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 April 11, 2023

What are Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatments

Methadone may be life-saving to those struggling to detox from opioid addiction or the abuse of other narcotic drugs. It can also enable an individual to wean off of opioids whenever prescribed in measured quantities. A licensed medical expert typically dispenses this medication to the patient.

Other medications, including buprenorphine (Suboxone) and naltrexone (Vivitrol), have been fronted as methadone’s replacements. However, the drug is still used to a great extent for managing withdrawal. It is important to note that these medications may have strong abuse potential. These medications could cause new problems for a person recovering from narcotics or severe opioid addiction.

Three hundred forty-six thousand persons age 12 and older acknowledged misusing this drug in 2016. This data is according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). And, because methadone is an opioid, it can cause psychological and physical dependence.

What is Methadone Withdrawal?

Methadone’s effects on the brain are comparable to those of other opioids. The drug binds to the brain’s mu-opioid receptors when it circulates in the bloodstream. This activates the neuronal pathways that regulate pleasure and satisfaction. These pleasant experiences might encourage the emergence of compulsive tendencies of abuse. 

Chronic opioid use results in diminishing effects each time. Because of this growing tolerance, more methadone is required to mimic the initial dosage’s effects. Tolerance development is a typical and expected side effect of long-term methadone consumption, as with most other drugs. 

The brain grows even more reliant on the medication with prolonged use over time. Soon the brain may become dependent on the drug to feel good and function as it should.

They easily disturb this delicate balance whenever the addict skips or gets a lesser drug dose. The addict may experience a wide range of upsetting withdrawal symptoms. The methadone withdrawal symptoms arise because the body has to ascertain how to function without the drug. The withdrawal symptoms make recovery even more complex and relapse highly likely. 

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms, How Long Does Methadone Withdrawal Last?

How long methadone withdrawal lasts is one of the biggest concerns about the methadone detoxification procedure. 

Three stages make up the withdrawal timetable.

  • Early;
  • Acute; and 
  • Protracted.


Patients requiring methadone are typically sensitive to opioid withdrawal and may exhibit symptoms a few hours after their previous dose. Early withdrawal results in milder symptoms that last one to two days.

During the acute phases of withdrawal, patients report the worst withdrawal effects. Patients commonly encounter relapses at this point. After the acute withdrawal has passed and symptoms have peaked, they drop off but may persist. A patient’s lingering opioid usage disorder and substance abuse history are among the more challenging aspects of methadone treatment.

The first signs of methadone withdrawal often show 24 to 36 hours after your last dose. A doctor should oversee the detoxification process to ensure that the entire process is impeccable. Depending on the individual, the process could take 2-3 weeks to 6 months.

Within the initial 30 hours after stopping methadone use, you can experience withdrawal symptoms, which include:

  • Weariness
  • Anxiousness
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning 
  • Difficulties sleeping


Withdrawal symptoms may initially feel similar to flu. However, these symptoms can last for many days and be very uncomfortable. After around three days, some signs could reach their climax. 

These withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Aches and pains in the muscles
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Goosebumps
  • Cramping
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Drug desires 


The first week is probably when the symptoms are harshest. However, some effects could persist for even more than a week. Low energy levels, anxiousness, difficulty sleeping, and depression are a few of these.

The difficulty of withdrawal may make the person more likely to resort to other opioids, which can be dangerous. As a result, if approved, some patients prefer to continue their methadone treatment but at lesser doses. A physician can address any other tapering effort when a person stabilizes at low dosages.

When displaying these characteristics, consult a doctor or healthcare provider about methadone withdrawal treatment.

Treatment Options for Methadone Withdrawal

Treatment for methadone withdrawal is a complex and sensitive medical procedure that requires an experienced physician’s guidance. An expert at methadone detox can aid patients in achieving sobriety in a sanitary, caring, and supportive setting. Those that attempt to treat their methadone withdrawal by themselves frequently give in to the withdrawal symptoms. Or, in the worst case, they may relapse into their original opioid addiction.

Drug treatment facilities provide a customized treatment plan for every patient, relying on the knowledge of doctors and therapists. The best shot for recovery for moderate-to-severe methadone abusers is nearly always an inpatient treatment program. 

The patient receives round-the-clock medical care, a range of therapy options, and helpful life skills instruction from inpatient programs. Each treatment program differs, yet there are hundreds of alternatives, ensuring that there is a perfect fit for every patient.

For individuals whose drug abuse specialist deems their methadone dependencies mild, outpatient care is another possibility. Besides, those who have finished an inpatient program but are fresh to recovery should seek outpatient care.

Every patient should have expert support in choosing the care level because there are several types of outpatient care, such as: 

  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs);
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs); and 
  • Standard Outpatient Programs (OPs).


Let Restore Detox Centers in San Diego Help You Recover From Methadone Addiction 

At Restore Detox Centers, we prioritize our patient’s unique requirements, from addiction treatment to mental health management. And, to ensure the best possible chance for long-term recovery, we provide a secure and welcoming atmosphere. Besides, we formulate our alcohol and drug treatment programs to assist you in leading a happy, better lifestyle without substance dependence. 

Contact us to learn more about our program and how we can help.

About Restore

Are you or someone you care about struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in San Diego, California? Look no further than Restore Detox Centers, the leading 24-hour residential treatment facility. Our dedicated team is committed to providing effective rehabilitation services tailored to your individual needs.

We understand the challenges you face on your path to recovery, which is why we offer a comprehensive range of programs, including medically assisted detox and residential treatment. Our ultimate goal is to guide you towards a life free from addiction and help you achieve long-term success. 

Rest assured that our facility is accredited by The Joint Commission, guaranteeing the highest standards of quality and safety. You can rely on our compassionate team of professionals to support you every step of the way. 

If you're ready to take the first step towards healing, don't hesitate to contact Restore Detox Centers today. Let us be your trusted partner in your journey to recovery.

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