Methadone is a synthetic opioid drug that is used primarily in opioid replacement therapy. It is also commonly used as an analgesic drug due to its pain-relieving properties. For individuals with chronic pain, taking Methadone may provide effective pain relief. This is a drug that acts on the same opioid receptors in the brain as both morphine and heroin – which leads people to experience similar effects from this drug.
Many individuals that have serious addictions will go on Methadone as an alternative to a more powerful drug like heroin. In other words, a person will stop using heroin and instead start taking Methadone. The idea behind using this medication is to serve as a safer replacement for an illicit drug like heroin. A person will take this drug over a period of time and a doctor will eventually help that person gradually reduce their dose – thus helping them defeat their opiate addiction.
A common problem associated with Methadone is that many people find it to be just as addicting (in some cases more addicting) than illicit opiates like heroin. People end up taking this drug and ironically become addicted to the drug that was supposed to help them kick the other addiction. However, research does support the idea that this is a less powerful substance than illicit opioids and in some cases, this is the most effective option for hardcore addicts.
Factors that influence Methadone withdrawal include:
When withdrawing from a drug like Methadone, there are going to be a number of different factors that affect the severity of your withdrawal experience. Various important factors include things like: time span over which you took the drug, dosage, individual factors, and how gradually you tapered off of it.
1. Time Span
How long have you been taking Methadone? Some people have been on it for years as a means to provide pain relief. Others have been on it years to help them cope with opioid dependence. If you have been on Methadone for a shorter duration, the withdrawal should be easier than someone who has been on this drug for an extended period of time (i.e. years). Whenever you take a drug like this for a long period of time, it changes your nervous system and you become physically and psychologically dependent on this drug for daily functioning.
2. Dosage (15 mg to 120 mg)
For opioid replacement therapy, usually a dose between 20 mg and 120 mg is prescribed to be taken daily. For people taking Methadone for pain relief, a dose between 2.5 mg and 10 mg is usually taken every 12 hours. Generally, the greater the dose of Methadone you are taking, the greater the difficulty of withdrawal. Higher dosages require longer tapering periods and when you have built up a tolerance or dependency to high amounts of this drug, it will take your body much longer to adjust to functioning without it.
3. Individual Physiology
Many individual factors play a role in determining how you respond to withdrawal. Some people may not experience nearly as many symptoms or as intense of symptoms as others. With that said, most people experience a pretty profound withdrawal when they have been taking Methadone for an extended period of time.
A lot depends on individual factors including, physiology, nervous system, genetics, environment, habits, etc. These factors are part of the reason that withdrawal is a unique experience for everyone.
4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering
It is never recommended to quit a drug like Methadone cold turkey, but there have been people that have successfully done it. Some people swear by withdrawing from opiates cold turkey because the symptoms are intense for a shorter duration of time. However, most people have a seriously difficult time with “cold turkey” withdrawal – additionally the symptoms that you could experience from quitting cold turkey may be dangerous.
It is professionally recommended to gradually taper off of Methadone – some suggest reducing your dosage by 10% every 2 weeks. Although tapering is going to be unpleasant as well, it is going to make for a much less intense, less severe withdrawal than if you were to quit cold turkey. People tend to tolerate withdrawal symptoms better when they gradually reduce their dosage.
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities
Included below are some common symptoms that people experience when they withdraw from Methadone. Keep in mind that everyone is affected differently and that you may not experience all of the symptoms on the list below. I already wrote a post detailing “Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms” that you can also reference for further information.
- Anxiety: For some individuals, Methadone helps keep them calm and anxiety at bay. When the person withdraws, they may experience severe and/or intense feelings of anxiety and panic. The panic is likely a result of the person feeling and experiencing all of these withdrawal effects.
- Body aches: It is common to feel aches throughout the body when you withdraw. These aches may be mild or intense. Just know that the achiness should gradually improve and become less intense after you have been off of the drug for awhile.
- Chills: You may feel chills throughout your body when you stop taking Methadone. This is a common experience that will usually last a couple of weeks.
- Concentration problems: Not only will you likely have an array of physical symptoms to deal with, your focus and concentration will plummet. This is because your brain is trying to function without stimulation from the drug. Your focus should gradually start to return after a few weeks.
- Confusion: Many people report feeling intense confusion when they quit this drug. This is a result of them experiencing so many effects both physically and psychologically upon withdrawal. The cognition of the individual that withdraws is likely to be significantly reduced.
- Cramps: You may get cramps throughout your entire body when you stop taking this drug. Most people report severe “abdominal cramps” when they quit. These cramps can be painful in their own right – so do your best to fight through this pain.
- Cravings: If you were addicted to opioids, it is extremely common to experience drug cravings. Not only can a certain level of psychological addiction be created, but physical addiction occurs as well. During withdrawal, you may have intense cravings for this drug and/or other opioids. Do your best to fight through the addiction and avoid going back on the drug at all costs.
- Depersonalization: You may feel depersonalized when you quit taking this drug. This means you may feel unlike your natural self and feel as if you have transformed into a zombie or alien. This is a result of neurochemistry changes and physical changes that your body is enduring. This feeling will go away following an extended detoxification period.
- Depression: Some individuals have claimed that Methadone works to treat depression. Clinical evidence has found that drugs like this one have been used with success at treating refractory depression (i.e. Suboxone for depression). Since most people receive feelings of pleasure and/or an antidepressant effect from taking this drug, it is no wonder that they experience depression when they withdraw. The depression may become very severe because not only are neurotransmitters in a state of chaos, endorphin levels are likely to be lower than average.
- Diarrhea: It is almost guaranteed that you are going to have pretty intense diarrhea during your withdrawal. This diarrhea may strike early within the first few days and may be pretty severe. The best way to cope with this is to go get some Imodium (available over-the-counter). While on Methadone, you may have easily become constipated – during withdrawal, the opposite happens.
- Dilated pupils: While taking any opiate drug, your pupils will contract. When you stop taking it, your pupils will naturally become dilated.
- Dizziness: The dizziness you experience may be incredible and tough to deal with. It may feel as if you have no balance and/or your motor skills are affected by withdrawal.
- Fatigue: Do you feel excessively tired after you quit Methadone? If you feel tired, lethargic, fatigued, etc. – this is because your body is trying to heal itself. It recognizes that it is no longer receiving the drug and is resting in order to restore natural functioning.
- Headaches: A side effect that most people experience during drug withdrawal is that of headaches. If you are experiencing headaches, just know that this is part of the withdrawal process. Working to rest, relax, and stay properly hydrated can go a long way in helping manage these.
- Insomnia: Some people report intense sleepiness, but insomnia is also very common. You may have both sleepiness at times, and insomnia at others. If you are unable to fall asleep at night, this may also have something to do with the anxiety and symptoms you are experiencing. Your best bet is to fight through these symptoms and focus on relaxation if your insomnia is caused by anxiety.
- Irritability: The irritability that is experienced during withdrawal is pretty difficult to tame. When you are being irritable, recognize it as being a withdrawal symptom and try to not let it get the best of your character. It is a result of the depression that you experience when withdrawing.
- Lightheadedness: Another reported symptom is that of feeling lightheaded. This goes hand in hand with feeling dizzy. You may get surges of extreme lightheadedness that prompt you to lie down and rest.
- Mood swings: The moods that you experience when coming off of Methadone may feel totally out of your control. One minute you may feel extremely depressed and like crying, the next you may feel angry and irritable. Eventually you will see the light at the end of the tunnel and your mood will begin to improve and stabilize.
- Muscle pains: If you were taking this drug for pain management, you can expect a lot of the pain to return. In some cases the pain you experience will be even worse than before you started. This is because your body’s natural painkillers (i.e. endorphins) have been depleted by the consistent use of this drug. It will take awhile for your body to re-establish proper endorphin functioning.
- Nausea: If you feel nauseated you are certainly not alone. Many people feel extremely nauseous when they first quit Methadone. The nausea may be intense enough to cause vomiting. Realize that this is your body’s response to coming off of a powerful drug – it will fade.
- Restless legs: It is common to experience restless legs during withdrawal. In other words, your legs may constantly shake or appear restless. This is a symptom that may take a couple of weeks before it starts to subside.
- Runny nose: Another common symptom to experience is that of a runny nose. Although this will eventually dry up, your nose run like a faucet. You can prepare for this by keeping extra tissues around.
- Shakes: Your body may shake in an almost uncontrollable manner and this may be uncomfortable. Although this is going to be uncomfortable and the shakes are difficult to cope with, they will eventually subside. Give your body time to work out these withdrawal effects and it will eventually begin to function without shaking.
- Sleepiness: Most people report feelings of excessive tiredness and sleepiness. During this time your body is trying to recharge itself and re-establish drug-free functioning. This sleepiness may be intense during the initial couple weeks of withdrawal. Over a period of time, your energy levels should return to normal.
- Suicidal thoughts: Both the physical and mental depression can become so severe during withdrawal that you may become suicidal. If you are having constant suicidal thoughts, be sure to seek help or talk to someone about it. Realize that these thoughts are not normal and will not last forever – they are merely a result of withdrawal.
- Sweating: Many people report profuse sweating throughout the day and while they sleep (i.e. night sweats). If you are sweating, just know that this is a very common symptom and it’s your body’s natural way of detoxifying itself.
- Vomiting: Some people report intense vomiting when they stop taking this drug. The vomiting is a result of the person feeling nauseous and sick because their body doesn’t know how to cope without the drug. If you are vomiting and feel sick, these symptoms should go away within a week or two.
Methadone Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?
The withdrawal process affects everyone differently, but can take a long time. Methadone has a half life ranging from 8 to 59 hours. So at the longest half life, Methadone stays in your system for up to 2 weeks after you’ve discontinued. The first week might be difficult, but the bulk of the withdrawal symptoms will likely become most severe once the drug has fully left the body (this could take several weeks). Expecting to feel fully recovered after a few weeks of withdrawal is typically not realistic.
Long after the drug has been cleared from your body, you can experience what is called a “post-acute withdrawal syndrome” or PAWS. In the event that you experience PAWS, it is likely that it will take an even longer period of time for you to fully recover. My rule of thumb is to give the withdrawal process 90 days before you judge whether you are really starting to feel “back to normal.”
If you were on this drug for an extended period of time, it may take an extended period of withdrawal time for you to completely recover. If the withdrawal process becomes too difficult for you to cope with, consider working with a professional. A psychiatrist may be able to prescribe you with some much-needed medications (e.g. Clonidine) that will help you cope with some of the intense symptoms that you are experiencing.
During withdrawal, make sure you are doing your best to engage in healthy activities. Consider doing some light exercise, try to make sure you are getting sleep, socialize, and stay as productive as you can. As time continues to pass, your body and mind will continue to heal and you will eventually return to normal. If you would like to share your withdrawal experience, feel free to do so in the comments section below!
278 thoughts on “Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms + Duration”
45 yrs. on methadone 60mg. Started my own home detox about 1 yr. ago. I am now down to 10 mg. I can’t sleep, legs are killing me at night and I am rapidly losing weight. I am 67 yrs. old. Only terminal patients belong on methadone and perhaps hardcore opiate addicts. Terrible nasty drug!
I’m having a hard time. Been on methadone 1 year as of August 16th, 2016. Used pills for 10 years & heroin the last year of my addiction. Up to 125 mg of methadone. Felt good & stable so decided to start to taper down. This morning I had my first lower dose of 120mg.
As of a few hours ago I’m sweaty, anxious, shaky, nervous, diarrhea. Mind is racing. Can this really be accurate after just going down 5mg? Or am I losing it?! I feel so lost right now, I’m feeling very emotional & don’t know what to do. I hate all of this.
Hey yes it is very normal. Everyone reacts differently and my clinic laughed at me when I told them this!!! But yes even 5 mgs you can experience withdrawal!!!
Thank you for this article. I was put on low dosage of Methadone by my Doctor for migraines. If I would have known that the withdrawal was going to try to kill me I would have never taken this drug. I appreciate the fact that this drug help those with serious addictions and issues. I have never felt this type of pain, confusion, the immense lack of energy as if I had my power unplugged.
I hate feeling weak, like I have no control over my own body. This article is exactly what I needed to know, I went Cold Turkey off 10mg thinking it would be easy. I WAS SO VERY VERY WRONG, now I am humbled by my own Bravado. Thank you for always giving the upside to this hell of withdrawal.
I was on methadone for about a year after having 2 spinal surgeries that didn’t go as planned. I have chronic pain and mobility issues. I switched to morphine because on the methadone I would wake up every morning and vomit. The morphine was too weak so after 2 moths I transitioned back to methadone and was on only 10 ml 3 times a day.
My new Dr office took a while ween to write me a refill and since I live and hour from them I was forced to go through cold turkey withdrawals after 2 1/2 years of taking the drug. NEVER AGAIN!! I spent 18 hours violently vomiting. Then another 2 weeks losing my mind, I was suicidal, angry at everyone, lashing out over nothing. It took 3 weeks for me to sleep for more than a couple hours a day if I was lucky. This was about a month ago.
I’m still having physical withdrawals and I have trouble eating. I miss being able to walk without the use of a cane or walker lime I could on the drug but it’s not worth it. This stuff is poison. This is a terrible way to come off other drugs too. Do yourself a favor and call the hospital on check into a treatment facility for help. Not everyone can do what I did. P.S. The withdrawals from Methadone can be deadly.
Day 15 quitting cold turkey after 13 years of methadone. Will this pain ever end?
Hi, I’m hoping someone will be able to share some info or past experience to answer my questions. I’ve been on methadone for 3 years now- at 75mg. I am now tapering at 5mg every 3 days and have gone down twice (total of 10mgs) in the past few days. I am already having trouble sleeping, severe anxiety, headaches, watery eyes, fatigue, and dilated pupils.
My question is – its only been a few days and a 10mg drop of my normal dose, is it normal for me to be feeling the detox symptoms already? Or is it all in my head because I’m panicking about going down so fast ? Can I trick my body into withdrawal just from overthinking and panicking about it? Thanks – Sarah
I was on methadone for 9 years at 150 mgs. It’s been 5 months and still having symptoms.
I was on the Methadone Program for 15 years in Maryland and those were the worst days of my life. I have been off for 114 days but unfortunately I started drinking a gallon of vodka a day to deal with the withdrawals. I know that was stupid and the worst decision I’ve ever made. Guys please try and deal with the withdrawals and know that I think of all of you every day and wish I had the guts, courage and strength you all have had. Pray for me and sorry for my sad story.
Has anyone tried lessening/softening the withdrawal symptoms of methadone using F.E.C.O. (Fully Extracted Cannabis Oil), aka R.S.O. (“Rick Simpson Oil”), aka Hemp Oil, (NOT hemp seed oil)? I have been very successfully helping my husband treat ongoing methadone withdrawals. He was on it for 11 years to treat chronic, intractable pain, resulting for an auto accident After slowly completing tapering off, he was being haunted with violent restless leg, sweats, insomnia, and so on.
He also found that he was in no more pain once off methadone, than when he was on it. My husband would not have considered getting a Medical Marijuana designation, but since our state of residence, Oregon, had recently legalized Cannabis for recreational use, I did some homework, (research), bought some material, (marijuana “bud” or “flowers” as it is currently called), and made some Oil.
I put a small amount into an empty gel cap, (as it doesn’t taste good), and am giving it to him twice a day. The medicinal compounds, particularly the cannabinoids, seem to be working their soothing and healing qualities. He is no longer experiencing restless leg or terrible sweats, (including sweating palms). Insomnia is lessening and his disposition is overall hopeful and becoming more cheerful.
By selecting medical strains of cannabis with a 2:1 ratio of CBD:THC, he does not become “stoned”. I highly recommend looking into this wonderful, natural medicine if you are suffering from these horrible withdrawals. It is truly an amazing medicinal plant when used for comfort and healing.
Right on the money, that’s what I’m doing also. I have my medical license now for 10 years now. CBD is a godsend! Really helps the withdrawals quite well.
I am on day 26. Cold turkey from 90 mg methadone a day and about 20-25 pills of H. I am still going thru it. No energy, runny nose, severe body pains and lack of focus. One day at a time. I cant wait til its over. Good luck everyone.
Hi, I’m meagan. I was on opioid treatment for my back, due to an injury, was hooked, it made me feel like superwoman! Even people at work started calling me that, lol. But I wish I hadn’t,I became an addict and was popping them like the pez candies, I got tired of withdrawing when I have the money, or for whatever reason. I was hell bent on quitting, so I enrolled myself into an out patient methadone facility. For the first year and a half, of the 3.5 years, I was miserable, tired, fatigue, you name it, they kept putting me up, up, up.
I got to 195mgs a day add was on that for my last year, I had had enough, having to go there everyday was fine at first, but I have a family, and am happily married. It was starting to effect my family and was creating tension between my husband and I, he’s never taken so much as an aspirin, so naturally he hated me there every morning, totally get it. I decided to go against medical advice and get off, so I went down 7mgs a day for 28 days. (Tomorrow is my last day, whooooo hooooo!!)
Honesty, my symptoms weren’t and aren’t nearly as bad as oxy or any other opioid. The worse thing to effect me is that my body doesn’t want to move, it hurts! And my back pain was gone and is now coming back, and is a quick reminder of why I started the first place, but I refuse to let drugs dictate my life! Honestly it wasn’t as bad as I could’ve been, considering I’ve been on opioids;methadone is an opioid; for 20 years!
I was numb it was nice, key word WAS, but I wrote this to try to inspire people to be strong, the human body is a delicate machine and if you mess with it, it will kick your butt in the end. One last thing,I think that hydration played a huge role in the overall withdrawal process, and I know you’re body will hurt, but i promise all of you, that a few weeks of torture is definitely worth it, just knowing that I can now be woken by my child and not by my alarm clock, waking me to go get my drugs, no way!!
My son and daughter serene so much better, they deserve the real me, not the person that the drugs turned me into, stay strong and believe in yourself, and there won’t be anything standing in your way, to freedom and a new start to a long happy, drug free life! Thank you for asking me to tell my story. ;)
I was on Opanas and Roxies for five long, LONG years, then finally dragged myself to the clinic, where I’ve been for the last three years. Eight years total of some type of opiate in my system. The methadone helped me get my life under control, but I was tired of driving 2 hours round trip just for a week’s worth of methadone. I was also tired of taking the nasty stuff, so I tapered from 130mg to 10mg over the course of a year and a half.
I dropped from 10 to 0, because 5mg did nothing for me. I started kratom 3 days before my detox date, along with Calm Support. The kratom was a life saver. I slept fairly well, and had no nausea. You can tell you’re detoxing, but it’s ridiculously tolerable with kratom. I’m at day 29, and I still have occasional chills, yawning, machine gun sneezing, watery eyes and my energy has never been lower.
But, I’m off methadone, which makes it worth it. I’m hoping in a few more weeks these last symptoms will subside. You CAN get off methadone if you do it the right way for YOUR body.
Want you all to know that this is a brand new comment… I was on methadone for 19 years! Yes 19!! And I successfully got off with NO SYMPTOMS. It can happen! But you must be patient and stay Clean. I did 1mg every 10 days but everyone is different…
Hey all you warriors! My experience is that a serious brain disorder, Chiari Malformation, along with a collagen disorder, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, both went undiagnosed for over 30 years. I was put on every psych med known to man to treat my “depression, somatoform disorder, bipolar, OCD, blah blah blah” in my 20s, none of which I had. I have been on opiates since I was 18.
I went on methadone, 10 mg, to replace fentanyl, norco, and oxys. It was my choice to switch. I thought it would b3 better. Bah!!! 3 years ago, I found a doctor who ordered an MRI and discovered the Chiari and diagnosed related disorders. We did the first brain surgery April 2015. I had my left shoulder done 2 months ago. My right is scheduled for aug. And a neck surgery in Oct. I may just skip it all.
I am writing a book about a murdered child, and other horror stories in our chiari community. The goal is patient awareness. In writing about medical abuse, I began feeling like a hypocrite. How can I write against this, and show up at the pain clinic every month? It didn’t mesh. I am also outraged by the new FDA and DEA guidelines and how so many people are being dropped and blamed for their addictions and or dependency.
So I decided to detox. I went from 10 to 5 pretty easily. It has been 15 days since I have had any methadone or opiates at all. The withdrawal has been brutal. My pain doc, prescribed 0.1 clonidine at our exit appt. It helps with the watery eyes and sleeplessness, although I have only taken it 3 times. Trying to keep pharma out of me altogether. The worst has been the anxiety, restless arms, depersonalization, and of course, the worst pain and spasms in my neck and muscles ever. Headache and fever and now the craps.
I have a feeling it is going to take months to feel normal again. I have been feeling pretty good the last few days because a friend recommended kratom. (Legal in most states). It is a opioid mu agonist. What a lifesaver. I am not endorsing anyone here use any herbs or supplements. Just saying what is working for me. It took awhile to get the research done to find the right strains and dosage to make me feel even.
From what I understand, prolonged use can cause addiction in some people. Tolerance can build as well. I also had some nausea and dizziness when learning what is the right amount for me. But anyway, I could not deal with this without the herbs I am supplementing with. My heart goes out to you all. If I had cravings for methadone, on top of these physical symptoms, I would not be able to do it.
I am in awe of those of you who have beaten addiction. I am pulling for everyone here trying. Sorry for the long post, but I thought some of this may help. Big Love.
I have been taking methadone for 8 yrs. for fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis. My doc. decided to retire and left me in the hands of a baby doc. Long story short, he didn’t want to continue prescribing me methadone and the plan was to ween me off. I started a new job, new ins. which he didn’t accept and my slow ween happened in a month. I am now on day 7 of 0 methadone. My withdrawals are absolutely horrific!!!
I went from 240 MG a month to 0!! I am experiencing every symptom but the worst are my legs, the feeling of having no desire do anything, the EXTREM mood swings as well as the depression. My legs feel weak like they don’t want to hold me up and I have to keep stretching them. I have no will to work, clean or leave my house. I have to go to work or I’ll lose my job, so getting ready and leaving is a major push. I’m crying all the time.
I HATE this feeling!!!! Last night the sleeplessness started. The new doc I am seeing prescribed me clonidine .5 mg. and gabapentin 100mg.at night, which I’ve found to be completely useless! The only thing that remotely works are hot baths for my legs. It has taken all my will power to not take 1 of the 5 pills I have left just to get me through work everyday.
All I can say is at this moment 1 week in is that I wouldn’t wish this misery on anyone and if I make it through this without getting fired or killing myself it will be a miracle!!!
I just cold turkey 120 mg of methadone. On day 16. It’s brutal and not for everyone. I just can’t taper. I did this 2 yrs ago had a brief relapse 8 months ago got back on and couldn’t live anymore on that garbage. Heart is racing, and serious muscle cramps are my worst SXs. You can do it tho. Just set your mind to it.
I have been on methadone for about a year and a half. The highest my dosage has ever been was 90mg. I am now at 19mg and I go down 2mg every 2 days. It’s uncomfortable, but seems to be the best for me.
I started at 60 Mgs slightly over a year ago, and I am currently on 7mgs. I tapered down 1mg every other week, and it was fine until recently. I wake up (clockwork) around 5 AM and cannot go back to sleep. I feel crazy in public at times, but as long as I am occupied in something it doesn’t bother me. However, I am still aware of their presence. I hope going from 1mg to 0 won’t be worse. I hope you all get better as well.
I hate this stuff and wish I was never on it. I’m a slave to it and if I don’t take it I’m super sad and upset and emotional. If your on drugs or are addicted to something look within yourself before doing this methadone. I haven’t taken any other drugs for over a year but at the same time. I’m just a slave to a different drug now that I get over a counter.
I don’t know. See I’m all emotional LOL. JK. If I could do it over I would have just tried special foods or natural ingredients. It would have been worth me being in bed for a week straight, than to be addicted to methadone now.
I went from 120mgs to 8mgs in eight days after being on methadone for 4 years. I’m 2 weeks in and I’m not going back EVER but my legs are still hurting and I’m not sleeping well. I can honestly say my head feels clear for the first time in years and that’s what is keeping me holding on.
I tried NA but the meetings just aren’t for me so instead I’m seeing my drug counselor and my mental doctor twice a week. Nothing helps. You just have to keep telling yourself that tomorrow will be better although that’s not necessarily true. I have no cravings and no pain because from the detox. Believe if I can do it anyone can.
I am on day 2 after coming down from 130 to 0 in 14 days was on for 3 years exactly. Got the shakes, confused and little nausea. Trying to keep busy and focused but can’t. I’m hungry but don’t feel like eating. The 14 days were so so. I can’t stop thinking about the next few weeks and whether or not I’m gonna lose it.
Wow – very brave Cody. What was your thinking in reducing so quickly (aside from just wanting to be rid of it)? Was that 130 ml or mg? Try to distract yourself, as the anxiety monster can be the difference between making it or breaking it. Stay strong!
Hi, so I say stay away from methadone if you can! I regret ever touching it. I had no choice. I was a single mom working a full time job and had already been to rehab twice. I had to support my family and my kids came first so I went through the program. I have been on methadone 10 years now. I was on 75mg and every few months came down until I finally reached 15.
I have been on 15 for 3 years now. I felt normal and thought I could go down to 10 easy. Well I have tried 10 mg for 3 weeks. As the night time gets here I am in such bad withdrawal I can’t lay still. I swear my body feels like it is seizing. Restless leg symptoms try restless body!! I get maybe 2 hours of sleep before I wake up and my body won’t lay still.
I usually have to take next days dose about 3 am so that I can sleep for 2 hours. Some I have actually had a few nights where I have been awake 48hrs straight. This is hell. I went down 2 mg to get to 15 and was stuck a few years. I just went back to 15 yesterday because after almost a month I was still in withdrawal. You want to talk about being depressed… this made mw realize I will be stuck the rest of my life!!
Please do not take this unless you have no other choice. If you do take this please taper off within 2 years. Never go past 2 years or you will be be in liquid cuffs the rest of your life. Good luck.
Hi Everyone, I’ve been holding off posting, but today is the day. I have been an addict for near on 40 years, I am a 50 year old man. I was on Heroin for near on 20 years then on the methadone program for 8+10 years. Sexual abuse as a 10-13 y/old drove me to pills at 12, which quickly escalated to stronger opiates, which led to a young man having to find large sums of money on a daily basis.
Anyone who has been there will know the chaos and danger and the desperation of finding yourself doing things you never dreamed you would do. Like a lot of people I tried various ways over the years to get off the opiates, cold turkey, weaning, even managed to get a Dr to prescribe me morph, none of it stuck. While I had friends who could use on the weekends, it was always me who kept going (and going).
Finally after years and years of addiction I bit the bullet and went on the Methadone program. As a rapid metabolizer that started a long process of increasing doses, I would never ask for an increase, but my stats indicated I was withdrawing, the Dr would say 10ml, I would say 5ml, I ended up eventually on 235/ml/day (the largest dose at the clinic). One day a new doctor came onboard at the clinic and saw my dose.
He freaked out and immediately sent me to have my heart checked, sure enough I had QT prolongation and was told I could have a heart attack any tick of the clock! In the middle of the years of being on the M/Done program I did a rapid detox (naltrexone) that nearly killed me and resulted in my convulsing on the table for 5 hours of sheer hell. I couldn’t walk for 2 weeks and was still passing liquid for 2 months.
They had never treated anyone over 40ml, and I was on around 160 at the time. It was so bad, and the trauma on my body and mind was so full on that I went back on the program again rather than go back to illegal opiate use. People think that Cold Turkey is like some Pavlov’s Dog aversion therapy that will stop them using again, while there will always be exceptions, my own experience is that it is unnecessarily punishing yourself.
Medically it has a high relapse rate as it is so full on that people turn to all sorts of other meds to make it thru. I have done the hard yards, and am now over punishing myself. People say lots of things about the Methadone program. Bottom line, without it I would still be a full time Heroin addict. I run a successful business with many staff, my home life and relationship is stable and good, I exercise and live an active life, as well as being a good father to 2 daughters.
I even managed to cure myself of Hep C with healthy living and no alcohol, I have had 3 blood tests that are now clear of it completely!! I have learned to accept myself, and love myself again. The space that being on the program had given me was invaluable. I have been drug free of everything other than Methadone (and a little of mothers natures ‘happy’ herb) since I first went on the program.
This allowed me to sort my head out, and forgive myself for the sh#t things that I did to myself and others and gain a greater understanding of the things that happened to me. Being sexually abused by a male at such a critical point of becoming a man threw up all kinds of issues for me. I could tell no one, and the abuser played on that. I blamed myself for many years, even though I was a dissociated puppet for most of it.
The subsequent abuse that happened in the course of finding hundreds of dollars a day for drugs was also something I blamed myself for, and somehow thought I deserved nothing better. Being on the program saved my life. I am not saying its the best option by any means, or the right thing for everyone, and in the realm of Methadone users I seem to be an exception as I never used other pills or opiates after going on the program.
I know of many people who use it as a quick fix when they cant score of run out of money, and then back to the illegal drugs again ASAP. I can’t judge as every situation is different. I am the only one alive from the users I knew when I was younger, they have all passed away from drug related issues or related misadventure. All of the above would have gone out the window had I stayed on Heroin spending over $1000 a day just to be normal (sic).
Luckily I had the means to earn money, but it was all wasted on the quick fix, with little left for anything meaningful, and the endless cycle of having to score day in day out is enough to wear anyone down. I was in corporate IT and hid my addiction from everyone, associates who knew me for years had no idea at all. After so long on opiates I was of the opinion that I would be on opiates for the rest of my life and no doubt end up with a William Burrows long service card at the clinic (for those of a younger vintage you can ask the great god google who Mr Burrows is), the doctors I consulted supported that idea.
After finding out about the heart problem I found myself a private Dr. With his assistance we started reducing. It was pretty scary as I already knew what it felt like to miss a dose and it was bad! I didn’t know what to expect at all, and my poor partner copped the brunt of my fear and insecurity, still I knew it was the right thing to do. Having a private Dr also allowed me some measure of trust as an individual, and over time allowed me to split doses across the day rather than taking it in one hit.
This helped with the peaks and troughs (for me it is 1/4 morning, 1/4 around 5pm and 2/4 before bed). It also allowed me to get all takeaways and collect them a couple of times a week rather than having to stand there and dose at the chemist in front of judgmental eyes. This made me feel more like a normal person rather than an outcast! I have been in a constant state of detox now for around 3 years. I go down around 2.5ml every 15 days.
While it’s uncomfortable, its certainly manageable and I can still have my wits about me and work complex tasks (and long days). On occasion we have stabilized for an extra few weeks, and even a month at times, but the progress has been constant and unrelenting. I have sucked it up and aside from an occasional joint (I don’t drink alcohol) I have had nothing else to elevate withdrawal symptoms. Some months stabilize faster than others. It has not been a party, or comfortable, but certainly manageable.
I am now on 12.5ml/day, about to go to 10ml, so I am by no means at the end of this journey, and in fact am finding it harder than ever. The physical symptoms are terrible and I have had to resort to using some Catapress/clonodine – (blood pressure tablet – also used to mitigate hot flushes in menopausal women – It has been used for years in detox to increase the power of other drugs and alleviate anxiety. It has done little for me so far and the nights are so very bad.
I want to chop my legs and arms off, the body shocks, spasms and constant central nervous system buzzing is endless. I feel like I am walking on a high wire of anxiety and know that if I fall it will be hard, so i keep balancing and taking the next step. Because of my history of drug use I have not wanted to take any other drugs along the way, but I feel that I am at the point where to keep functioning I may need something to help get through the very bad nights.
The days are bad too, but it is the nights that are the pits. Believe it or not, this is the short essay *hehe*. So why have I posted? I want to add my voice to the various stories, info, mis-info, and also ask advice (even tho I’m pretty sure I know the answer). If anyone has any tips on making it past the pointy end of this detox I am grateful and thank you in advance. Likewise any tips on recovering and making it past the 2/3 months once the doses stop.
Really hot baths do certainly help (if only I could live in a hot spring), exercise likewise helps, so be as active as you can. Massages are good, but for me they are relieving while they are happening, but back to business as usual afterwards. If you don’t have to work, then clonodine/catapress will certainly help, but don’t just stop taking it when your done, wean off it over a week. I am speaking from personal experience so check anything critical with a trusted Dr.
My advice to addicts is to find a way out of the daily cycle, unfortunately that sometimes means breaking clean from your drug using friends and associates (who enable and are enabled by you). Remember drug use is most often the symptom, ask yourself what is the root cause. Delve into the icky stuff in a safe environment, get it out on the table, get informed and educated about it. Fear is broken by education and understanding.
That will leave you with the physical addition to deal with. Methadone users have hope, there is a way back! Don’t punish yourselves with cold turkey, like any med its always better to wean than to cease cold. If you can, find a private GP rather than a one-size-fits-all clinic, but only do it if your ready because you need to be trusted and have trust and the worse thing is breaking peoples trust (no matter how understanding they may be). It makes you feel bad inside and results in further seeking of relief from pain.
Finally, I have become a firm believer in ‘post traumatic growth’. The research I have done indicates that generally people who go through trauma have a period of self awareness and growth that is beneficial. I’m not going to blow smoke up your behind by telling you that everyone is here for a reason, but I am going to say that its up to you to find your passion, and helping others is a great way to start. Random acts of kindness will help you to feel like a human again.
Find your art no matter what it is and practice practice practice. Stay the course and be true to yourself, and love those around you. If you have kids, invest in them, and give them hope. Its been 10 days since my last reduction and the nights have been horrific with little sleep, and the last 10ml is not going to be a party, let alone the 2/3 months after that while my body finds its own chemical balance again after so long.
I am so emotional as the opiates leech from my system, all those raw opiate suppressed feelings. My partner deserves a nobel prize for support, midnight massages, nutritious food and unconditional love (thanks so very very much baby – oh dear here come the tears again). The light at the end of the tunnel is not a truck heading straight for you, but a beautiful sunrise waiting to fill you with joy and hope and the warmth of a new day.
Take the time to stop and smell the flowers. You are not alone! Peace & love & hugs, Tony
Tony, I would like to thank you for your post. Your story is very similar to mine, and I appreciate a site that exposes me to people who can empathize.
Thank you Tony for this post.
I’ve took my last 10mg tab yesterday morning and am feeling bad. Was on a low dose of 20-30 mgs daily for 6 years for a back injury while in military service. I’m feeling bad and want to know for how long I’ll feel this way. Also, have appointment for suboxone Monday. Having second thoughts about putting that in my body.
I really feel like I’m losing my mind. I have been on Methadone for 12 years now for pain management and addiction problems. For the past 6 of those years, I have been titrating down from 120mgs to 13mgs. I was going down around 3-5mgs every month and stopping in between to level out when I felt really sick. Now, for the past 5 weeks, the measly little one milligram drops are unbearable, as my mental state is that of an absolute crazy person.
I’m so uncomfortable in this PAWS-ey state that is NOT waning or lessening, quite the contrary. I feel so bad, with the cold chill, hot sweats, gooseflesh, and severe mood swings that I’m considering putting myself in a detox to just finish off the last 12 mgs. My counselor is supporting me, as is my pain care doctor who is amazed at my strength and sheer determination. I don’t feel strong at all.
I feel like a fucked up mess, and I don’t know who the hell I even am anymore most of the time. I have somewhat good hours, but I always end up going back to feeling sick with the damn cold hot chills and sweats. I’m exhausted from this withdrawal. Is anyone out there going through this hell? What can we do besides Clonidine and sheer white knuckling and teeth gritting through this Hell? Help! I need advice!
Thank you in advance, Loripoo suffering ???
Hi Lori, I’m feelin ya! – going through the same at the end of 18 years of Biodone addiction (as high as 235ml) – I’m down to 10ml this weekend and the last week has been a shit sandwich. I need a neural disrupter of some kind. Clonidine with a little diazepam (valium) will help greatly, people have already suggested hot baths, and I find heat packs (you know the wheat ones) across both ankles and wrists relieves from the outside, but from the inside that half awake spasm electric buzzing is incessant.
I found myself sitting in the lounge at 2am this week holding a packet of Codeine forte and knowing that it would give me some relief, but managed to convince myself that the quick fix will only be far worse tomorrow. I resisted! I feel like the walking dead and know that there is still 2 months of reductions, and then whatever 1/2/3 months of whatever after that.
I run a site to support people in foreign prisons, oh the stories I have heard of cold turkey in Thai (etc) prisons with no meds and bodies pressed against you with an open sh#t pit in the corner. Anyone here tried IBOGAINE? – I was in contact with a guy years ago called Howard who was researching it for addiction treatment. Hold tough Lori – were all in this together! Tony
I had been on methadone or previously oxy after my spine was basically rebuilt. I want to be drug free. Had tapered down from 20mg to 2.5. No sleep for 5 weeks. Then my other Dr. said why prolong it just stop completely.
Full withdrawal for a week. How much longer until I can work? Totally broke and must work. I’m taking a non opioid muscle relaxer at night. I don’t have another month of this in me. Will it lighten up soon?
How are you feeling now Maryjane? I’m in withdrawals too, and I’m miserable. I think your doctor is a real jerk to have said what he did. Is he giving you comfort meds at least? There’s no Hell after this life for us, because we’ve already lived through it right here on cozy little earth. What a horrible ride this is. Loripoo ?
I was taking methadone for 3 years. Seven years before that I was on Oxycotin and Hydrocodone, I went to methadone because my doctor got busted. Methadone was cheaper and lasted longer than percs. I tried to stop cold turkey three times an always on the third day I would have a seizure. I finally went to a detox and rehab place. It has been almost 60 days and I feel like crap.
I’m in the process of methdaone detox. I’ve been on it for 10 years gradually detoxing from 120mg. I began detoxing approximately 6 months ago. I didn’t feel any withdrawal symptoms until a few weeks ago. Now they are getting increasingly worse as I continue to detox. I’m on 14mg decreasing by 2mg every week. I’ve been experiencing restless legs mostly my ankles (and also my wrists), anxiety, and insomnia.
Also, this is so weird, I don’t know if it’s related, but my mouth is constantly full of saliva. I keep drinking water trying to make it stop. I am so scared to continue with this detox, but I am so ready to just be done. I hate going to the clinic everyday (I don’t have take homes because I owe them so much money, even though I haven’t relapsed in 7 years.)
I’ve been hearing so many different things about how long it will take to feel normal again after I’m completely off of it. I’ve also heard that some people can never return to normal as something to do with the opiate receptors being “broken” after being on Methadone for a long period of time. I’m desperate for any kind of advice. I also don’t have health insurance, so I can’t even go to the Dr. for clonidine and my clinic doesn’t offer any prescriptions. Any advice would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance.
Hi. I have been using opium on/off for three years. I stopped a week ago. The first 24 hours I took 5 mg of methadone, and decreased it on daily basis. Now it is day 8 and I am on 1 mg of methadone. Today I tried not to take the 1 mg and I felt so dizzy that I could not walk. By taking 0.5 mg of methadone I felt great after one hour. I read comments on this page. It was said to decrease it by 10%… Since my requirement for first 24 hours was 5 mg, I thought I was not that dependent and I could taper off faster. Am I doing it right? When should I stop the 0.5 mg? Thanks.
I have been on 110mg of methadone for about 18 years. I have been withdrawing for the past 60 days, and am now down to 5mg per day. I am miserable, shaky, muscle aches, joint pain, insomnia, nausea, and many more. I pray that this will not last more than the 3 months, after I am completely off this horrible medication. I am taking 2.5mg 2 times per day, and plan to bee off within 2 weeks. I am taking Clonidine. Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated. Gayla
Try fellowship meetings and surrounding yourself with good, non-judgmental people!!
I was in the methadone clinic for a year and a half and I was at 85mg a day and when I hit my one year mark I started my taper. It started at 85mgs and went down 5mgs a week till I got to 50mgs. Then it went to losing 2mgs a week all the way down to 2mgs and after a week at 2mgs I decide to skip a day then go a day and skip a day. Well my first day I skipped I felt the same as any other day so I didn’t go back.
Day 6 of being out of the clinic my mom passed and that was the hardest day I have had staying clean. Now I’m on day 18 and I’m still having aches in my arms and legs and trouble sleeping. Weed has helped me with the withdrawals that I do have. As long as I smoke weed I don’t really notice them. But as the pot wears off I start to feel the aches coming back.
To everybody hope you are still fighting for your normal life or have found your normal self. I know I’m ready to…
You’re all the bravest folks in the world! I’ve been on methadone for about a year now for cancer and surgical pain. Cancer is totally removed (for now? Prayers prayed and fingers crossed it never returns!), and surgery is long done (again, I so hope forever). I have semi-permanent nerve damage down my left arm, which is partly why I’m on methadone. I’m also on Gabapentin for the nerve damage.
Gabapentin is a LIFE SAVER! I’m still on 1200mg Gabapentin a day. I’ll work on weaning off that once I’ve rid myself of the done. At my max methadone dose, I’ve only ever been at 5mg/day (but I’m only 5′ tall and just over 100 lbs). Over the past two months I’ve tapered to 2.5 (down 1.25 once then again 6 wks later). I’ve been at 2.5 for the past two weeks. It sounds crazy to my doc, but I swear I’m STILL having mild withdrawal symptoms.
It’s not terrible, but I get random bouts of mild nausea or faint dizziness, random hot or cold sweats, night sweats (not awful but kinda annoying), very tired but not sleeping well (again, not terrible, just noticeably worse than usual), and what feels like an incurable cold or stuffy nose. Has anyone else had a stuffy nose? I’ve also felt more anxious and depressed than usual. And I’m having frustrating leg pains / restless legs — especially when trying to fall asleep.
I’m working full time and carrying on fairly normally. Again, none of these symptoms are severe or overwhelming, but all piled together they’re pretty annoying. Especially given how low my dose is (has ever been) and how slowly I’m tapering. I literally chop a 5mg tab into 4 pieces of dust, it seems! Such potent dust! I’m thankful that this drug was there for me this past year — it worked where no other drugs did (morphine didn’t seem to do anything, fentanyl patches made me keel over dizzy/sick, oxy wasn’t strong enough, and one other — forgot it’s name — made me soooo hazy I kept forgetting what I was saying).
So, glad to have had this drug when I needed it. That said I’m also soooooo thankful I only ever needed 5mg! I think I’m far enough past surgery to be not needing this (6 months, though they removed half of two vertebrae, a vertebral artery, and put rods from C3 to T2). Anyway, you’ve all made me feel so much more determined to get off (albeit as slowly as I need!), and so much better about what seem like kinda phantom symptoms!
I’ll post again in a couple of months when I’m hopefully off and update about how it’s going. I’m such a wimp compared to you folks! But after a year of chemo, radiation, and surgery, the last thing I want is mega nausea again. Hahaha. I want to reiterate that even though I have the best doctors in the world, NONE OF THEM have talked about how intense the withdrawal is nor have they really acknowledged that I might be experiencing symptoms WEEKS after even reducing my dose by a sliver.
I’m going to send them a link to this site so they can better educate other patients. Again, so many congrats to all who’ve gotten off and wishing so much strength to those who are in the throes! <3
I’m on day 12 and not doing too bad. I had a wicked bad opiate addiction for almost five years when an old back injury left me in bed for too many nights. My street dealer happened to sell me some methadone not knowing what it was. After two outpatient back surgeries the pain was all but gone, but I still had the addiction.
Tried a quick 4-10mg a day for 15 days but never took any opiates in the time, stayed clean for two months, and fell off the wagon. Got my doctor to prescribe me 160 Loricet a month but that was just a supplement. After two years of roughly 40 opiates a day for another two years and the passing of my father in law, it was time to ask my personal doctor for legal methadone.
She started me on 4-10mg a day for about a year. The cravings for the opiates were null as long as I took it, and I was able to function fairly well. After that I took 2-10mg a day for about the next six months and 1 pill a day for the last 6 months. A month ago my wife cut them in half for just 5mg a day for two weeks and then 1/4s for a couple days to finally quit 11 days ago.
Figured I was ready for the aches, pains, fatigue, moodiness, and nausea. 11 days and so far so good. My withdraws are a 4 out of 10 at worst. My biggest fear is going back to opiates. Methadone saved my life, quite by accident.
I’ve been on methadone x4, almost 5 years. My treatment was successful, kept me out of relapse etc. 2 yrs ago I started tapering from a 125mg dose 1 mg a week. I got down to 44mg, but staff changes and the takeover of the clinic by another company caused policy and staff changes. All of the sudden, it was a 2 wk process to get a dose change approved. Then the new dr made a rule against standing taper orders.
This meant each time you wanted to come down, you had to go through the entire 2 week process again and get approved by the dr… I started feeling trapped. So at 42mgs, I found a subutex doctor willing to out patient detox me with all the appropriate comfort medications and, once I reach a 26 score on the cows scale, subutex x2 weeks, then actual suboxone until I feel it’s time to taper on that. My last methadone dose was on Monday.
It’s now Friday evening and I am still not in a state of withdrawal. I’m only beginning to feel mild headaches and some muscle cramps, but very slight.
This is days without methadone, so I’d expected to be in active withdrawal. Does this mean it’s going to take much longer than expected? The Dr. had anticipated active withdrawal by 72 hrs. I’m getting scared. I never thought it could stay in my system at such a level to still be comfortable for this long.
I think you will be alright, 5 days and no major withdrawals? I Think from my opinion you’re pretty much out of the woods. Things is, I’ve been off for two days, weaned down, and I’m have worse withdrawals. Today, then yesterday being my first day at zero mg. I’m scared at what’s ahead of me. Let’s both hang in there.
I’ve been on methadone for 4 years. The last 2 and a half at 95 mg. I had my daughter Oct 26th 2015 . The week after she was born I started a taper. I’ve been tapering 10 mg a week. I’m not at a 10 mg dose next week I go to 5 and then I’m done. I’ve definitely felt a bit rough. Today has been the worst by far. My body aches so bad and my cold sweats are getting to the point of being unbeatable.
Now picture all that and taking care of a 3 month old, and she’s teething. I feel physically awful but I have no cravings to go out get heroin. I’m just wondering if that will change. How long are these aches going to last? I take advil but it doesn’t help. I’m not sure if these posts are old. Hopefully I’ll hear from someone.
How are you doing Lizzie? I have a new post on here about my experience right now. God bless let me know how you are?
I wanted to thank all of you for helping me through some rough times. This is day 17 for me coming off methadone. This has been the worst thing I’ve ever had to do! I am exhausted and can’t believe that this is taking so long to feel better. Just about the time I think I’m ok… I’m not. I’m depressed and the antidepressants aren’t doing anything for me. Now I’m having dizzy spells where I feel like I’m gonna pass out.
I’m starting a new family doctor on Thursday that hopefully can help me through this. I don’t trust pain management doctors anymore. They are just drug dealers with a medical license… they don’t care about you at all. Just pump you full of poison and turn you loose. I’m worried about my brain healing… anyone have any suggestions???
Hi jam my name is Scott. I was in methadone treatment for about 3 years and was using pain pills on the street for about the same. Ironically I’m on day 17 of no methadone. I dosed down to 2mgs a day and did it for week an then walked away.
I’ve had very limited withdrawal symptoms but have had the lazy, anxiety, depression, and the self esteem issues that appear to go hand in hand with leaving treatment. Just curious how long it took you to feel slightly normal?
I am on day 5… well day 5 is just about over. Been on methadone for 8 years opiates all together for 14 years. Was at 150mg got down to 10mg past few years. I feel so horrible right now. I hope it goes away in next few days; I’m going crazy.
Russell, it’s Jan… how are you doing?
I’ve been off methadone since October 19th. Only thing that got me through my withdrawal was taking at least one 5mg hydrocodone. It’s now been 3 months off methadone, but I still can’t feel anything when I take an opiate. Any ideas as to how long before I’ll be able to feel the euphoria of alcohol and pills? How long does the opiate blocker last? Please help!!
I’ve been on methadone for 3 years at 155 milligrams a day. I quit cold turkey with no taper and I’m on week 5 now. My withdrawals are still very severe and I want to know how long is this going to last… Am I ever going to go back to normal? If I take subutex will it make my withdrawals last longer?
I have been on illicit liquid methadone for 18 years and have been shooting it up. Now no veins, have HepC and missed out on free trial to cure this disease because they found the done in my system when I did a urine and worked out I wasn’t registered at the Methadone clinic. I finally decided I’ve got to stop so went CT nearly 2 weeks ago.
My Dr prescribed codeine tablets because he said at least they are legal and he can wean me off those. I’ve had the sneezes, the shits, massive heart palpitations and lethargy also trouble sleeping (it’s 2am and I’m writing this). Not to mention RLS but it’s not unbearable yet. However after reading all your threads it going to be a long road to freedom from the liquid handcuffs.
To All of you that have made it through – you rock! Methadone is the most insidious drug and no-one should go from heroin to done like I did. I just hope I have the strength to stay off it like you guys. I want to feel real again and not nod off all the time. Thanks for all your tips on what to do, I know it’s going to be a nightmare but I’m going to get clean before I leave this earth.
So I decided to leave a comment since these posts seem to be pretty recent. All others I find seem to be dated. My story is very similar to many of you, but I wanted to give my input to how I tapered off. I went from 75 to 0. I cannot stress how important it is to go slow and let yourself stabilize before your next reduction. The clinic I was at was very good for me.
I actually sat at a dose of 2mg for several months, (maybe 6) and them 1mg for about 4 months before stopping altogether. Of course there is/was some fear seeing how I had a failed attempt few years back, but honestly, I feel pretty good now being off a few weeks. It was mostly in my mind waiting to feel sick. Some broken sleep here and there, and slight fatigue, but easier than expected actually.
Routine, support, diet and stay moving as much as you can, and you can do it. I wish the very best of luck to all of you.
Thank you Fred!
I had quit methadone cold turkey after being on it for 3 years. It’s the hardest withdrawal that I have ever experienced. I had EVERY withdraw symptom that a person could get, and it literally took about 6 months for me to feel “normal” again… whatever “normal” is. I was clean for 3 years as well, but the methadone cravings never subsided after 3 years. Eventually I would start self medicating with Loratab and Percocet only to start getting addicted again and doing Roxys! The whole time telling myself that I would never touch Methadone again!!
Right, that’s what I thought. I ran across some liquid methadone about 2 months ago and took about 15 mg. Absolutely loved it!! The next week I was back at a clinic! WTF is wrong with me? Like why am I so week of a person that this stuff literally controls my life? Now I love in fear that I’ll have to experience withdrawals again. I’m taking in consideration that I need to be on suboxone! I talked to my counselor about suboxone and I’m thinking about taking the leap. Thanks for listning.
The fear of detoxing from opioids led me to start taking methadone through the clinic. I was on 120 mgs a day and in a constant slumber for 2 years. When I decided to detox I immediately cut my dose in half only taking 60 mgs a day, which I felt fine on that dose. But, the thought of slowly tapering down until I was off…I didn’t have time for that.
So, I stopped taking it, and the detox began. Yes, it was miserable and I thought I was dying, but after the first 2 weeks the hardcore symptoms were gone. The things that helped me during those 2 weeks we’re ativan, HOT baths and lots of water to flush, and hydrate. It’s been 42 days, and I definitely lack motivation, but it’s key to get some sort of exercise and stay busy.
I’ve painted my whole house, and walk everywhere that I can. I feel much better than I have in a long time, but still have a long road of recovery ahead of me. I’m so happy that I’m no longer a slave to that nasty drug!
I’m taking Methadone for Chronic Pain from Nerve Damage from Cancer Surgery (Double Mastectomy). Tapering is HELL!!! I have severe pain all over, confusion, and memory loss. Nobody can explain the memory loss. Has anybod experienced his?
Around February 2001 I began taking methadone at a Denver addiction research treatment service. I had been taking hydrocodone and oxycodone 5mg or 7mg for severe back injury, hip, and knee pain. I withdrew from the pain pills numerous times, but my refractory depression and 30+ years of being on every antidepressant, mood stabilizer, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure drug ever manufactured, the intense depression that lasted for months after opiate withdrawal terrified me. At the time a lot of resources and support groups, online forums, research papers on PubMed were extolling the virtues of methadone, even letters from advocacy president describing how methadone “cured” bipolar symptoms that didn’t respond to conventional treatments.
Many doctors and their research stored online in those days are no longer hosted by existing web sites (Lindesmith Library). Long story short, I eventually found myself on 160 mg twice daily. I still didn’t have relief for years until I got off Effexor that did not mix well with the methadone for me. For 15 years I never took any opiates, drugs, alcohol, or argued with clinic staff, and had 2 week or 1 week takehomes for the better part of 9 years.
Still for the games and abusive nature of people who work in the clinic system, between 2-3 years ago my split dose was dropped from 320mg day to 240 mg in a single step, less than a year from then from 240 mg (120 x 2/day), I still experienced violent withdrawal within 7 hours of my first daily dose, and relief never came for 2-3 hours after any dose. Less than a year from that my dose was reduced another 40 mg in a single day. For the purpose of this post reasons would be too time consuming how clinic directors, nosey nurses, and 3rd parties with no medical licenses orchestrated these crimes against human rights, and utter cruelty reserved for Nazis and communists.
Just 2 weeks ago my split dose was reduced from 200 mg daily (100 mg x 2/day) to 120 mg once daily, no taper just one giant step again. I would describe the last 15 years of my life I did everything those clinic operators, counselors, and nurses told me with complete loyalty and devotion. Only 2 of those years I got the relief from withdrawal I was seeking. If I could get a do-over, I NEVER WOULD HAVE SOUGHT METHADONE AS A TREATMENT FOR MY FEAR OF OPIATE WITHDRAWAL, AND INADEQUATE PAIN MANAGEMENT.
Am I the ONLY person out there who gets more constipated during withdrawal, and needs 200mg of methadone just to have a bowel movement? When I was on hydrocodone or oxycodone, I experienced diarrhea during withdrawal, on methadone I get dangerously constipated during withdrawal, sometimes not going for up to 2 weeks or longer. The only way I can choke food down my taut esophagus and stomach, is the life threatening hypoglycemia I experience almost around the clock from childhood to young adult anorexia & bulimia.
I screwed up my metabolic and endocrine systems badly from that behavior. There have been several days I couldn’t even swallow ½ liter of water I was so sick. ANYONE ELSE EVER BEEN CONSTIPATED JUMPING OFF HIGH(er) DOSE METHADONE OR TAPERING? Did you suddenly have the urge to go (move your bowels almost without warning) with a near adequate dose of methadone?
Too many doctors and clinics prescribe this medicine that when administered thoughtfully and kindly, restored me to a quality of life I haven’t experienced in years. They are angry, hate the people they serve, and feel violently abusing us in more than a few ways is actually helping us. I believe it merely vents their mortal misery. I strongly admire any person who doesn’t want or need this medication who can kick this foul poison. I feel my life expectancy and time lost to withdrawal, is not worth the grim prognosis my short life has been given.
I am in awe of each and every one of you who has posted! You are indeed a strong and brave group. I have been on methadone for 12 (yes twelve) years for chronic pain. The dose was no longer working (10mg 2xday) but my doc was unwilling to change the doseage. I went to a pain clinic where they have switched me to MScontin and percocet. I asked about tapering the methadone and the possibility of wd.
The dr said nobody knows…no study to really tell an amount of MScontin to keep me from withdrawing. I am miserable. This is day 6 since my last methadone. The bone pains, abdominal pain and GI symptoms and the headache are awful. Has anyone else traded methadone for another opiate? Did that help with the wd symptoms? The doc isn’t being tremendously helpful.
He advised to increase the ms contin by one pill and the perc by one pill daily and to go to the ER, if I get into trouble or the symptoms are unbearable. Im not sure what the ER could do other than send me a big bill that I cant afford…lol. Has anyone gotten help from the ER with wd? What did they do? Thanks to all who read this.
Compassion from family and close friends is essential to effectively withdrawal from this medicine. If alone, I recommend turning your attention to the One that will always listen when you need Him to, His name begins with a “J” and his first miracle was to turn water into wine for a wedding. As for quitting “cold turkey”, it is usually painful, highly dangerous, and only for those that wish to be truly miserable or worse than miserable.
I know a person that tapered down from 45MG to 5MG of methadone per day in 6 months time. This person still has chronic pain from accidents, but did stop taking the medicine at the end of the 6 month taper. BTW, this person was on the meds for 11 years due to MVA and back issues that were unresolved. For a good long while (months actually) this person suffered from; no energy, stomach issues, headaches, insomnia, lots of pain and depression (to name a few).
Surely this proves that long term exposure to this medicine has grievous effects. Possible Solutions: If cannabis oil is legal in your part of America (or world), then you might find “tincture elixirs” (which are placed under the tongue) to be helpful. I’m told these are VERY helpful for night time as they help you separate yourself from the pain; so I’m told. :) I’m told the headaches & muscle aches will not be so blaring, because the headache will seem far away.
I believe this is true. I’m also told that Indica strains are much better than Sativa brands as Indica Tuncture is about relaxing, comfort, and calmness, as opposed to getting high. Choose your strain accordingly. You can always or ask your local legal pot store (if you live in WA, OR, or CO) about the best strains to use for tincture liquids. For sleeping, I’m told melatonin supplements are good, so is having a nearby fan to help with hot spells, and a good blanket for cold spells.
Also, I’m told you should stay “hydrated”, and be sure to encourage yourself daily. If you can find nothing to encourage yourself with, may I say, I believe that God created each of us with unique gifts. There is no one like me, and there is no one just like you. Take heart in this… When you recover you will get your second wind, and you will rise up and press on. :) I pray that anyone going through withdrawal from that medicine has a connection with “J”, because WD is hell on earth, and because of “J” it can be the last hell you ever know. -Michael
I was on 100mg for 7 years. I developed anxiety issues this year in January and was put on 1mg of Klonopin twice daily. The clinic I attended was ran by a crazy doctor. You literally had to battle to drop. After 4 months they dropped me 5mg. That was April. Then in August she gave me shit about being on Klonopin. I was forced into a rapid detox without a fair hearing or appeal.
They dropped me 10mg every 3 days until I hit 20mg and then they dropped me 5mg every 3 days. Last Saturday was my last 5mg dose. I feel like killing myself, but lack the constitution for suicide. I have extreme pain, cravings for opiates, insomnia, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. It sucks. So far it’s been 6 days without anything other than my 2mg of Klonopin. How long will these withdrawal symptoms last?
I quit cold turkey from 50 MG’s of methadone. To be honest the symptoms weren’t as intense as when I quit from pills but drawn out longer. It has been 6 weeks and I still have trouble sleeping and no energy. I do get tremors which is annoying but no big deal. I do get cravings a lot but not to intense. They just pop up out of nowhere. That’s kind of hard because you keep thinking let me get a few of whatever (drug of choice) and I will feel better.
Your mind is powerful but you have to make the choice and want to stop. I keep asking myself when the withdrawals will end and so far it hasnt. All I can say so far is that it gets better a little everyday. I have good days and bad days but from what I read that’s normal. I just try and keep as positive as I can and have friends and family cheering me on. Believe it or not when you quit it gives others something to believe is possible.
Your doctor or a therapist can really help maybe even support groups. Support groups may not sound like a thing to do but no one else knows what we go through. My “good” friends can never hope to understand. Its not something they can comprehend. Good luck to you all!
I’ve been on methadone for 20+ years, I was injured in the Military in 1997. I’m 55 years old and I’m Done!! This drug has diminished my life to a point that I’ve decided finally to stop. This is day 18…I didn’t know Hell until now. If it wasn’t for my wife I would never had made it this far, I tried to do the taper several times with no luck. I decided to go cold turkey, I’ve done this several times but never got past 5 days…this drug is so strong that I can smell it coming out of my skin, I’m so sick.
I haven’t slept more then 2 hrs in 18 days. I really don’t know how I’m writing this because I can’t think at all. My mind is so blurry, my eyes can’t hardly focus on anything. My legs feel like they are on fire and the rest of my body feels like I’ve been ran over by a truck. I have headaches, I can hardly keep anything down including water of which I drink constantly.
I’ve tried to exercising but I can’t get a 1000 feet from the front door without the feeling I’m going to crap my pants, I’m not sure I can do this? I’m starting to doubt it! I have methadone 10 steps from me…maybe being on this drug 20 years has change me forever. Thanks.
To the author(s), This is a very helpful article in many ways. I just have one serious caveat: under withdrawal symptoms,you list depression (very true), but you say, “Since most people receive feelings of pleasure and/or an antidepressant effect from taking this drug, it is no wonder that they experience depression when they withdraw.” Saying that most, or even many, people receive feelings of pleasure when on this drug is wildly inaccurate.
I have no experience with taking methadone for pain relief, but as someone in my second (and hopefully final) year of taking methadone as a maintenance drug for opioid dependency, I can assure you that Methadone Maintenance Therapy patients receive no pleasure or high of any kind from their methadone. It is very slightly pleasant during the first few days, up to two weeks for some patients. After that there is no high.
Only unpleasant side effects and the staving-off of terrible suffering. This is true for me and everyone else I know. More importantly, the consensus among knowledgeable physicians is the same. This is a wonderful and helpful article, but stating that methadone patients receive feelings of pleasure just adds to the mistaken belief that MMT patients are just exchanging one high for another.
This is one of the reasons such patients are so stigmatized. I hope I have convinced you to change what you’ve written, as the stigma is brutal and we need all the help we can get spreading the truth. Thank you, -Kevin
I know most of you are going to disagree with what I’m about to say but here’s my story with methadone. I was on 96 mg per day for like 3 years then wanted to taper down which they make almost impossible at the clinic I went to came down to 86 mg for like a year. 30 days ago I woke up and said I’m not going back. I felt like crap anyway. So why keep taking the evil stuff?
So I cold turkey came off 86 mg which is dangerous. I went to detox for 6 days. My blood pressure and pulse were all over the place. Didn’t sleep or eat for 9 days. But after that I gradually began to feel better. After day ten I could keep some light food down and went on walks with my mom. I feel ok at day 30 not a spring chicken but I’ll get there. Tapering is too slow and it’s too easy to go back up on your dose or stop the taper etc…
I go to meetings and pray and try to stay healthy. No other drug can save you… not suboxone, subutex, naloxone or any other BS they wanna get you hooked on. You just gotta want it. If anyone on here needs any help or advice email me anytime. Remember methadone and opiates is just a chemical we are much stronger than they will ever be. P.S. Drink as much water as possible and eat crackers if you keep anything else down.