How Long Does Withdrawal From Methadone Last?

Methadone Detox: How Long Does It Take?

How Long Does Withdrawal From Methadone Last?

Methadone is a unique drug in that while it can help with the recovery process from certain addictions, it is also a powerful enough substance that it can lead to addiction as well.

Unfortunately, for those who get addicted to methadone, getting off of it can be a real challenge. The time it takes to withdraw and detox off of methadone can be a lengthy one as well as an uncomfortable and unpleasant one as well.

The good news is, there are safe ways to go about doing it.

Let’s take a look at what methadone is, how people get addicted to it, and the methadone detox process.

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is traditionally prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. As mentioned in the intro, it is also commonly used to help in treating certain opiate addictions such as heroin.

Similar to other opioids, methadone attaches itself to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system. As a result, it can be highly addictive, and people using methadone can easily become dependent on the drug, even if they are using it as prescribed.

Methadone is considered a Schedule II drug, which is the same level as other opioids such as morphine and hydrocodone.

There are two common ways in which someone can become addicted to methadone.

The first occurs when someone is prescribed methadone by a doctor for pain management. Since it is a powerful opioid, the body can quickly build up a dependence on the substance. This can result in the body needing more and more methadone to not only reach its desired effect but even just to function properly. When this happens, the body has developed an addiction to the substance.

Another common way in which someone becomes addicted to methadone is during treatment for another substance addiction. Methadone is used to treat those suffering from other extreme opioid addictions such as heroin.

However, for someone who already finds themselves suffering from addiction, the chances that a methadone dependency and addiction develop are significantly higher. Since it curbs cravings and helps reduce the negative side effects associated with opioid withdrawal, the body can become dependent on it.

As a result, the body thinks that it needs methadone in order to feel it can function properly.

When someone finds themselves addicted to methadone, the signs and symptoms are very similar to that of other opioids such as heroin or morphine. Un these other opioids, though, methadone tends to stay in the body longer. This makes the symptoms associated with methadone addiction and withdrawal more severe.

When someone who is addicted to methadone begins to withdrawal from the substance, they can expect to experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach issues
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Cravings

If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a medical professional. You will ly need to enter into a medically-supervised detox program in order to safely detox and withdraw from the methadone.

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Because of the nature of methadone, the entire withdrawal and detox process can take significantly longer than with other opioids and other addictive substances.

Symptoms can begin within the first 24 hours after you used methadone last, and the entire withdrawal process can last up to several weeks, depending on the severity of the addiction.

Here is a breakdown of what you can expect during the first few weeks of the methadone withdrawal timeline:

Days 1 and 2

With the initial withdrawal symptoms not typically showing up for at least 24 hours after the last dose is taken, the first two days tend to be pretty normal. During the first two days, you may begin to experience the following symptoms:

  • Muscle aches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Chills

Days 3 through 8

It’s during this time period when the methadone withdrawal symptoms will typically hit their peak. Depending on the severity of the addiction, the symptoms can be anywhere from relatively mild to extreme.

This is also the time period when cravings will be the strongest.

In addition to the symptoms that you might have begun feeling during the first two days, additional symptoms that you may experience during days 3 through 8 include:

  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Irritability,
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Flu- physical symptoms

Days 9 through 15

Once you have hit day 9, you will ly notice that some of the symptoms have begun to subside. However, that doesn’t mean that you are in the clear yet. During this time, you will ly still experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Strong cravings
  • Physical discomfort
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

Days 15 and On

Symptoms such as strong cravings, low energy levels, and trouble sleeping can persist for weeks after you have stopped taking methadone.

In addition, in the weeks and months after stopping taking methadone, many people have reported experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms, otherwise known as PAWS.

Those experiencing PAWS may continue to do so for months or even years after they have stopped taking methadone.

Some common symptoms associated with post-acute withdrawal include:

  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

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Many people struggle when it comes to getting off methadone for a couple of reasons. They might be afraid of the symptoms that will come along with withdrawal.

They might have even made an attempt to detox at home, and the side effects were so bad they decided to just continue using.

If you’re someone who has attempted to get off of methadone and has struggled, the best and safest way to withdraw from methadone is by detoxing under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals.

Methadone detox can be done at several facilities. These include a medical facility such as a hospital, a dedicated detox center, or even a treatment facility that also provides detox services, such as Chapel Hill Medical Detox. Attempting to self-detox at home can be incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening. It can also increase the lihood of a relapse.

One of the biggest benefits of undergoing a medical detox is the around-the-clock medical care and supervision. Because you have trained medical professionals constantly checking on you, they can make the entire withdrawal and detox process as painless and comfortable as possible. They will also make sure that you are slowly weaned off the methadone as opposed to just quitting cold-turkey.

Book an Appointment

After you have successfully detoxed off of methadone, the next step is to undergo treatment for your addiction. The two most common types of treatment for methadone addiction are inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is ideal for those suffering from moderate to severe methadone addiction.

Since participating in an inpatient treatment program means you live at the facility during the duration of your treatment, you have access to around-the-clock medical care and treatment.

You’ll also have a variety of therapy programs including individual and group therapy, as well as many other valuable programs such as life skills training and access to aftercare programs as well.

Outpatient Treatment

For those who are suffering from a minor methadone addiction or for whatever reason can’t commit to living at the treatment facility, there is outpatient treatment. There are many different options when it comes to outpatient treatment.

These include partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, and standard outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment provides many of the same services that inpatient treatment does such as therapy sessions.

The biggest difference is that you come to the facility during the day for treatment and then return home at the end of each day when your daily activities have been completed.

Contact Us

Whether you became addicted to methadone through recreational use, a prescription, or even being given it to help with another opioid addiction, it’s important to know that you are not alone.

Getting off of methadone can make for a scary and uncomfortable time.

That’s why at Chapel Hill Medical Detox, we provide a variety of treatment programs and services in order to make the entire withdrawal, detox, and treatment process as comfortable and painless as possible.

We offer a variety of treatment options all aimed at getting you off methadone and getting your life back on track. We want everyone that enters our facility to go on to live a happy, healthy, and sober life.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a methadone addiction or dependency and could benefit from treatment, contact us today to learn more about the treatment options we have available, as well as our methadone detox programs.

Taking the first step can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out today for a confidential conversation


Key Facts About Methadone: Detox and Withdrawal Timeline

How Long Does Withdrawal From Methadone Last?

Methadone. More addictive than OxyContin or heroin. Harder to detox from than OxyContin or heroin. A dangerous opioid. Horrible side effects. Rough withdrawal symptoms.

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Methadone?

A physical addiction to methadone doesn’t take long to develop. And for people who are interested in quitting methadone, the withdrawal symptoms can be powerful. Methadone users usually start feeling withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of their last dose. However, others don’t feel the pangs of withdrawal for several days after their last dose.

The first seven to 10 days are the most painful days of withdrawal. The entire withdrawal process takes three to six weeks or longer for those with a severe addiction and for those who have been taking a higher dose than 40 milligrams.

Here is the breakdown of the detox timeline for methadone. Click on any of the following four-time frames to learn the methadone withdrawal symptoms one may experience during that span:

The First 24 Hours of Methadone Withdrawal

  • Chills, fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle aches
  • Flu- symptoms

Days 2-10

  • Strong methadone cravings
  • Paranoia, hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, anxiety
  • Flu- symptoms persisting

Days 11-21

  • Most physical symptoms are over
  • Strong methadone cravings
  • Depression – sometimes severe
  • No motivation, no feelings of pleasure

Days 22+

  • Intermittent depression may occur
  • Other mild symptoms may remain for several weeks

This timeline is for someone taking up to a maximum of 40 milligrams. For those using more than that dosage, the timeline will ly be different.

Methadone Dosing

Methadone is most commonly used for two reasons: detoxification of opioid dependence and opioid replacement therapy. Dosage depends on the goal of treatment. The medically approved dosing information below applies to adults.

Short-Term Detox with Methadone

When medical professionals use methadone to detox a patient from opioid addiction, they should treat it as a brief course to stabilize the patient. After stabilization, a period of medically supervised withdrawal should occur with a gradual reduction in dosage.

Day 1: Administer a dose of 40 milligrams per day to the patient, in divided doses.

After 2-3 days: Gradually decrease the dose in two-day intervals while maintaining a sufficient dose to keep withdrawal symptoms tolerable.

Methadone Dosing for Opioid Dependence

When methadone is used for detoxification and maintenance treatment of opioid addiction, the dose administered is different than in short-term detox. When seeking treatment for opioid addiction, patients should only use methadone in conjunction with appropriate medical, social and psychological services.

Why Methadone May Be Given for Opioid Detox

The goal of using methadone to detox someone from heroin or other strong opioids is to:

  • Titrate to a dose that prevents opioid withdrawal.
  • Reduce the patient’s hunger and craving for their addictive drug of choice.
  • Block the euphoric effects of recreational opioid use.
  • Ensure the patient is tolerant of the sedative effects of methadone.
  • Reach a commonly targeted range of 80 to 120 milligrams daily for therapeutic efficacy.

For cessation of therapy, abrupt discontinuation is not advised due to severe withdrawal effects. Decreasing the patient’s dose should typically be only 10 percent at a time every 10 to 14 days.

Oral Methadone Dosage

The initial oral dose of methadone for opioid addiction typically is 20 to 30 milligrams. An additional dose of 5 to 10 milligrams can be given orally if withdrawal symptoms are not repressed or if symptoms reappear.

The guidelines are:

  • Maximum initial dose: 30 milligrams
  • Maximum first day dose: 40 milligrams
  • Adjust the dose over the first week to control symptoms two to four hours after dosing.

Methadone levels accumulate over time, so the detox professionals should carefully and gradually titrate each patient down.

Injectable or IV Methadone Dosing Guidelines

For patients in a hospital or recovery facility, an injectable form of methadone is still currently available. Particularly for patients who cannot take medications orally, parenteral methadone can be a temporary treatment for opioid dependence.

A patient’s oral dose should be converted to an IV version in a 2-to-1 ratio (i.e., oral methadone 10 milligrams is equivalent to 5 milligrams of parenteral methadone).

General Guidelines for Dosing

Keep in mind that all dosing information and guidelines for methadone in this article are for adults only. Pregnant women will require different detoxification guidelines. This information is not for medical advice or to take the place of a professional doctor’s opinion for any specific patient.

Here are some general guidelines for methadone dosing:

  • Lower doses are for patients whose tolerance is expected to be lower upon entering treatment.
  • Patients who have taken opioids for fewer than 5 days may no longer be tolerant.
  • The initial doses are not previous treatment.
  • Patients should not expect methadone to work as a complete pain reliever.
  • If patients in treatment are in acute pain, they may require higher or more frequent doses.

High-Dose Methadone

What constitutes a high dose of methadone?

Most traditional methadone detox programs will not accept patients who have been taking more than 80 milligrams of methadone daily. It is considered high-dose methadone.

However, many people end up using 150, 200 or even 300 milligrams per day.

Oftentimes, the people who go to treatment for other opioid addictions, heroin, end up being weaned with methadone. When withdrawal symptoms are severe, professionals may administer higher and higher doses of methadone. Finally, the patient only ends up with a new addiction to methadone instead of heroin.

Other times, patients with acute pain end up depending on methadone at increasing doses until they have a dependency on a high dose. Using methadone for long-term opioid maintenance can leave you feeling stuck since you’re taking a drug that you can never seem to reduce for years and years.

Getting Off Methadone

You can get off methadone, but it’s not easy. You must be sure it’s what you want to do and be willing to stick to a plan for anywhere up to 18 months to achieve it on your own.

Here are some guidelines for detoxing from methadone:

  • Educate yourself about the subjects methadone, detox and endorphins.
  • Talk to your doctor about how to gradually stop taking methadone.
  • Find an alternative medicine doctor to help you with the process.
  • Find a therapist if you are stopping methadone from a previous heroin or opioid addiction.
  • Focus on good hydration, multivitamins and enriching nutritious meals.
  • Learn how to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and pulse.
  • Start doing exercise now to prepare and work your way up.
  • Search methadone detox centers that will taper you down quickly, and find out what services they offer beyond detox.

These ideas should not take the place of a physician’s advice. For patients on high-dose methadone, this process typically takes six to 18 months to do on your own.

Finding Guidance

Family First Intervention does not assist families in finding methadone clinics or long-term opioid maintenance programs, nor do we assist in getting individuals on methadone for any long-term use.

However, we can help you get a family member into a methadone detox facility and off an opioid maintenance plan or opioid replacement therapy permanently. Family First Intervention can indeed help in finding a detox center for high-dose methadone as well.

Our Treatment Assessment & Referral Services


Methadone Withdrawal and Detox — The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab

How Long Does Withdrawal From Methadone Last?

Methadone can help people manage addictions to heroin, prescription painkillers and other opioid drugs. However, as an opioid itself, methadone can also be very addictive.

It’s common for people to become dependent on methadone after long-term use, and when someone with methadone dependency stops taking the drug, they can experience withdrawal symptoms.

The best way to reduce the severity of methadone withdrawal symptoms is through a gradual reduction in dosage, also known as a taper.

Methadone Withdrawal

As with any opioid, ending methadone use on your own or quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms.

A supervised withdrawal at a legitimate detoxification facility is the best way to help ensure a safe outcome.

By detoxing from methadone in the safest, most supportive environment possible, people reduce the risk of experiencing severely uncomfortable or potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone misuse represents a unique problem regarding drug addiction and treatment. The drug is helpful because it relieves withdrawal symptoms that can trigger relapses in people with opioid addiction. However, what sometimes happens is that people take methadone to quit one drug but then become addicted to the methadone itself.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of other opioids. These symptoms include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Diarrhea

Methadone Withdrawal Timeline

Methadone withdrawal symptoms can begin within 12 to 48 hours after taking the last dose. They can also begin when the total daily dose of the drug drops below 20 mg. Withdrawal symptoms peak within two to three days, and they may last for up to 20 days.

How Long Does Methadone Withdrawal Last?

The length of methadone withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. In most people, symptoms last anywhere from 10 to 20 days.

Methadone Detox

When a doctor prescribes methadone, they can work with the patient to gradually lower the dosage amount over time and successfully taper the patient off the drug. Tapering off methadone is a good way to avoid withdrawal symptoms. However, if you are taking methadone for opioid dependency, you should stay on the drug for at least 12 months before tapering off.

In some cases, medications buprenorphine can be used to treat an opioid dependency. However, buprenorphine can trigger withdrawal symptoms if someone takes more than 30 mg of methadone per day. For this reason, a doctor may not be able to immediately convert a patient from methadone to buprenorphine, especially if the patient takes a high dose of methadone.

High-Dose Methadone Detox

A high-dose methadone detox is similar to a methadone detox that involves smaller doses. However, the taper will ly be slightly different if the patient takes a higher dose of methadone as opposed to a lower dose.

For people who take high methadone doses, experts recommend reducing the methadone dose by 10 mg each week until the dose reaches 40 mg a day. After this, the dose can be reduced by 5 mg each week until the person is completely off methadone.

High-dose and low-dose tapers are done differently to reduce the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms. These approaches also illustrate why it is important to work with medical professionals when detoxing from methadone. Doctors can determine the proper form of detox and create an effective tapering schedule, which allows patients to have a safer, more comfortable withdrawal process.

Methadone Detox Center

The Recovery Village offers detox services and addiction treatment programs at a variety of locations throughout the country. These facilities each offer inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient programs to help clients with their individual situations, but any of them can help you take the first step toward lifelong recovery:

  • The Recovery Village: Located in Umatilla, Florida, The Recovery Village is a 43,600-square-foot facility where clients get away from the stressors of daily life.
  • The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake: Located near Colorado Springs, The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake features scenic mountain views only 60 miles from Denver.
  • The Recovery Village Columbus: The Recovery Village Columbus in Ohio offers life-changing treatment in Groveport for those beginning recovery.
  • The Recovery Village Ridgefield: Located in Washington, The Recovery Village Ridgefield offers its clients comfortable cottages close to nature and evidence-based healing.
  • The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper: Serving the Northeast, The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper is a cutting-edge facility in Cherry Hill, New Jersey that opened in January 2021.
  • Orlando Recovery Center: Found right in the heart of Orlando, the Orlando Recovery Center offers easy access to comprehensive addiction treatment.
  • IAFF Center of Excellence: The IAFF Center of Excellence is a specialized center in Maryland that serves firefighters and first responders struggling with PTSD, addiction and other behavioral health concerns.
  • Next Generation Village: This Florida facility focuses primarily on assisting adolescents who are struggling with addiction. Next Generation Village helps teens enter long-term recovery while also continuing their education.

After detox, many patients progress to an inpatient or outpatient program at an addiction rehab facility.

The Recovery Village offers a full continuum of evidence-based care, allowing clients to receive detox, inpatient, outpatient, dual diagnosis and aftercare services through one facility.

Our treatment programs teach each client the skills necessary to manage addiction, overcome setbacks and return to daily life as a healthier, drug-free person.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to methadone or other opioids, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about opioid addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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Methadone Withdrawal And Detox

How Long Does Withdrawal From Methadone Last?

Methadone is a drug that can be incredibly helpful when someone is trying to overcome an addiction to heroin or other opioids.

Unfortunately, this medication can also be addictive in its own right. People who are dependent on or addicted to methadone will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.

These symptoms can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if not managed properly.

If you are abusing or addicted to methadone and are unsure of how to stop, Vertava Health has a number of treatment options to help you both detox from and overcome an addiction to methadone.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a drug that is commonly used to help individuals quit heroin or other opioids. This medication, which is only available with a prescription, can reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and combat cravings. Methadone may also be used to treat severe pain that does not respond to other pain relievers.

This medication works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain to change how the brain perceives pain in order to provide pain relief. It also blocks the euphoric effects of other opioids, making it helpful in opioid addiction treatment. As an opioid agonist, methadone is considered an opioid and can be abused and addictive if used for prolonged periods of time.

Methadone Dependence and Withdrawal

People who take methadone for an extended period or who abuse methadone and become dependent on it are ly to experience methadone withdrawal when stopping the drug. This is especially true if a person suddenly stops taking methadone rather than slowly tapering off the medication.

Methadone dependence and addiction often don’t happen purposely. Individuals overcoming heroin or other opioid addiction may begin to take methadone as part of a treatment program. Unfortunately, this drug can replace the previous drugs of abuse if not taken exactly as prescribed and closely monitored by a doctor.

If a person is dependent on methadone and trying to quit taking the drug, a medically supervised detoxification program is the best and safest way to do so.

Methadone Detox Process, Therapy, And Withdrawal Timeline

People will typically begin to feel withdrawal symptoms around 30 to 36 hours after last using the drug. Each person will experience methadone withdrawal differently and for different periods of time. The longer a person has been dependent on methadone, the slower he or she will need to taper off the drug.

Most physical symptoms subside after around 10 days. However, a person may continue to experience symptoms for several weeks depending on the severity of his or her addiction. Individuals can also begin to experience psychological symptoms irritability and depression one to two weeks after quitting methadone.

The safest way to withdraw from methadone is in a medically supervised detox program. Detox programs can provide round-the-clock supervision and ensure patients are as comfortable as possible throughout the detox process. A detox program can also provide medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

Common medications used to treat methadone withdrawal include:

  • Zofran — This drug can help to alleviate symptoms such as vomiting and nausea that may occur during the methadone withdrawal process.
  • Baclofen — This medication can be taken to help reduce muscle pain and spasms during the withdrawal process.
  • Suboxone — This drug is similar to methadone but may be safer and less addictive than methadone. Suboxone may be prescribed to help a person transition off of methadone and to prevent a person from relapsing on opioids.
  • Naltrexone — This drug is typically administered after the detox process is complete. Naltrexone can help reduce cravings for methadone and other opioids to promote long-term sobriety.

Everyone is different and will experience methadone withdrawal differently. This drug should never be stopped “cold turkey,” as this can result in potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Finding Care And A Treatment Center To Overcome Methadone Abuse And Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with methadone addiction and are unsure of how to stop, there are several treatment options available. Vertava Health has several rehab centers throughout the nation with detox programs that can help individuals get off methadone and begin a life in recovery.

To learn more about methadone withdrawal and detox, contact an Vertava Health treatment specialist today. Call us at 615-208-2941.


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