Attempting to go through methadone withdrawal without consulting medical professionals, is never recommended as a number of side effects and symptoms can manifest, making the pain of addiction seem like a better option than the pain of detox. While certain side effects are simply unavoidable during withdrawal, with the help of the medical staff these side effects can be mitigated and treated. In addition to the medical treatment received, someone in methadone detox will have access to a diverse set of psychological therapies, which, when combined with medical therapy, will dramatically improve the chances of complete recovery.
Most people who have become addicted to or dependent on methadone originally started taking methadone to treat an addiction to other opioids. Opiates are extremely powerful drugs that can alter brain chemistry significantly, creating an incredibly powerful dependence on opioids to simply feel “normal”. Intensive therapy and care can make a release from the grips of addiction possible, but where there is previous addiction, there also lies a history of pain-avoidance. Without the help of methadone detox centers, the pain of withdrawal can lead those who suffer from opiate use disorders (OUD) to seek relief in the form of other drugs.
Methadone mirrors the symptoms of withdrawal from other opiates, with the severity and intensity of symptoms typically commensurate to the extent and history of the addiction. Detox from methadone is rarely fatal but it can be dangerous for anyone who also has underlying medical conditions. OUD can lead to a phenomenon called downregulation in which the body’s natural responses to pain and pleasure, cardiovascular systems, endocrine systems, and brain neurotransmission slowly diminish as the body begins to rely upon the drug to function. Those with the following conditions should take even greater care detoxing from methadone:
Even the healthiest of persons will experience withdrawal once they have built a tolerance or dependence to methadone – never try to detox alone. The professionals at methadone detox centers will ensure that care is tailored to the unique medical and mental needs of each person in their care. With proper medical and psychiatric care, recovery is possible!
The professionals at methadone detox centers will be ready to take on the challenge of assisting everyone who seeks recovery from addiction. While intake processes may vary from location to location, methadone detox centers will take time to gather some medical information that will be used to help craft a care plan unique to the individual.
Past drug use, including history with methadone and other opioids, will be discussed. Details gathered at this stage will be very important. Not only will this help set a realistic timeline for complete detox from methadone, but it may also provide insight into what the journey through detox will look like. Additionally, this conversation will open the door to discuss therapy options that may be pertinent and useful. An open and fresh dialogue about the real issues will make an immense difference in the quality of care that can be provided.
The information gathered relative to the history of drug use would likely include:
Basic health information will be gathered as well. In addition to collecting and documenting vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels), routine blood work is also collected for toxicology tests and for other medical information (such as a Basic Metabolic Panel) which could inform future care. Additional information will be gathered relating to medical history. This information will be critical in shaping the care and experience in methadone detox centers. Examples of information collected would include:
This is an important step in the process as it will help set up appropriate plans of action based on the person being admitted into the facility. The more information the staff has, the better they can serve!
One of the most critical aspects of the services offered by methadone detox centers is regular medical monitoring. Methadone detox can be an incredibly painful and uncomfortable experience. Some people have described the pain of methadone detox as the sickest they’ve ever been, or something like the flu, only many times worse. This is why careful medical monitoring during methadone detox is so important. It is possible to manage the symptoms of methadone detox, and with the right support, the pain of the detoxification process can be followed by the joy of a life free from addiction.
The symptoms of methadone detox will match withdrawal symptoms of all other opioid drugs, however, because methadone will metabolize at a much slower rate, the initial symptoms associated with detox may not be fully felt until up to 24 hours after the last dose. This also means that complete detox from methadone can be longer and that the symptoms may persist longer than they would when compared to detox from other opioids, although the symptoms may be milder than with other opioids.
The symptoms that will accompany methadone detox include:
The intensity of these symptoms will vary based on the individual, but will almost always be present.Methadone Withdrawal Timeline
The most common medical approach to methadone detox is to taper doses of the drug over a period of time. Buprenorphine is also commonly prescribed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, there are a number of widely recognized and proven medications that can help alleviate symptoms and address the collateral effects of methadone detox. The medical professionals at methadone detox centers will be able to prescribe medications as part of the overall recovery plan. Here are some commonly prescribed drugs when used in this context:
Other medications may be prescribed as needed, to address the more commonly experienced symptoms during methadone detox.
Studies have repeatedly shown that successful detox from methadone is more likely when a comprehensive plan including multiple forms of therapy are adopted and implemented. Methadone detox centers will provide an introduction to and access to a variety of therapy options, which, when combined with medical therapy, will continue to build upon an established foundation of recovery. In addition to the exposure to therapy during methadone detox, methadone detox centers will provide information and access to a host of therapeutic options. Below are some of the forms of therapy to consider:
A life of addiction can be fraught with isolation and loneliness. Group therapy provides the perfect counterpoint to this troubling element. By working towards common solutions with people who share a similar path, and have experienced similar struggles, group therapy will engender a sense of belonging and community; two things that in and of themselves can help build resilience and hope in recovery. Group therapy may be more or less structured, but when offered at methadone detox centers, the underlying message is the same: you are not alone!
The skills uncovered, practiced, and applied during cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can pay a lifetime of dividends. CBT is an evidence-based therapy that works by revealing and working on the thought patterns, reactions, beliefs, and motivations behind our thoughts and actions. In this way, CBT can quite literally change the way someone behaves. For example, by examining the deeper context of the decision to use drugs in the very first place, CBT can help instill behavioral interventions to use the next time the choice of whether or not to use drugs is presented.
12 Step Programs work and have been working for over 80 years. Precisely what makes them so successful could be debated, but they are appealing for many reasons. First, the fellowship of 12 step programs is composed of others who are recovering from addiction. There is an immediate sense of bonding over the shared affliction. The 12 steps themselves promote healing, self-awareness, and service. 12 step programs are also extremely accessible, with fellowships and groups of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities in almost every country, every state, every large city, and many small cities. This sense of shared purpose and community is a major factor in helping those in recovery, one hour at a time.
There is no “easy” button, no “easy” path, but a life in recovery does get easier. One thing is certain, recovery doesn’t just “happen”, it requires work and ongoing medical and talk therapy. Following methadone detox, medical therapy can be continued and evaluated on a regular basis through a general practitioner or psychiatrist if applicable. This will be critical in addressing the physical and mental health issues that can accompany life in the early days and weeks after you’ve completed your stay at a methadone detox facility. Continued talk therapy is also very important, whether it be with a clinical or licensed professional in the form of CBT, or as a member of a 12-step fellowship group. In many ways, the growth in recovery is a lifelong process, but each day free from drug use is a day to celebrate, and proof that recovery is possible!
If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the sponsored hotline is a confidential and convenient solution.
Calls to any sponsored hotline (non-facility) will be answered by:
If you wish to contact a specific medical detox center then find a specific detox center using our detox locator tool.
Alternatives to finding addiction treatment or learning about substance abuse:
To learn more about how Detox Local operates, please contact us.