Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Those who are addicted to Methadone can experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when they try to become sober.
These can range from being mildly uncomfortable to being detrimental to their health and mental wellbeing.
Individuals tend to experience these symptoms in several characteristic waves, and while withdrawal is very taxing, there are options available for support and treatment.
What Is Methadone?
It is designed to reduce the withdrawal symptoms they experience when sober, making the process easier.
For example, it is known to reduce shaking and other flu-like symptoms that individuals experience when they quit heroin, as well as dampen their cravings to take the drug.
In spite of its helpful qualities, Methadone is highly addictive.
With frequent, unsupervised use, the body can become so used to its presence that it struggles to cope without it.
Essentially, the body can transition its state of dependency from one substance to another.
What Withdrawal Symptoms Does Methadone Spark?
As with heroin, Methadone addiction can cause the body to fall into chemical imbalance when sober.
This kind of imbalance triggers withdrawal symptoms, causing great discomfort and pain.
These symptoms can look different from instance to instance.
Cravings are what many imagine when they think of drug withdrawal, but there are actually many ways that the body can respond to a lack of Methadone.
Cold Or Flu-Like Symptoms
Methadone withdrawal can trigger symptoms that individuals would otherwise associate with being under the weather.
These can range from minor inconveniences like a runny nose, watery eyes and a decreased appetite, but more serious cases may involve individuals having a fever and sweating profusely.
Problems With Sleep
The body being so chemically and hormonally unsettled can often result in it struggling to fall asleep or sustain being asleep.
Insomnia is a very common Methadone withdrawal symptom, in turn triggering bouts of restlessness, tiredness and irritability.
Nightmares are also noted to be a common side effect of this poor sleep.
Methadone withdrawal can impact the stomach in many ways.
Individuals can experience stomach cramps, a decreased appetite, abdominal pain and constipation.
Feeling sick is also very common, with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea often resulting from the body trying to rebalance itself without the drug.
Irregular Emotions And Behaviour
Violent changes in body and brain chemistry during Methadone withdrawal can take a huge toll on an individual’s emotional stability.
Mood swings are very common, as are intense feelings of agitation and confusion.
Individuals can also begin acting out of character when going through withdrawal, behaving aggressively or experiencing intense paranoia.
Problems In The Body
General aches and pains are a common withdrawal symptom.
These tend to be felt most in the bones and joints of the arms and legs.
Additionally, individuals can experience heart complications, triggering an irregular heartbeat or higher blood pressure than normal.
Mental Health Difficulties
Similarly to withdrawal’s effect on emotions, individuals can experience irregular thoughts and adopt unhealthy perceptions of the world around them.
A general sensation of disorientation can also occur, causing individuals to struggle to concentrate on everyday tasks.
Hallucinations are also noted as possible symptoms of withdrawal.
How Long Does Methadone Withdrawal Last?
When an individual stops taking Methadone, it takes around 24 hours for the body to begin responding to its absence, sometimes up to 60 hours.
How long withdrawal lasts can range from a few weeks to almost 2 months.
Does Methadone Withdrawal Vary During This Time?
The symptoms an individual experiences throughout withdrawal tend to change as they progress through it.
The body responds in many different ways as it realises and processes Methadone’s absence, resulting in several stages of withdrawal.
Initially (within the first few days), symptoms are primarily physical.
This is when the cold symptoms, bodily pains and heart complications tend to manifest.
As the first week of sobriety passes, individuals tend to experience an increase in the severity of their symptoms.
As well as a wave of strong cravings, they tend to also face insomnia, nausea and intense waves of anxiety during this phase.
Methadone stays in the body for around 8 days, meaning that this is when withdrawal symptoms reach their most impactful (as the body becomes truly sober at this time).
The most serious problems occur at this point, including depression and suicidal thoughts.
After two weeks of being sober, the worst of withdrawal passes.
Aches and pains are still very common during this time, but individuals often see a drop in the severity of their symptoms from this point on.
In the months after withdrawal has ended, most individuals see an end to their symptoms.
However, some may experience what is known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), including numbness to happiness, prolonged insomnia and general confusion.
Treating Methadone Withdrawal
When Methadone withdrawal strikes, individuals can feel alone and defeated, thinking there is no way they can be supported.
However, this is not the case as there are several options available for helping those trying to get sober.
The most immediate form of support that individuals can access is withdrawal-easing medications.
Similarly to how Methadone eased their dependency on heroin, they can take another, less addictive substance to ease their transition to sobriety.
Studies show that substances such as Buprenorphine are very effective when it comes to tackling opioid withdrawal as they are able to relieve individuals of their symptoms and reduce their cravings long enough for their bodies to get used to the b
Caution, however, must be taken when assessing the suitability of these drugs.
Buprenorphine, for example, must not be prescribed if individuals have respiratory problems or diabetes.
Individuals can also benefit from more supervision-focused treatments.
Methadone therapy involves a doctor overseeing an individual’s reduced consumption of the drug and helping them do it as effectively and safely as possible.
This often involves a doctor helping them execute a staggered reduction in consumption, taking gradually smaller doses of Methadone so that their body can become used to sobriety over time, reducing the odds of it reacting violently.
Tackling withdrawal can also be a matter of supporting individuals so that they are more capable of withstanding the pains and discomforts of getting sober.
Support groups are a good method of doing this, bringing individuals going through withdrawal together to talk to and support one another through the process.
This can also help them feel less alone in their experience, boosting their motivation to become sober.
How Rehab Recovery Can Help
Withdrawal symptoms are scary, and it’s normal to be put off when learning about them.
But don’t struggle alone.
At Rehab Recovery, we have much more information to share about Methadone addiction and are able to support you in talking about your substance abuse and reaching out for appropriate medical help.
For support and guidance, call us for free on 0800 088 66 86.