Methadone withdrawal is one of the worst experiences an individual can go through. If you are currently on methadone or going through methadone withdrawal, I want you to know there is a way out. I came off methadone successfully without withdrawal, and I went on to become a counselor at a methadone clinic after I cleaned up.
I learned a ton of great strategies during my journey, and I hope my experiences might be able to help you out in some way. In this article, you will learn about the methadone withdrawal timeline, methadone withdrawal symptoms, and natural ways to beat withdrawal once and for all.
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Why is it so Hard to Come off Methadone?
Methadone is an extremely powerful medication. After taking it daily for a couple of weeks or more, the body can develop a physiological dependence on it. After an individual stops taking methadone, they can endure horrific withdrawal symptoms, which I’ve seen people go through for months in the most severe cases.
Methadone is a full opioid-agonist, meaning it completely mimics the effects of other full agonists such as heroin and morphine. Don’t ever underestimate the power of methadone. Of course, it’s difficult to go through withdrawal when you come off methadone cold-turkey, but I’ve also seen how hard it can be even when people stayed on a relatively low dose and tapered off slowly.
Don’t get discouraged yet. I also saw people get off methadone with ease, and if you follow the strategies I’ve outlined you should be able to duplicate or even surpass their results. I’ll get to these techniques shortly, but for now, it’s important to first discuss the methadone withdrawal timeline and common withdrawal symptoms one might experience.
Methadone Withdrawal Timeline
The methadone withdrawal timeline is typically different than the regular opiate withdrawal timeline based on short-acting opioid drugs like heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. When using these drugs, withdrawal usually starts around 12 hours after the last dose. With methadone, people usually don’t start enduring the mild withdrawal symptoms until 24-48 hours have passed.
Everyone is different, so you can never really know exactly what to expect. There are certain criteria, however, that play a major role in how long and severe your methadone withdrawal timeline will be.
The severity of methadone withdrawal is determined by the following:
- How much methadone you are using daily.
- How long you have been using methadone for.
- Your unique biochemistry and constitution.
- Your overall health and fitness.
- Your mental state going into the withdrawal (if you simply cannot get methadone anymore your mental state won’t be as strong as if you want to stop and have a plan of action).
- Whether or not you have tapered, and if so, for how long.
Note: Based on the above criteria, I’ve seen people have different experiences with methadone withdrawal. The patient who had the easiest time had been on methadone for around three years. He tapered slowly, lowering his dose by 1 mg per week for the last 10 mg. He also exercised, had a strong mindset, and was determined to get off methadone and live a life free of being dependent on medication.
A few weeks after he tapered off methadone, I ran into him walking down the street. He came up to me and stated that he didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms at all. I was impressed. He appeared to be in good physical and mental health, so I congratulated him on his achievement and wished him a good day.
My 21-year-old male surfer patient had the worst methadone withdrawal symptoms I know of. He had been taking 120 mg of methadone daily for about nine months when he got arrested and was put in jail. He stated that his methadone withdrawal timeline started around his third day in jail. He stated the worst symptoms started around a week after his last dose and lasted for about a month.
The poor kid stated that it didn’t end there. Unfortunately, his methadone withdrawal symptoms lingered on for the next month as well.
He experienced the following list of common symptoms in an amplified way:
- Increased heart rate
- Hot and cold flashes
- Psychological terror
Note: Reading these methadone withdrawal symptoms cannot accurately describe the experience. It’s a horrible feeling, and I aim to provide you with the strategies you need to ensure you have an easy time coming off methadone.
Methadone Withdrawal Tips
During the last few years, I’ve dedicated much of my free time to researching the most effective ways to stop withdrawal from methadone and other opioids. What I’ve come up with is a natural system that anyone can use; it’s affordable and doesn’t take much effort, just a little shift in lifestyle and behaviors. These 4 mega-strategies should help you to significantly reduce your methadone withdrawal timeline and symptoms…
1. Tapering Methadone
Tapering is systematically lowering your dosage over a period of time. Slow tapers have been shown in research studies to have better success rates than fast tapers. To learn more about the taper process, be sure to check out my article Tapering Methadone: Tips for Success.
2. Opiate Withdrawal Remedies
There are many different types of opiate withdrawal remedies: herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, natural drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, etc. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking an Opiate Withdrawal Supplement while tapering or coming off methadone.If you can afford it, I also highly recommend taking this awesome supplement, because the benefits are just too good to pass up.
Things like running, lifting weights, swimming and other types of exercise can stimulate the production of endorphins, which are our bodies natural painkillers. This natural morphine works in a quick way to greatly reduce methadone withdrawal symptoms. Exercise can help reduce anxiety, pain, and insomnia due to methadone withdrawal in a matter of minutes.
Note: If you don’t like extreme forms of exercise, you can also get great benefits by going on long power walks, especially if there are hills to go up. Make sure you choose a type of exercise you enjoy so you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Most people on methadone aren’t aware they can eat certain foods and beverages to help shorten the methadone withdrawal timeline of symptoms. There are certain foods that increase endorphins and other feel-good neurotransmitters that are very beneficial to consume during methadone withdrawal.
Healthy organic protein foods such as chicken, beef, fish, eggs, and turkey should be consumed three times per day, in the amount of at least 20-30 grams per meal. Fresh fruits and veggies, healthy oils and fats like olive oil, nuts, coconut oil and avocado should also be consumed.
A few sample endorphin-building meals for methadone withdrawal could be:
- Baked salmon with asparagus and sweet potato
- Veggie omelet with melted cheese, turkey bacon, and toast
- Fresh fruit smoothie with whey protein powder
- Homemade cheeseburger with a green salad
Note: Make sure to consume half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. Chew your food slowly and drink beverages either 15 minutes before or 30 minutes after eating. Doing this will help you absorb more nutrients from your food, and it will enhance your digestion, leading to more energy.
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