What are the Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell
Methadone addiction symptoms mimic those of heroin.
Methadone addiction symptoms mimic those of heroin.

Methadone is a prescription medication that may be used to treat chronic pain. This medication may also be prescribed to reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with illicit drugs such as heroin. Unfortunately, discontinuing the methadone can also cause withdrawal symptoms. Some potential symptoms of methadone withdrawal may include anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia. Since some of these symptoms can be particularly difficult, it is often recommended that the patient undergo the withdrawal period at a treatment center where there is a medical team present to assist with the process.

Methadone withdrawal might cause insomnia.
Methadone withdrawal might cause insomnia.

Varying degrees of pain are among the most difficult symptoms of methadone withdrawal that a patient will face. This may include abdominal pain, muscle pain, or joint pain. Muscle spasms may develop anywhere in the body, often making it difficult to perform normal everyday tasks. Psychological disturbances such as anxiety or irritability are also common symptoms of methadone withdrawal. Some patients may experience extreme fatigue, excess sweating, or runny eyes or nose.

Symptoms of methadone withdrawal may include abdominal pain.
Symptoms of methadone withdrawal may include abdominal pain.

Many symptoms of methadone withdrawal begin to develop within one to two days of discontinuing the medication. These symptoms often become progressively worse during the first week of withdrawal. After the first week, the severity of the side effects usually begins to subside. Within two weeks, symptoms of methadone withdrawal are generally mild. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and the patient may be encouraged to stay at a treatment facility during this phase of withdrawal to prevent him or her from returning to illicit drug use in an effort to escape the pain.

Migraines are a symptom of methadone withdrawal.
Migraines are a symptom of methadone withdrawal.

Patients may experience some symptoms of methadone withdrawal for up to six months following discontinuation of the medication. These symptoms are typically a general feeling of weakness or fatigue, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Many of the symptoms of methadone withdrawal may be reduced by slowly decreasing the dosage instead of abruptly discontinuing the medication. The patient will be closely monitored during the treatment process, and therapy or counseling may be recommended as part of the treatment plan.

Methadone should not be considered a cure for drug addiction.
Methadone should not be considered a cure for drug addiction.

Methadone should not be considered a cure for drug addiction. Instead, this medication works by reducing some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with ceasing illicit drug use. Methadone treatment may continue for several months or even up to two years in some patients. The longer the treatment with methadone, the more likely the patient is to remain drug-free once the medication is discontinued. During this lengthy treatment process, the dosage may be slowly reduced as tolerated by the patient in an effort to also reduce the symptoms of methadone withdrawal.

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    • Methadone addiction symptoms mimic those of heroin.
      By: Richard Villalon
      Methadone addiction symptoms mimic those of heroin.
    • Methadone withdrawal might cause insomnia.
      By: Dan Race
      Methadone withdrawal might cause insomnia.
    • Symptoms of methadone withdrawal may include abdominal pain.
      By: sumnersgraphicsinc
      Symptoms of methadone withdrawal may include abdominal pain.
    • Migraines are a symptom of methadone withdrawal.
      By: gpointstudio
      Migraines are a symptom of methadone withdrawal.
    • Methadone should not be considered a cure for drug addiction.
      By: palangsi
      Methadone should not be considered a cure for drug addiction.
    • Withdrawing from methodone can cause night sweats and nausea.
      By: Innovated Captures
      Withdrawing from methodone can cause night sweats and nausea.