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Methadone Tapering, Detox, and Withdrawal HELP!!!
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Methadone Tapering, Detox, and Withdrawal HELP!!!

     First of all I'd just like to say i am new to this community, but have been reading many posts over the past few days. I am now very angry and also a little scared. So here's my deal...I am a 25 year old male and have pretty much tried every drug out there over the past 7 years (some only once or twice), but my addiction is solely to opiates. I have smoked Heroin and taken Oxycontin in the past, but never on a consistent basis. For the past few years i have been hooked on Norcos (10mg Hydrocodone/325mg Acetaminophen). I got to the point where i was taking 12-14 pills at a time, 4-6 times a day! I have gone through withdrawals before and did not want to go through that hell again and then eventually relapse, as i have in the past. So in August 2010 i decided enough was enough and that it was time to take back control of my life. I had heard of this "miracle" drug Methadone and decided to go to my local clinic. After talking to the doctor and counselor there, they made it seem as if this was the best/only option for me. Made it sound like rainbows and unicorns. So i signed up on 08/21/2010, payed my $310 for the month and began taking my initial dose of 55ml of Methadone (liquid form). Since then i have never changed my dose and have not used any type of opiate, but do smoke pot occasionally. I do not drink alcohol either, well not since college anyways, except on special occasions. I have missed maybe 3 or 4 doses since i started this treatment, but overall pretty consistent attendance.
     After reading all these horror stories of Methadone withdrawal i got very angry/scared. So yesterday i decided to talk to my counselor and told him i would like to start lowering my dose until i am off of it completely. I immediately dropped down to a 50ml dose, so far no withdrawal symptoms. My counselor told me that once i get to a 20ml dose i should be able to leave the clinic with no problems. He even compared the 20ml dose to a strong over the counter pain killer! I would just like some advice as to how i should taper off of Methadone and also what to expect in terms of severity and length of withdrawal when i am completely off. Is there ANY success stories out there where the withdrawals were completely bearable and short-term? I really need some support from you guys because i live alone and my family is completely unaware of this whole situation. Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated. I also have no problem giving advice, support, information, etc. to others. Please someone help me exercise this demon i now have inside me...
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-The government is my new dealer
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Avatar_m_tn
HI welcome to the forum.....dont they just candy coat it at the clinic....keep in mind they are for profit clinics ....going down by 5mg a week is doable till you get down to around 30 then you going to have to go slower we cant post tapers in the open forum but if your interested
I can send you the one I used to get off this stuff.....as for going off at 20...ask the guy if he is high....thats 2 weeks of brutal withdrawals from there I recommend
jumping at 5mg tapering below that is miserable and my final withdrawal was no worst then tapering below 5...jump and get a head start on your recovery withdrawal takes a 7 day week with some symptoms going into 2 week like restless legs....your recovery will be really hard to call you havent been on it that long with a little luck mabe your done in a month
it was 90 days till I started to feel better but I was on it for 6 1/2 yrs the longer your on it the worst the withdrawal....keep us posted you will need support in the tapering process it can go smoothly then get ruff or you just might only run into a few tuff spots will work with you as it comes up...I have helped other people off this stuff it is doable hang in there and post for support good luck and God bless.....Gnarly  
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26 Comments Post a Comment
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1531531_tn?1292114460
Can anyone help me out here? I really don't know what to do...
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi~  I'll try to help with what I know although I've never taken Methadone.

The severity of withdrawal is related to length of use usually. In your case,it hasn't been long so you should do a lot better than many.  If you can get a little lower than 20ml that would be good.  Be sure to prepare for the jump off Methadone. You'll feel pretty crappy for a week or so. Get all the things you'll need for the detox and you'll get through it.

Good luck~
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1531531_tn?1292114460
Thank you. I am planning to stock up on vitamins and i also heard that i should use ensure and protein powder for the appetite loss. Is there any other specific thing i should get for when i get to the jump point?
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1235186_tn?1339127464
check the health pages on the top right of this page. you can use these to help you.
def. prepare to not feel well.the methadone takes longer to w/d from then most other drugs it has a half life. so the w/d doesnt start for a couple of days. gnarly is someone on here he should be on later. he did meth for 6 or so years.
hope this helps
debbie
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Avatar_f_tn
I would have plenty of water,juices,gatorade. You really need to force fluids with any detox. Take Hylands Restfull Legs for RLS or drink tonic water. Supplement with cal/mag and potassium. Take hot baths and have a heating pad. Protein drinks are great. Have Immodium and Motrin on hand. Walk as much as possible. It should go a lot better than for most;you just haven't been on it very long and that works in your favor.
Keep posting. Gnarly1 will be around and he has a lot of experience with Methadone.
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1531531_tn?1292114460
That is exactly how i feel. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I probably would have kept on with the methadone treatment had it not been for the stories i have read on here. I do not have any cravings for pills whatsoever and i feel like i have just substituted one drug for another. The only reason i went to treatment in the first place was because i did not want to go through withdrawals. Then i learn that methadone withdrawals are worse and last much longer. When i went to the clinic yesterday i felt like going off on the counselor who talked me into this and made it seem like it was so easy to do. Is he right about jumping off at 20ml though? From what i've read on here, people have problems jumping off at 2ml...just doesn't make sense to me.
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Avatar_f_tn
From what others have said here, it's doable at 20ml but you'll feel it. Try to get a bit lower than that and don't worry so much. As I said,you weren't on it that long and it's directly proportional. You will experience some withdrawal though. I'm sorry they were not honest with you. Methadone is a very strong opiate.  You can do this...
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Avatar_m_tn
HI welcome to the forum.....dont they just candy coat it at the clinic....keep in mind they are for profit clinics ....going down by 5mg a week is doable till you get down to around 30 then you going to have to go slower we cant post tapers in the open forum but if your interested
I can send you the one I used to get off this stuff.....as for going off at 20...ask the guy if he is high....thats 2 weeks of brutal withdrawals from there I recommend
jumping at 5mg tapering below that is miserable and my final withdrawal was no worst then tapering below 5...jump and get a head start on your recovery withdrawal takes a 7 day week with some symptoms going into 2 week like restless legs....your recovery will be really hard to call you havent been on it that long with a little luck mabe your done in a month
it was 90 days till I started to feel better but I was on it for 6 1/2 yrs the longer your on it the worst the withdrawal....keep us posted you will need support in the tapering process it can go smoothly then get ruff or you just might only run into a few tuff spots will work with you as it comes up...I have helped other people off this stuff it is doable hang in there and post for support good luck and God bless.....Gnarly  
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1531531_tn?1292114460
SO i have been at 50mg, down from 55 since friday. So far no rough spots. I even skipped today and nothin too bad. I will probably jump down another 5mg this weekend and see how 45mg holds up for a week or so. Will try to get to 30mg eventually and stable at that until continuing to go down 2mg a week or so. Will keep posting on my experience and thank you to everyone for support and making me see the big picture in this battle. God bless all of you and hope we can all get through this.
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Avatar_m_tn
HI YOUR  off to a good start remember this is a race one by the tortus not the hare
take it slow and steady let your body be the final judge in when you drop doses
I am anxious to see how this all turns out for you..I try to help all the methadoinans
just know when it all said and done it is so so worth it keep posting for support good luck and God bless......Gnarly
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1524769_tn?1291658857
Hey, great that you know you dont want to be on this forever & are already taking steps.I recently came off methadone at 4ml (or mg, I get confused but it was a real small amount which had to be drank with a syringe because it was so small). My keyworker told me I would be fine, feel no withdrawls & she was wrong, the physical pain (which wasnt hellish but extremely uncomfortable & annoying) only lasted about a week or so but the sleep/restless leg is still a problem, I feel good in myself but from my experience, I recommend you go to the smallest amount then stop from there, I would definitely not stop at 20. If you go to a real low amount, granted that you take care of yourself/eat well etc... You should be cool. Good luck :-)
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Avatar_f_tn
Dear soul,
I have been through it, my sister has been through it, my son has been through it, my friend is going through it. 'It' being methadone withdrawal.
I am a medical practitioner and even knowing as much as I do about opiates. I still  allowed myself to be convinced that this was an appropriate drug for me. I was involved in two car accidents, one left me with severe headaches.....made me want to cut off my head!! the other resulted in a back injury that severely interfered with my life.
My GP started me on vicodin 5/500. After about a year of this, I was referred to a pain clinic. At this point, I was put on Lortab (7.5/750) because of escalating pain. They then gave me a fentanyl patch and morphine, which I refused after trying, because they made me feel drugged. The nature of narcotics is that your body quickly adapts and becomes very efficient at metabolizing them ( liver P-50 enzymes) and you need more drug to get the same relief. After about two years, I was dropped by my pain Doctor who felt I should just 'get over it'. He offered neither information nor support about what I would experience  if I stopped using pain medication abruptly. So, I had to find another practitioner.
At the time, I was a single parent, going to school and trying to finish a demanding program, getting a divorce and experiencing a multitude of tragedies etc. I found a new Doctor who told me methadone was the drug for me. He said it is the drug surgeons use to manage their pain, that it doesn't cloud your mind, it's long acting, you will achieve a steady blood level-he REALLY sold it! So, I started taking the methadone. I took it for 3 years and three months.
The last time I took methadone, I was in a lot of pain. I took a 120 mg., which was a large dose for me. At that time I was accustomed to about 40-60 mg/day. I forgot I had taken it and took another 120 mg. I got REALLY sick. I decided then, though I still had a prescription, to stop taking it, and I did.
It took a few days to recover from the over-dose. I'm very lucky I didn't have to be hospitialzed or that I didn't die.  I had about 7 days of terrible anxiety. The first few weeks I felt really raw; my vision became incredibly clear. I felt the breeze on my skin. It felt amazing. I asked my sister when she quit, how she felt, and she said "awake".
I remember the worst part as being the anxiety. I felt like my chest would explode. I felt like 'bees' were buzzing beneath my skin. This lasted for months. I didn't sleep. Literally, at times, I would be up for three days in a row without one minute of sleep.  I would become so frustrated with the tingling under my skin, I would just hit myself over and over willing it to stop. The anxiety would drive me from my bed and I would get up and run or walk in the middle of the night. This gave me a great deal of relief. From what I understand, not sleeping is a universal experience during recovery from the effects of  narcotics.  After about a month of being clear, I asked my NP for a non-narcotic pain reliever.  She said, O Yeah! Tramadol is for you!  Non-narcotic, works great.  I thought that was just perfect until I found out that Tramadol does contain narcotic.  Although I felt terrific on this drug, due to it's norepinepherine reuptake inhibitive properties,  (like an anti-depressant effect) I didn't want to be dependant on that **** ever again, so as soon as I felt empowered I quit the tramadol.  It was a walk in the park.
I am now ten months out in this process in this process and am now just sleeping through the night with a little excedrin pm. I believe it took me longer to recover because of the length of time I was prescribed narcotics.
According to the laws of pharmacodynamics and blood clearance times, methadone being a long-acting fat soluble drug takes about eight hours to clear one half-life. A half-life is the amount of time it takes your body to clear one half of the ingested drug, then half of what's left, etc.. A drug is considered completely metabolized at five half-lives. So, this drug is technically gone in a few days, less, if your liver is jacked up, which yours is. However, I believe methadone is unique among narcotics, in that it's recovery must be measured in months rather than days. It is an ugly drug that no one in their right mind would take if they had the right information. I believe it alters your nervous system unlike any other narcotic. No one that I have spoken to who has stopped taking methadone has felt recovery took less than six months.  My sister said that she woke up one day at about the six month mark and felt normal for the first time since starting methadone.
Narcotic withdrawal activates your parasympathetic system, the opposite of your 'fight or flight' response. They also suppress your natural opiate secretion (down regulation). When you stop you can expect a flooding of parasympathetic activity such as: yawning, G.I. stimulation, excessive salivation, muscle cramps, sensitivity to light, joint pain, etc.I also found eating to be a real challenge for a long time.  Food tasted like cotton. Don't be discouraged by a generalized increase in pain, that part doesn't last very long. I found ibuprophen to be a great help.  Tylenol isn't a good choice because of the liver toxicity issue.
I started exercising very early in my process. I am a classically trained dancer, but was so de-conditioned by all my pain and tragedies, that at first it took all my energy just to stand erect, I could hardly get my *** out of bed. I started walking everyday. I used my TaiChi video, and found this helped tremendously with my pain and with increasing my BMR, which assisted in clearing the stored drug from my body. After about a month of this, I felt good enough to ramp up my work-out and started kick-boxing. After six months, I felt I needed more, so I started doing power yoga. I have found this to be tremendously helpful in eliminating physical toxins, but more importantly, it eliminates the negative emotional impact that we carry in our bodies and contributes to pain. We can talk more about that later if you like. When I started exercising, I started eating a very clean diet, lots of green salad, whole grains, clean protein and unrefined fat sources. I really believe the diet and exercise altered my metabolism in such a way as to make it easier to clear the drug from my body. It really saved me.
At 20 mg a day, you should be able to stop without medical intervention. If you have any heart problems and/or anxiety issues, you should get medical help to stop. If it becomes unbearable, there is a drug called Clonidine that is a very old, very mild blood pressure reducing drug. It will relieve the nasty parasympathetic symptoms and get you through it. You can get this from your Doctor.  I wish that I had had access to this drug when I was going through it.  It is completely non-addicting and helps most people with the sleep issue, and anxiety.
I just want to say to you that YOU CAN DO THIS! You just have to want it more than you want to rely on an extrinsic method. Having come this far in my journey, I can say emphatically that I am grateful for what I learned and am a better person for it, and nothing is worth giving over control of your life.  
You will do this.  I applaud your desire.  You are at the beginning of a very exciting journey.  I will pray for you.  Be well.
Strength and Honor,
Beenthere122
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495284_tn?1333897642
Congrats out to you also from making it thru he!!.  May you continue on your journey~~~sara
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Avatar_m_tn
ANYONE CONSIDERING METHADONE SHOULD READ THE ABOVE POST OR ASK ME B/4 YOU TRY IT.....Gnarly
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks sara-what's your story?   And kudos to you gnarly, for your excellent support.
strength and honor
beenthere122
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1577364_tn?1296693384
Unfortunately for me I listened to the lies they tell you at the methadone clinic. I have just started tapering 1 1/2 mo. ago, I started at 100 mgs (according to them no big deal of course it is, I was very naive about the process and withdrawals) I am down to 93 and am having withdrawels. Would love to hear ur story, and any advice u could give me I am so scared! And I don't want to be a slave this drug, however withrawals are hell on earth.
Please help me
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Avatar_m_tn
I don't know what to do I am so lost.I have been with the same man for 17 years we have 2 kids the point being I love this man but he is addicted to e pills and i really don't know how to help him any suggestions or is there someone to talk to professionally?
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