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Detoxing off Methadone

I've been slowly tapering off of a 15 year Methadone maintainence program for about 2 years now. Roughly dropping 5 milligrams every month or so. About a month ago my dose was at 3 mgs. At that point I really didn't feel to bad during the day although the nights were horrible due not being able to sleep.

At that point I decided to just stop the meth all together, rather than prolonging the agony of dropping from 3 -2, then 2-1 etc. I stopped altogether about 3 weeks ago and have not slept more than 3 hours a night since. What makes it worse is it's not a simple toss and turn all night, it's an almost indesribable twisting, knawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that forces me out of bed, even though I'm so tired I can't hold my head up.

I've tried having a couple drinks before bed, over the counter sleep meds, even got some halcion from a friend, all to no avail.

How long can I expect this to last, or is there something I can do to lessen the pain in the meantime?
466 Responses
Avatar universal
Hang in there...you have come SO far!!! The only thing that helped me with sleeping was some Restoril (a mild prescription sleeping pill), even so-I did not sleep many hours for the first month of no meth. It does get better though...in the end (after about 1.5-2 months), valium helped me a lot.-taken only when necessary of course. I also smoked lots of pot and hash to help with sleeping. Not exactly the 'all natural way' but it worked. If you can force yourself to go the the gym and work up a sweat, then take a long sauna, go to yoga classes  or jog around the block- this will speed up recovery and ultimately help you sleep longer & sounder. Acupuncture is also great-just be honest about what your going through and a good acupuncturist can really help you out. Just keep up the good work- every week will get easier/ after 3 months, you will definitely notice a big improvement physically & psychologically.
All the best, Robyn.
Avatar universal
Hello..I went of methdone almost 1 and 1/2 years ago..I drank alot of green tea. 10 to 15 cups aday..That seem to help me flush it out of my body..It was the worst experence of my life..At 4 months clean, I didn't feel to bad(but had no evergy). Went back to my doc and he put me on oxy's..Now I'm trying to get off hrdrocodone..All for pain..Best of luck..And it will get better.
This is a great place for help..
Avatar universal
I have been taking methadone for pain for about four years.  Now that I have been "cured" of the pain (I had some cancerous tumors removed finally!!), I no longer have the need to be on all this medication.  I was on 80 mg. of methadone a day which I cut in half about 6 weeks ago.  No withdrawals.  About 4 weeks ago, I cut that dosage in half again. I am now at 20 mg. a day.  I can't seem to go below that point without triggering a whole bunch of weird symptoms.  I have anxiety attacks, profuse sweating, chills, lack of concentration, "itchiness", random deep body aches, deep, black depression and shortness of breath.  I can't determine what is withdrawal and what is some other weird thing.  Yesterday, I started getting headaches.  I have tried to cut the 20 mg. dose to 15 mg. and I go nuts.  So now I'm trying to cut it by 2.5 mg. decreases.  I have done this the last couple of days with very little symptom...except headache and dry eyes.  Are these all normal...is there no end to the list of stuff this methadone can trigger?  When will I ever be off this stuff.  Does the detox tea work?  Can I do this on my own?  Please, some practical advice or personal stories.
Avatar universal
Green tea is a type of regular tea.  It is not a detox tea.  Actually, green tea is high in caffeine and I wouldn't recommend it due to anxiety.  The water that was taken with the tea is probably most responsible for the flushing of the body.
Avatar universal
I agree....when below 20mg- you really start too feel it. I am on 24mg...I have tried to go down to 18mg but I felt too sick. I plan on reducing by 2 mg/week until I hit 18mg...then I will decrease by 1mg/week. I might have to do every 2 weeks at the lower doses. I wish I could come up with a magic solution but discomfort is inevitable. Under 15mg is going to be hard but  0mg will be interesting to say the least. It doesn't hit you until you have taken nothing for a couple of days due to the long life of methadone. Keep drinking water water water when your coming off of it to flush system (and rehydrate from diarrhea)....sit in a sauna and sweat.....Personally I am not going to rush it. I need to be 101% ready psychologically. If its already a huge thing in your head- it will be. If you take it in stride, its do-able. I have done it . Now I 'just' need to do it again and stay off of EVERYTHING.
All the best, Robyn
Avatar universal
Hello,
Sorry, I am not posting with any answer, but I just wanted to say that you all deserve a medal for your strong wills and determination. My hat is off to you. You may have seen my other posts here, I was in a relationship with someone that went into a methadone clinic as a means to an end to a 4 year vicodin addiction (not for pain). The methadone clinic was explained as a detox program, but then once she was on it for 4 months and was supposed to start the weaning off part, that's when we discovered the addiction factor of methadone. Gradual tapering off is the best way to attempt it, she was going down 1 mg per two weeks - pretty darn gradual, and she still couldn't do it. She even went on antidepressents to help, but when she went down only 3 mg, she was freaking out and decided to go back up. Then she found a website about methadone and the people in the forum there promote staying on it forever. They actually compare methadone to insulin, and when people go there asking questions about detoxing they get angry at calling it "detoxing" ("you wouldn't detox from insulin would you?") and they give the person reasons to stay on it. Very disturbing to say the least. With those people I think they have worked very hard to be OK with just accepting the addiction because it's difficult to get off, so they just change their mindset instead and compare it to insulin. Kinda sad.

I would think a very gradual tapering down is the key. Methadone clinics also actually have what they call a "blind detox" where the patient doesn't know when there dose is being lowered - this is to help abate the psychological factor. The only prob with that is you still know you are going off, so it's not really "blind".

What about those places that specialize in rapid opiate detox (like opiates.com and detox24.com etc.)? I wrote the former and they told me they specialize in methadone detox.

All the best to you.
Thomas050
2 Comments
Thomas I have been on methadone for over 15 years tried to tapper and got to 20 mg and due to osteoarthritis pain and painful side effects am still on methadone. I am clean for that same amount of time. I do think it's ok to call one drug  the same as the other . Insulin, methadone, or opiates a drug is a drug.  It is No different. An illness is also an illness. If methadone  woks for them the it should not be a problem.  I  think being on methadone on a sable dose and being monitored is a lot safer than taking any other opiate for pain etc. Methadone is also good for depression, anxiety etc. There is a lot of reasons why people use methadone to help them. I only disagree when you use it to get high, or continue to drink while on methadone. All risks of death. Don't knock methadone it helps a lot of people. I came to terms with the fact that I am actually lucky I did not get off of the methadone last 15 years now looking back. I could not see being on all those horrible pain prescriptions etc. that I would have to take.  
Hi Summerrainbo, love your username!  I love summer rain bows.  I agree with you.  And am very happy that you have gotten this help and are clean all these years.  I'm going to consider you clean on methadone. Is your clinic that prescribes methadone good to you?  Easy to work with?  It is getting harder for this program for many people.  Dealing with chronic pain and addiction is tricky and I think ultimately that you have a safe life, a better life is the best thing.  
Avatar universal
It is sad when some do compare it to insulin, when the person saying it is an opiate addict with nothing else involved.  Two different things, completely.  But, there are factors that could contribute to why the given person is on opiates in the first place.  If it is a person who has to take the meds or face a life of miserable pain, then comparing it to insulin is feasible.  If it is a person who flat out doesn't want to come off, then just say you don't want to.  UROD?  Now that's scary.  Kind of like a **** shoot.  Is the doctor I found good?  There are quite a few quacks out there doing it.  There are some good ones.  Caveat emptor.
Avatar universal
the acute insomnia is a tough one... i was given 20mg. of ambien to make me sleep and i still barely slept... and then when the ambien did start to work after about a month or so i became dependent on the ambien to keep helping me sleep... but after about three months my psychiatrist took me off of the ambien and within a few weeks i was sleeping independently... it was wonderful to once again be able to put my head on a pillow and fall asleep like a "normal" person!!!

i have been drug and alcohol free for a little over four months now and take a drug called seroquel to sleep... i had pancreatitis in december and was on ambien again at the time and they tried me on seroquel instead for sleep... seroquel is an anti-psychotic, a neuroleptic drug used to treat schizophrenia... but it has such a sedative side-effect that it is effective as a sleep agent..... i am not schizophrenic!! but it sure as hell helps me sleep at night~ i also suffer from depression and take prozac and neurontin and the seroquel helps with mood also...

just remember,this too shall pass, it really will... our bodies want normalcy... your body will work with you and your mind set will really help you... and i see that you have the mind set to get through this!!!

peace,

amber
Avatar universal
"This too shall pass"

How many times have I heard that?!?!?!?!?!?!
Avatar universal
They make Beano for that.

rwc~
Avatar universal
heh-heh....can never pass up a "fart" reference....as someone else stated in another post, you ARE a hoot!!!!  Love your humour. (Are you sure you're not my brother???...you sound just like him!)  :)  But I think you're a gal, right?    Take care, hootie "pootie"...smile  Hope all's well with you. Love, Lisabet
Avatar universal
use suboxone instead of methadone to get through while the done gets out of your body organs!  works great!!  it gave me my life back.
Avatar universal
I second that.  Take the time to get the meth out and then get off of the bup.  I would think that to be a much easier kick.
Avatar universal
Yea.. a dang woman.. in the throes of CTWD with premenopausal highlights, a lovely combo, especially drugless.. unless Rx hormones count.. and those placebos don't dent the Tuesday blahs:)

rwc~
Avatar universal
Hey rode - I hear ya loud and clear on the peri-menopause deal...I'm right in the throes of it myself...arggghhh!!! I saw a bumper sticker the other day I loved - "I'm menopausal and I have a gun...any questions?"....smile  I'm taking the hormones also, an estrogen/pregesterone combo...don't know if it's a good idea or not, but I was totally fed up with bleeding 20 days out of the month.  (Sorry guys, you wouldn't understand)...ha.  Congrats, rodewc, on your CT recovery; I keep trying tapering but know in my heart I need to just f****** quit!!!!   How many days are you on?  Are your cravings under control; are you doing the Thomas recipe?  Anyway, I'm VERY proud of you. Hope you made it thru the Tuesday "blahs"...smile.    Love/Peace, Lisabet
228686 tn?1211554707
I did the same thing you did. It went on for four months, and finally I gave up. I got no help whatsoever from the doctors or E.R. (try getting post withdrawal help when you're going through it! It's a nightmare! Especially if you insist on non-addictive tratment).

I've done research for when I go off again in two months (taper) and it seems you need to take a blood pressure medication like clonodine for the weakness. The sleeping is a hard one. I'd say alternate between the above mentioned to avoid further addiction, and after six months, stop taking everything and just try to deal until you achieve normalcy. I've read about Amino acid supplements that help with the process, among other things.
Avatar universal
METHADONE TREATMENT IS NOT FOR THE AVERAGE JUNKIE /ADICTION!!!!
PLEASE BEWAREE OF THIS DRUG!   IT IS WAY WORSE THAN ANY OTHER DRUG WHEN IT COMES TO DETOXING FROM IT!!! I WAS ON 160 MGS /DAY AND DID A 16 DAY DETOX @ 10 MGS /DAY!!! THE PHYSICAL PAIN WAS UNBERABLE AND THE MENTAL ANGUISH WAS INCONCIEVABLE!!!!!!! PLEASE BEWARE THAT REPLACING VICODIN ADICTION FOR METHADONE ADDICTION HAS TO BE THE DUMBEST **** I HAVE EVER HEARD!!! VICODIN IS SOOOO EASY TO DETOX FROM COMPARED TO METHADONE!!! ANYTHING LESS A THAN MORPHINE/,PHARMACUTICAL OXYCODONE OR STREET HERION ADDICTION SHOULD BE CAREFULLY THOUGHT OVER BEFORE EXCHANGING A LESSER ADICTION FOR THE WORSE ADDICTION IN THE WORLD METHADONE!!!!!!!!!  PLEASE BE VERY CAREFULL IN YOUR DETOX IDEAS! IF YOU CAN WEAN YOURSELF OFF OF YOUR DRUG OF CHOICE PLEASE DO SO, OR YOU ARE LOOKING @ A MUCH WORSE PROBLEM THAN STARTED WITH IN THE BEGINING!!
IF ANY ONE WANTS OR NEEDS ADVICE OR JUST WANTS TO TALK ABOUT YOUR ADDICTION PLEASE EMAIL ANYTIME @ ***@**** AND I WILL HAPPILY HELP YOU FIGURE OUT A BETTER OPTION THAN DELIBERATELY GETTING YOUR SELF HOOKED ON THE WORST OPIATE DRUG LEGALLY PRESCRIBED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLEASE DO NOT WASTE MY TIME WITH JOKES AND PRANKS! I AM HERE ONLY FOR PEOPLE WITH THE SAME WORRIES AND ADICTIONS I ONCE STRUGGLED WITH. I AM A "ADDICTION COUNSELOR SPECIALIST" AND WILL HELP ANYONE THAT WANTS HELP THERESELVES AND BEAT THIS HORRIBLE GORILLA THAT RIDES ON MANY OF OUR BACKS EACH AND EVERY DAY!!!
GOD BLESS YOU AND KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!
228686 tn?1211554707
I'm on 5 miligrams right now... and here's something that can help you get through the last 20 miligrams of taper. (going down 5 every month, cutting to 1 a month now).

When I go down, I "save" a little of my dose. I then take it in the morning when I get up. Mornings are worse, when you get up after a dose drop, you tend to feel really crappy. This will get you going and feeling well enough to get through your day until you get to your clinic. Ususally it takes me about two weeks before I don't wake up feeling crappy and don't need to do this. The obvious suggestion is that methadone works best as a split daily dose drug. Everyone I know who does this is on less than 40 miligrams.

The people who can;t do this tend to be on over a hundred miligrams. Hmm, I wonder why!!!

If you don't have take homes...well... just be careful not to get in trouble.
Avatar universal
My common law wife came home with a methadone addiction one day, two years ago. She is seeing a doctor but not a councilor for the issue.

To this point I have chosen to stand by her and see her through to cleaning up.
She pretty much keeps the issue to herself and I really do not know very much about Methadone. To the fact that even I don't know haw much she takes a day or where she has tapered from. If I broach the subject she gets very short and really tells me   anything to avoid the subject. Hence my internet search brought me to this discussion .

I find my patience starting to  wane with this problem. I live a healthy outgoing lifestyle where physical fitness is important to me. I am beginning to see that there is no end to the methadone on her part, I find this as unacceptable.

As the relationship chugs along many factors has changed since the beginning of the methadone. I have found that sex and passion has become extinct. Effort to make it out to social gatherings is a stretch. Communication is becoming non existent. Almost like we are now living two separate lives and are roommates. I have found that everything is an effort for her to do and things are easier if they are not done and she is left alone.

So do relationships get better or is this a drug issue that I have to live with as long as I choose to support her, and judging by the responses here Methadone a monster that can't be tamed.

Although this forum is geared more towards the end user of methadone any form of comment is welcome for those who live with a methadone user.


177036 tn?1192286635
Have you looked into suboxone.com????
228686 tn?1211554707
Ugh, you sound like me years ago. I was in the same exact position as you, wife on methadone, knew nothing about it (or any drugs, never used anything worth mentioning for any length of time).

Then I got in a bad cycle accident on the highway, ended up in the hospital for months, on morphine the entire time, physical therapy afterwards.
The end result was I ended up with a vicodin addiction. Eventually I was put on methadone (still shocks me that was their answer!)

So I got a first hand experience of what she was dealing with. Let me tell you, they DON'T make it easy. They DON'T wasn't you coming off it. A lot of money is tied up in keeeping addicts on methadone, it's a billion dollar business.

If she is coming off it, keep in mind they *make* you do it very slowly. If you don't have the money for private doctors, you can't get the appropriate medications and treatments to get you off addictive drugs/medications. So your only option is to let them jack you up to like a hundred miligrams when you first go on (it's mandatory, no thought to anything but getting you on a high amount), then allow you to do perhaps 5 miligram drops once a month. Without alternate treatment, it can be painful and stressful. It's not really that bad, but over months and years... well, imagine having a cold or the flu for a year straight. Get the picture?

The drug does affect your sex life, relationships with people, abilty to even get out and about. If she's actually tapering, she's probably feeling tense, irritable and low on energy much of the time.It does get better.
But I'll tell you now, the success rate for people actually detoxing off metahdone and staying off is miserable. It's in the health care industry's best interest to make it that way.

I'm just about to come off myself and have done *alot* of research on appropiate aftercare.If you want, let me know and I can arrange getting it to you.

And I understand what your wife and you are going through, but if she's really coming off, you need to discuss with her the ramifications of how this will effect her life and yours, because it will. Everything your decscribing, we've just gone through and we're just starting to come out the other side of that dark tunnel.
Avatar universal
I wanted to comment to one of your (fellow) poster's questions. They asked "how and why would
someone be on a dose as high as 120 mg's. I was on this dosage because they needed to pull me off of 2 fentanyl patches of 100 mg's each arm. I was crushed in a motorcycle accident.
(no need for gruesome details), and needed severe pain management. Thus methadone was the
answer to get me off other strong opioids. I am weaning and I am in hell.
228686 tn?1211554707
I wasn't referring to someone in your special situation (I sympathize, by the way, I got started the same way from a motorcycle accident).
    
Most heroin users can count on one hand the number of "bags" they use a day. Yet when they join a clinic, they're put on a 70 to 100 milligram dose, regardless of weight, height or usage. At some point it became standard practice to dole out huge amounts to patients. Standard dose used to be based on usage, average users starting at 30 and going up as needed. The split dose clinics put you on even less.

     Stopping split dose is one of the main reasons the doses are so high. Methadone may be a 36 hour drug or not, but when you first start, it takes weeks before it "holds you" for a full day. Split dose used to take care of this problem. But now that they don't allow it, patients are being put on much higher doses than they need, and are forced to acclimate to those high doses, rather than give them a safer, lower split dose.
Avatar universal
I have crones and colitis for the past 11 years and the meds like loretab weren't helping.  I decided to go to pain management about 4 months ago.  They pust me on 40 mg a day.  I knew it was addictive so I only toof 10-20mg every 2 days.  Turns out i got very addicted, even if I didn't hurt by the third day I needed it. I have been in hell for the past 4 weeks, monday will be five weeks clean.  It has been so hard espically with my illness which has made it harder.  Three weeks I didn't eat sleep and hurt constantly with hot and cold chills.  I'm still having many side effects but hopefully they will end soon.  Good luck to everyone with this problem.  It's hard but we can do it.
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