Methadone detox

Methadone is an opioid medication that, despite commonly being administered in hospitals to treat chronic pain and opioid dependence, has a high potential for addiction. If you wish to begin forging a healthier life free from methadone, this process always starts with detox.

Look to this page for all the information you need about methadone detox and why it is such a vital first step towards recovery.

Why is detox essential to recover from methadone?

Detox is a process that allows your body to heal after prolonged methadone use. A vital step for anyone who has developed physical dependence and wishes to break their habit, this is no different with methadone. A methadone detox will allow the user to rebuild their strength and reserves, so that they no longer need to rely on the substance in their everyday life.

Breaking free from the cycle of methadone abuse can be very unpleasant, but in a supervised facility with the help of trained professionals, it becomes far safer and simpler. However, it is important to note that methadone detox is only the first step towards recovery and to truly put your addictive behaviour behind you for good, you will need to undergo a programme of methadone rehabilitation as well.

What is methadone withdrawal?

Methadone withdrawal is what happens when you deprive your body of methadone use but it takes a short while before the body accepts the lack of methadone and this is when withdrawal symptoms take place. If you have used methadone for long periods of time, your body will struggle to function normally without the presence of the drug. This can lead physical dependence to set in, and when this happens, our body essentially relies on the substance, not to achieve a pleasurable sensation, but rather just to function. As a result, the methadone will end up becoming less effective than when initially taken, and the only option for the user might be to increase their dose. As more time goes by, their body will come to rely on the methadone just to feel normal. Trying to quit or cut back on use will almost certainly lead to withdrawal symptoms, and these symptoms are the result of the body trying to re-adjust and function without relying on the drug.

The reason for withdrawal symptoms is that the body is trying to get back to normal and, as it does so, various functions will be overcompensating for those that are not working as they should. It takes time for the body to recover; withdrawal symptoms are just part of this process.

Withdrawal from methadone

Withdrawal from methadone is far more severe than with other opiates, and many clients prescribed this drug to treat heroin addiction have been known to swap one addiction for the other. Those who use methadone at high doses or without a prescription have a substantial risk of developing an addiction as well, and nobody is safe from the threat of physical dependence.

As your body flushes out chemicals that have built up while you were using methadone, you will experience a range of symptoms, some of which can be quite uncomfortable. In fact, many individuals liken the symptoms of methadone withdrawal to those experienced during a bout of the flu. Therefore, you are likely to feel sweaty, and you may swing from being cold to hot and feverish.

Methadone withdrawal symptoms

Although there is no way to know exactly which symptoms one will experience or how severe these might be, the following are some of the more common methadone withdrawal symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Shallow breathing and respiratory distress
  • Drowsiness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches

Can I detox from methadone at home?

While detox from methadone is possible at home, we would not recommend this for many reasons. As previously mentioned, methadone detox is an uncomfortable process, one which often leads to a variety of symptoms developing as your body adjusts to this new way of living. There is a real risk of severe withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit or cut back on methadone use, so it is vital that your methadone detox is effectively managed with the help of trained professionals. This means you should always be supervised to assure your safety and comfort, and if your detox takes place in a dedicated detox clinic, the process will be far more comfortable and much safer than if you were to try to detox at home.

Medical methadone detox

In any of our seven UKAT facilities, you will have a team of professionals on hand to help make the process of withdrawing from methadone easier. In such a facility, it is possible for you to be given medication that will help you through the unpleasant withdrawals and that may even prevent some of them from occurring. This is known as medical detox. Medical detox is an essential part of any treatment plan as it allows for a safer and more comfortable withdrawal from methadone. At a detox facility, you might be weaned off the methadone slowly to help the process along, or you could be given a substitute opioid to help lessen the harshness of symptoms.

What should I expect from methadone detox with UKAT?

Initial assessment

When entering a detox facility for methadone addiction, the process will usually begin with a thorough medical assessment to determine your needs. This will give the staff ample time to prepare a specialised treatment plan tailored specifically to suit you.

Having detailed plans that include information about your medical history and the nature of your detox ensures that everyone is working from the same page. As detox tends to take place over the course of a few weeks, it is likely that you will come into contact with a range of staff, and it is vital that everyone knows your history and what type of treatments have been recommended to help you overcome your methadone addiction.

During detox, staff will put in place specific instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency. As detoxing from any mood-altering chemical like methadone carries the risk of severe symptoms, staff are made aware of the correct emergency procedures to follow in your situation to guarantee your safety. No stone will go unturned, and your plan will even contain information about any nutritional supplements that you should be given as well as other methods and techniques that may help you to get through the process.

Withdrawal process

At this point, the withdrawal process begins, and you will begin to wean yourself off methadone. It is likely that you will experience a number of symptoms along the way, and staff will remain on hand to monitor your condition.

Continued support

Above all else, some of the best resources available to you at a UKAT facility come with the help of kind and caring staff, charged to keep you safe, calm, and comfortable as you purge these dangerous substances from your system. As your body learns to adapt without methadone, it is valuable to know that you are not alone, surrounded by those who have experienced the same ordeal as you, trained to keep you as healthy and well looked after as possible.

Benefits of private methadone detox

  • With round-the-clock supervision, comfortable lodgings, and a personalised treatment plan, you can rest assured that you will be in the best of care for the duration of your stay.
  • Eating healthy meals and drinking plenty of fluids are vital to keeping your strength up while you come off methadone. At a private facility, this will all be taken care of through the help of an in-house chef and quality ingredients.
  • You will have space away from the outside world, apart from the triggers that can make long-lasting sobriety so difficult during the early stages.
  • Holistic methods are implemented to guarantee all-around wellness for our clients.
  • Methadone is commonly prescribed for pain relief, and it is likely that when coming off the substance, you will experience a spike in discomfort. At an inpatient facility, we implement methods in your programme to ease these symptoms as your body adjusts.

How we can help

If you or a loved one is struggling with methadone addiction, we wish to assure you that, across all seven of our UKAT facilities, our centres are designed with you in mind. It is never too late to seek the help you deserve, and through our expert team of dedicated staff, we are always available to help you on the road to recovery.

Call us now for help

Frequently asked questions

Is there any medication to treat methadone withdrawal?
In a special detox facility, medications may be administered to help you get through the process. Your care team might decide that a substitute opioid drug is appropriate to prevent the worst of the withdrawals. If so, a drug such as buprenorphine could be administered as the methadone is slowly removed. Because buprenorphine also acts on the brain’s opioid receptors, it helps lessen the impact and gives your body a chance to get used to the withdrawal of the methadone.
Where does UKAT offer methadone detoxification treatments?
We are proud to announce that all our UKAT facilities provide methadone detox treatments. You can find out more about the options available by looking at our treatment centres page or by contacting us today; a helpful member of our team will go through your requirements and help you choose the proper methadone detox treatment for you.