4 Things to Keep in Mind as You Taper off Methadone

4 Things to Keep in Mind as You Taper off Methadone

Opioid addiction is a large problem throughout America. People become addicted to opioids in many different ways. When people are recovering from an accident or injury, they are sometimes prescribed pain killers to minimize the pain that they have to experience. When this happens, they can sometimes become addicted to them. Eventually, the doctors will stop prescribing the drugs to the person and if they are addicted to the pills, they will turn to other opioids to get the feelings they crave and this is where methadone can come into play.

Being able to overcome an opioid addiction by yourself isn’t easy to do. Opioids, such as heroin are readily available, which can make it difficult to stop using. Seeking professional help can make the process easier because you can be prescribed medications, such as methadone to make the recovery easier. It’s important to know that methadone presents its own risks though. The following guide walks you through a few things you need to know about methadone.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opioid medication that is long acting and commonly given to people who are trying to recover from an addiction to opioids. The idea of taking an opioid medication to battle an addiction to opioids can seem counter-intuitive to some people. The drug is designed to decrease the cravings and minimize the withdrawal symptoms that come when quitting other opioid use.

Like any other opioid, methadone can be addictive. It needs to be taken properly in order for it to be as effective. When you are ready to stop using methadone, it’s important to taper off of it to reduce the withdrawal symptoms that you experience.

Tapering Should be Monitored

Working with a professional treatment facility is the best way to treat an addiction to opioids. An evaluation needs to be taken to determine how much methadone you need to take, when you need to take it and how you need to take it. You need to be sure that the drug is taken properly in order to be as safe as possible at all times. A professional treatment facility will have the knowledge, tools and staff available to make you feel comfortable throughout your recovery process.

At first you will take a larger dose of methadone to decrease the withdrawal symptoms you feel from stopping the use of heroin or other opioid. Over time, the amount you take needs to gradually decrease. The professionals at the treatment facility can ensure that you are safe throughout the tapering process. The amount of methadone you need to take is determined through many different factors, including your weight, age and length of addiction. If you start to experience any withdrawal symptoms, the staff can determine if they need to increase the doses slightly to get minimize the symptoms you experience. Most symptoms last only a few days but treating them as quickly as possible minimizes the chances of you turning to something else to treat the symptoms.

Tapering off Methadone Takes Time

It’s important to be patient when it’s time to taper off of methadone. You cannot simply stop using it because withdrawal symptoms will occur. If you do quit cold turkey, you will feel nauseous, have headaches, have body aches and feel lethargic overall. Many people compare the symptoms to the way they feel when they have the flu but intensified.

When you are ready to stop using methadone, the doses that you take need to be slowly minimized so that your body can adjust to the changes. This can take many weeks to accomplish if you don’t want to have intense withdrawal symptoms. The staff at the treatment facility can monitor how your body reacts to tapering and slowly decrease the amount of methadone that you take when the time comes.

Tapering Can Be Dangerous

When you taper off of methadone, it’s important to know that relapsing is possible if you aren’t careful. There are many people who make the mistake of thinking that they can handle tapering off of methadone on their own. They assume that because they got clean from the other drugs, they were addicted to that they have the ability to quit using methadone cold turkey through sheer willpower alone. This typically isn’t the case.

When you stop using methadone suddenly, your body will go into detox and start to experience intense withdrawal symptoms. Many people figure out that they cannot handle the symptoms and take a dose of methadone to try to stop the symptoms they are experiencing. This can lead to an overdose because they take too much of the methadone for their body to handle.

Tapering Off Methadone requires Additional Care

When you start tapering off of methadone it means that you are going to return to an opioid-free life in the near future. It’s important to combine the methadone treatment with mental health assistance at the same time. You need to be able to identify why you turned to opioids to begin with and what you can do to minimize the chances of relapsing in the future.

You can meet with a psychologist to learn if you have any mental health issues that need to be treated. Properly treating mental health issues allows you to take control of your life without having to continue methadone use. You can also learn strategies to use if you feel tempted to use again in the future. Taking control of your mental health before leaving a treatment program is essential to long term success when it comes to opioid treatment.

When you are ready to stop using opioids, find a treatment facility that offers a methadone treatment program. You want to be sure that not only can you get access to methadone, but also to counseling sessions, inpatient treatment and help with handling the stress that comes with addiction and everyday life. Once you have treated your addiction and are ready to taper off of the methadone, stay at the treatment facility until you are able to live without methadone completely. This will better your chances of avoiding a relapse in the future.

How Long Should You Stay on Methadone?

How Long Should You Stay on Methadone?

It is normal for anyone to want to know the length of a course of treatment before embarking on medical treatment. When it comes to methadone, it is difficult to give one straight answer. Why should you be worried about the length of methadone treatment? For a number of reasons: it is addictive, good outcomes are reliant on sufficient treatment length and it has both short and long-term side effects.

However, the first pointer to these dilemmas is that the use of methadone in medical treatment is safe. You do not have to worry about the aforementioned concerns when you adhere to prescriptions as given by your doctor. The major risk associated with methadone is overdose. This should be avoided at all costs. A number of issues are considered when deciding the duration of methadone use. Be keen and follow these instructions.

Understanding Methadone and its Use in Addiction Treatment

According to substance abuse and mental health services administration, methadone works by altering how the brain and nervous system responds to pain. It blocks pain, the euphoric effects of feeling high and other symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Due to these effects it is often used in the medical treatment of a number of opioid addictions in a process called medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or methadone maintenance treatment.

Medication Assisted Treatment, MAT works with a combination of therapy and taking part in support groups. It provides a comprehensive addiction treatment program. SAMHSA insists that for an individual to receive methadone treatment for opioid addiction, they must be taking part in a drug treatment program actively. Methadone can only be obtained and used through a certified opioid treatment program.

Methadone gives you a similar feeling as the one experienced when you use other opioids and prevents withdrawal symptoms. Some experts call it replacement therapy because it replaces the opioids in the body of an addict with milder effects.

The duration of methadone use will depend on the response to treatment and ability to complete stages of methadone treatment successfully.

Stages of Methadone Treatment

As a patient continues to respond to treatment, the doctor may decide to reduce the dosage of methadone administered as a way of gradually discontinuing its use.

· Acute or Induction phase

In this primary stage of methadone maintenance treatment, the patient’s dosage is adjusted until the patient gets to a comfortable level with the drug cravings and symptoms relief. During this phase, the patient will begin taking part in other treatments such as auxiliary counseling and health programs alongside the methadone.

· Rehabilitative and Maintenance Phase

After you have achieved a stable and comfortable level of dosage, you need to continue with your methadone intake on a daily under a doctor’s watch in a clinic or a care center. The doctor will continue to monitor your compliance to the program such as not taking illicit drugs or demonstrating a positive change in your lifestyle.

Once the doctor is satisfied with your compliance, you will be allowed to have take-home doses per week. For instance, after two years of maintenance treatment, the doctor can consider giving you month-long take-home doses.

· Tapering

Suddenly stopping methadone use could lead to withdrawal symptoms. In spite of the good uses for methadone, it can cause addiction. The risks of methadone withdrawal could cause discomfort and increase chances of relapse. Therefore, there is a medically devised procedure of getting-off methadone. It involves slowly reducing the dosage of methadone administered to a patient until they have safely stopped using it. This method is called tapering.

Patients can start tapering their dosage to get off methadone any time. However, most rehabilitation doctors advise tapering at least a year into the methadone maintenance treatment. According to National Institute of Drug Abuse, prolonged duration of treatment tends to give better outcome. Good outcomes are reliant on sufficient treatment length.

Tapering can take varying lengths, such as weeks and months. The tapering process needs to be slow and comfortable. Slower schedules administered in longer intervals between more regular dose drops, are considered more comfortable than hastened tapering.

How Do I Know That Am Ready To Taper My Methadone Dosage?

It is not possible to expressly know when any person is ready to taper. Some people never reach a comfortable point when they want or are able to taper the methadone use. Progression to each stage depends on the patient’s response and compliance to treatment. However, generally anyone on methadone maintenance treatment must be on the program for a year before the expert can consider tapering or discontinuing use.

Tapering is associated with a significant higher risk of relapse to illegal opiate use and addiction. Therefore, it is really important that no one is forced into beginning their tapering process whether by a clinic personnel, employer or family member.

You can however use this simple guideline to determine the characteristics of patients that are ready to begin tapering their methadone use:

· A reliable income person with a stable home and family life

· Shows a lengthy history of compliance to maintenance treatment program

· Has an available primary methadone counselor, with a workable timing and readiness for the tapering process

· Proves commitment to resume methadone maintenance treatment in case of a relapse

· Avoids abuse of any alcohol or other substances

How Long Should I Stay on Methadone Treatment?

There is no one answer for the definite period that one should stay on methadone. Since methadone is addictive, to stop its use, you need to follow a process. The period of use will depend on the ability to progress well and successfully with different stages of treatment. Also the patient must feel ready to begin the tapering process to stop the medication.

According to NIDA, a couple of patients benefit from methadone use for many years. So the use can continue as long as the patient needs it. They also recommend using the treatment for at least 12 months before considering discontinuing use. It is upon the patient and the doctor to determine whether it is the right time to stop its use. If you would like to get the right support during your methadone treatment program, reach out to us for more information.




Four Tips for Tapering off Methadone

Recovery from addiction to heroin can be difficult to achieve on your own. There are many people who turn to methadone to help with their withdrawal from the toxic drug. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that methadone isn’t a drug designed to be taken forever. You have to wean yourself from the drug over time in order to be as safe as possible.

When it’s time to stop using methadone, you have to slowly taper down use. This means that steps have to be taken to get your body off of the drug, without causing withdrawal symptoms to occur. The following guide walks you through four things you have to know about tampering down methadone use.

Methadone Dosages Must be Evaluated

Methadone is a medication that needs to be taken on a daily basis in order to be effective. It helps to minimize the withdrawal symptoms you experience when you stop using heroin. Before you can start tapering down your methadone use, the amount that you are taking each day needs to be evaluated. When working with a professional treatment facility, the amount of methadone you are given is closely monitored.

After you have been on methadone for a few weeks, medical professionals will be able to determine if you are ready to start lowering the doses that you take. Stopping methadone use cold turkey isn’t a good idea. It can be dangerous to stop using because you could go through withdrawal symptoms that could lead to a relapse.

The amount of methadone you take each day needs to be gradually decreased. Typically, the amount is decreased by 20% or less every few weeks. This allows your body to have time to adjust to the new doses, without having to deal with nausea, headaches or the other many withdrawal symptoms that occur.

Medication Supplementation is Needed

Once medical professionals feel that you have been able to safely lower the amount of methadone you take daily to safe levels, you will need to start taking a long-acting opioid. The opioid is given in place of the methadone but serves the same purpose the methadone did.

Opioids need to be taken as prescribed. Taking the opioids more frequently or in higher doses can lead to a new addiction. Once you suffer from addiction, you always suffer from it. Nearly 40% of all people who have recovered from addiction end up relapsing. This is due to the temptation to use again. At a professional treatment facility, you don’t self-medicate. You are given the medications that you need to be given when you need to take them. This decreases the likelihood of a new addiction developing and ensures that you are able to stop using methadone as quickly as possible.

Health Monitoring Needs to Take Place

Many side effects can come with methadone use that can be dangerous. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting are common. You need to be monitored to make sure that your body doesn’t get depleted of the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Medical professionals at a treatment center keep a vigilant watch on your health at all times. Your temperature, weight and blood pressure will be regularly monitored to ensure that you are always in the best health that you can be. A facility also ensures that you’re able to have access to nourishing foods that can make recovery easier for you. When you are battling an addiction, you often have lethargy that can make it difficult for you to be able to have the drive to do anything for yourself. This means that you may have less drive to cook for yourself or even drink water regularly. Having the help of professionals ensures you stay safe throughout your recovery.

Psychological Care Is Crucial When Tapering Down Methadone Use

Hallucinations, paranoia and depression are also common during methadone use. At a treatment facility, you are able to get help for the mental hurdles that occur with addiction. You’ll be able to talk to a professional about the things that you experience during your recovery and things that happened in your past. Talking about any guilt or hurt you have can help you to get a better grip on your emotions, which can make tapering down your methadone use easier. People often do things out of character when they are high. Once they get sober, the guilt can be crushing because they feel that they will never be able to regain the trust they once had.

Since depression is common with people who are in recovery, psychological care can be crucial. If you have thoughts of suicide, talking to someone who can help could actually save your life. The counselor can also help you to determine what your triggers might be to use again when you get out. They can help you determine why you started using in the first place to decrease the chances of you using again.

Mastering Tapering from Methadone Takes Time

After a few weeks of being on the opioids, the medical staff can help you lower the doses that you take. Eventually, you get to the point where you no longer physically need to take anything to battle your addiction. That doesn’t mean the work is done though.

It’s important to know that once you have an addiction you will always be susceptible to it. Many facilities have outpatient programs available for their clients. They allow you to go to regular group meetings with others who are going through the same struggles as you. You can get advice from others and even bounce ideas off of one another about how to stay clean.

Surrounding yourself with people who love you; Avoiding those who still use drugs is the best way to stay clean. Once you have gone through the struggles of recovering from your addiction, the last thing you want to do is relapse. Keeping yourself out of situations that could lead to relapse is the best way to do it. It will not always be easy, but through hard work and dedication, sobriety is possible.

How to Get Your Case Worker to Taper You Off

How to Get Your Case Worker to Taper You Off

Three businesswomen
Photographer: Tim Gouw | Source: Unsplash

If you suffer from an opioid or heroin addiction and are currently being treated using methadone maintenance, you're on the right track. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone treatment increases the patient's participation in behavioral therapy and reduces ongoing drug use and criminal behavior.

Methadone maintenance is meant to stop the painful withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids and heroin. The goal is to help a person gradually overcome physical dependency instead of cutting them off completely. This is done under medical supervision so the patient can't abuse methadone and can also receive substance abuse counseling concurrently.

However, methadone is a strong drug and you'll need to taper yourself off it when the time is right. If you don't, you could form a separate addiction. You'll need to talk to your case worker about slowly reducing your methadone treatment so you can move on with your life drug-free. But before you do, you need to understand more about methadone's effect on your body.

Understanding How Methadone Treatment Works

Methadone has been used since the 1970s to aid in the addiction recovery process for people who've developed a serious dependency on opioids or heroin. It works by decreasing cravings and reducing the extent of withdrawal symptoms, some of which could be deadly.

What makes methadone treatment so effective is that it actually blocks the intoxicating effects of heroin and other opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. This helps prevent a patient from relapsing and erasing all the work they've accomplished so far.

However, although methadone isn't an opioid, it's still addictive. This is a very strong drug that can produce its own euphoric effects. In fact, it's considered a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it carries the risk of both physical and psychological abuse.

That's why methadone treatment must be performed in a clinical environment. It's also why you must taper off the drug instead of going cold turkey. If you don't, there's a good chance you'll experience withdrawal symptoms. It's imperative you've gone through enough substance abuse therapy and gotten hold of your addiction triggers before you start tapering.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

The necessity to taper off methadone treatment is directly related to the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms that will result if you stop suddenly. Gradually reducing the amount you take will help keep these symptoms at bay. Many of these withdrawal side-effects are similar to those experienced after stopping heroin or opioids. They can include:

  • Depression and other psychological issues such as anxiety, mood swings, and panic attacks
  • Insomnia, especially during the first week
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms including coughing, runny nose, and fever
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cold sweats
  • Stomach issues including cramping and constipation

The threat of relapse is much higher if methadone treatment is stopped immediately instead of tapered. A person may find the withdrawal symptoms too much to handle and return to using methadone, sometimes increasing the dose and frequency. This can be highly dangerous and potentially fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that methadone accounts for nearly one in four opioid-related deaths.

It's important you discuss your progress in the methadone maintenance program with your case worker. You need to have reached a state where no longer feel the effects of the controlled treatment and feel secure in your ability to cope with heroin or opioid cravings once off methadone. Both you and your case worker must feel confident you're mentally prepared to begin a drug-free life.

Tapering Off Methadone in a Clinical Setting

Tapering your methadone treatment should only be done in a medical environment under doctor supervision. Once your case worker has given the green light, you'll need to talk to your clinic and discuss your plan of action. It may be beneficial for your case worker to speak with them as well.

Tapering involves slowly reducing your dosage until you no longer need the drug to combat cravings or feel normal. Your schedule will depend on the level of your previous addiction and how long you've been participating in methadone treatment.

An average tapering schedule involves reducing the dosage by 10% every few weeks. Once you've reduced your dose to the lowest amount, you'll need to decide if you're ready to stop taking it altogether. This is a huge decision that should involve your case worker, doctor, and substance abuse counselor. You may want to play it safe and remain on the low dose for an extended period of time. Some people opt to remain on a low dose indefinitely.

Ongoing Treatment After Methadone

Whether you stop taking methadone altogether or taper down to the lowest dose possible, you'll need to participate in ongoing treatment to increase your chances of recovery. There are several options, including Narcotics Anonymous, one-on-one substance abuse counseling, or group therapy. Your case worker can put you into contact with the right resources.

Receiving ongoing treatment is a great way to help keep you focused on your recovery. You'll also have access to information regarding relapse and coping mechanisms. Most importantly, you'll have a support system in place to help you through periods of doubt and anxiety. This is a powerful tool that can reduce the possibility of relapse.

If you feel that living without methadone is too difficult, speak with your case worker about starting a low dose or increasing your current dose. This is a better option than heroin or opioid relapse. Remember, recovery is a long process and you'll face many hurdles. Use the resources at your disposal to help you prevent becoming addicted again.

Stay Educated

Informing yourself about the addiction issues you face and the treatment options available is critical during your recovery. This is especially important when treating addiction with a drug like methadone. It's crucial you understand what to expect.

It's our goal to educate people about every aspect of methadone, opioid addiction, and detox. Check out more articles about methadone treatment and make informed choices regarding your well-being and drug-free future.




The Opioid Epidemic Story is a Tragedy

The Opioid Epidemic Story is a Tragedy

Opioid addiction is a startling and fast-growing epidemic. Its epidemic growth may be one of the saddest drug addiction stories ever told.

There are whole generations of families and communities being lost to opioid addiction. Opioid addiction keeps growing in communities throughout the US. A professional group became appalled at what they were witnessing and began an opioid awareness campaign.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists opioid epidemic awareness campaign is an effort to inform people about the symptoms of opioid abuse. If an addict wants to get treatment, there is information provided on where to get treatment and help.

But there are no easy answers or solutions in how best to stop the widespread penetration of opioid addiction in the U.S.

How Widespread is Opioid Addiction?

The numbers of opioid addiction are surreal to read about. There are three million people in the U.S. and 16 million globally who suffer from opioid addiction. What's more, those numbers keep growing yearly.

With a population of almost 400,000 in Maldives Male’ houses occupies about 200,000 people including foreign workers. As the local islanders finish their 10th or 12th grade they are somehow  forced to come to city for their higher educations and to look for better opportunities. Its really sad to have one single city developed over 30 years instead of developing islands in different locations in Maldives. The current situation could have been avoided. I hope to see 5 more cities like this in Maldives in different locations so that one place won’t get packed. It’s beautiful from the Sky.
Photographer: Ishan @seefromthesky | Source: Unsplash

How do you know if someone you love is addicted to opioids? There are some common symptoms you can look for. They are;

  • False sense of euphoria
  • Grandiose feelings about self
  • Anxious and irritable
  • Lack of motivation
  • Paranoid or psychotic episodes
  • Quit doing favorite things
  • Hypervigilant
  • Insomnia

Once you start noticing any of these symptoms, there are a multitude of different treatment options you can give them, if you find out they are abusing opioid.

But in the end, it is up to the addict to seek treatment. No matter how bad the opioid addiction is you cannot force another adult to get treatment for an addiction they won't admit they have. Opioids include illegal drugs like heroin. But they also include drugs you can get from a prescription. These prescriptions are for drugs like fentanyl, codeine, and morphine. Because opioid is a legally prescribed drug, many times opioid addicts will tell you they have pain and must take the drug as it is the doctor's orders.

Opioid Addiction Helplines

There are a multitude of treatment options for opioid addiction. There are websites dedicated to information on the opioid epidemic. There are websites which provide opioid addiction treatment options through free online resources.

One of those websites may open up possibilities when providing treatment options for any addict. It may be one word in a sentence or one sentence in a paragraph which helps reach the addict.

Many times it is the other person on the other side of a phone call or helpline who provides hope. There is a hopeful connection website which provides a no cost treatment helpline dedicated to addicts.

Opioid treatment solutions work best when the treatment is customized to the addict's needs. Opioid addiction may have similar symptoms no matter who the addict is but every person is different in how they experience and manage the symptoms of addiction.

Photographer: christopher lemercier | Source: Unsplash

Types of Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

All opioid addiction treatment involves some form or style of various counseling methods. Some of these include, but are not limited to;

  1. One on one counseling which involves goals, motivations, progress and what to do when you have setbacks.
  2. Altering negative thinking behaviors by learning how to have positive coping skills called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It is effective when dealing in lives with over-the-top stress.
  3. Giving an addict incentives for not using opioids is called contingency management therapy.
  4. Group counseling can be effective with addicts. This is because when an addict hears other opioid addiction stories the feeling of loneliness is gone. No one should feel alone when seeking addiction treatment. Group counseling also exposes you to new methods and ways to fight opioid addiction.
  5. Many addiction treatment plans include family counseling. Bringing in your partner or other family members helps open the door to communication and healing.

Widespread and Ever-Growing Opioid Addiction

The opioid addiction is not going anywhere soon because the numbers keep increasing and not much seems to slow it down.

More than 130 people die daily in the United States from opioid addiction. It is estimated that over $78.5 billion is allocated to emergency healthcare, treatment and law enforcement due to opioid addiction.

What's amazing is 8-12% of those who receive opioids for pain start abusing the drug. Between 2016 and 2017 opioid overdoses went up 30% in just 52 areas within 45 states.

Opioid addiction isn't slowing down and in fact, many abusers of opioid move on to heroin when they cannot get a prescription or buy opioid on the streets.

The magnification of drug abuse and the fall-out from one drug is almost beyond comprehension.

When opioid addiction happens to you or someone you love the battle isn't just heartbreaking. The drug addiction becomes real with its criminal, psychological, and physical fall-out. The treatment needed becomes required right now.

Opioid Treatment Customized to Your Needs

No one has all the answers to opioid addiction. Nor does anyone have all the answers to the best treatment programs for the disorder. But by spending time in communication learning about the addicts behaviors and symptoms there is a way forward which may help.

There are dedicated personnel standing by to talk to you, offer you treatment information and more. But you have to want to learn about opioid information. You have to want to fight against your opioid cravings.

Most of all, you have to be the one who is ready to face the consequences of your addiction both in body and mind.

There is no addiction easy to conquer. Take the first step in helping yourself escape from your opioid addiction. Don't become part of the statistics of lives interrupted by death well before your time.

Don't become a statistic when there is still so much to discover about yourself. Tell your story to others. Become an inspiration to many people. Your story shouldn't begin and end with only one chapter detailing your opioid addiction.

Widespread opioid addiction is only as strong as its users. It's hold on geographical areas and people weaken when people quit using. Reach out to us today, so we can help you end your use of opioids.

detox symptoms

What To Do If You Miss Your Methadone Dose

First things first, while it may be your instinct to panic, it’s better off if you don’t. There’s no denying the fact that it’s scary to realize your dealing with a missed methadone dose. The majority of people who are on a maintenance program end up missing a dose of methadone at least once.

Panicking about it, certainly won’t do you any good. Whether you overslept after a big day, or you failed to realize that the clinic was closing early for the holidays, chances are you may miss a methadone dose every once in a while. No matter why you missed a dose, just remember that you can absolutely get through this. You will make it on to the other side and you’ll be back in your routine of using methadone before you know it!

Methadone Clinic Hours

How To Keep Yourself Comfortable Until The Next Morning That Your Clinic Opens.

Once you’ve come to the realization that you’ve missed your methadone dose and there’s nothing you can do to get it back, it’s time to relax and put in an appropriate action plan together. You’ll want to keep yourself calm and comfortable until you can get back to your methadone clinic and get your next dose. Thankfully, one of the many benefits of methadone is that it’s a long-acting opioid, so most people do not experience significant withdrawal symptoms until a little after 36 hours. Even then, these withdrawal symptoms present themselves slowly and gradually increase as time goes by, but it’s unlikely these symptoms will become really bad by the time you can get into your methadone clinic and have your next dose.

So long as you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, and you do your best to relax whether that’s through reading or taking a nice bath or shower, you should be just fine. The key is keeping your mind occupied during this time so that your thoughts don’t wander to your drug of choice which could lead to bad decisions, relapses and even overdoses. Just keep telling yourself that you will be okay, and you’ll be surprised at how fast the time goes by and how strong you can be when necessary.

Things You Should Not Do if You Miss Your Methadone Dose

While there are many helpful suggestions as to what to do following the occasional missed methadone dose, you also need to remember that there are some things you should not do. First and foremost, you should never attempt to purchase drugs on the street in place of your methadone. That’s because it is highly likely that if you purchase any other type of opioid, it will not actually have any soothing effects for you as you’re on the methadone maintenance therapy in the first place. You’ll just be putting all the hard work you’ve put in at rehab, as well as your personal safety and wellbeing, in jeopardy. It’s never worth it.

Another thing you should avoid at all costs is double doses. Professional staff carefully measures each and every methadone dose to ensure optimal success and safety, and the last thing you should be doing is trying to give yourself a dose by your own set of rules. Once you miss a daily dose, you need to skip that day and carry on as normal the next day. It’s always a good idea to consult the medical staff at your trusted methadone clinic to get clear answers and instructions as to what to do. In cases where you miss your dose for two consecutive days or more, it’s possible you’ll need to begin again with a lower dose just to make sure you don’t suffer any adverse side effects or overdose.

What You Can Do To Ensure that You Don’t Miss Anymore Doses

You’ll surely be relieved once it’s a new day and you’re able to continue on with your methadone doses as normal. You’ll want to prepare yourself and make sure this doesn’t happen again if you can help it. To ensure you make all your methadone doses on time, you should take a few moments out of your day to read all of the signs displayed in the clinic. These signs are actually quite valuable resources for patients, and it will give you more details on the program and the particulars of these clinics. It’s also recommended that you communicate with clinic staff to better understand the schedule and upcoming events and holidays that may affect opening hours. If you do not have regular, reliable transportation, perhaps you can find a carpool set up so that you can get to the clinic easily. Other helpful tips include setting a daily alarm clock and keeping your friends and family in tune with what’s going on.

Just remember that even in the rare occasion when you may miss your methadone dose, you’re not alone and there are others out there in the same boat. You just have to hold your head up high, stay strong and determined, and remember that you can definitely make it out of this situation without abusing drugs again. For more information contact us at (855) 976-2092.


[1] Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. 6, Methadone maintenance treatment. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310658/

[2] Methadone | SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015, 28). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone

diversion of methadone

Why You Should Never Divert Your Methadone

It’s wonderful what methadone treatment can do for people, but as with any healthcare plan or treatment, it needs to be taken seriously and very carefully. On that note – One should never divert methadone dosages. While in many cases patients are successful in their journey toward sobriety with methadone, sometimes others may abuse this substance, leading to less than ideal circumstances.

It’s important to understand that methadone is an opiate that’s mainly used for opioid maintenance therapy or methadone treatment, and there is a minor risk of addiction if people overuse or abuse methadone. When people abuse their methadone, they take too much of it too frequently, disregarding their doctor’s orders and specific doses. Any healthcare professional who administers methadone is expected to be very careful and accurate when measuring and prescribing doses, so as to minimize the risk of anyone becoming addicted. Another aspect of methadone abuse is diversion, which is when people give their medication to others who don’t have a prescription for it. Diversion is something that should definitely be avoided in order to protect patients and lower the risk of addiction to methadone.

Why You Shouldn’t Do It

The points are clear as to why people should never abuse methadone or give their dose to other people. Every doctor carefully prescribes methadone so as to best protect patients and ensure they are given just enough to keep the painful withdrawal symptoms at bay without leading to dependence. It’s absolutely essential that patients follow their doctor’s instructions so that they remain on a healthy and happy path, rather than getting stuck in the very difficult cycle of addiction that can prove so challenging to break.

Generally speaking, every dose of methadone should be able to hold you for 24 hours until your next dose. If a patient feels that they are tempted to use drugs again, then their dose may not be working, and they may need to speak to their counselor about the situation. It’s important to keep in mind that the objective of methadone treatment is to allow people to gradually get off their drug of choice by minimizing the cravings and triggers.

Methadone treatment is most commonly used for heroin addiction, as it helps addicts come down from their addiction and make it through the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms with fewer cravings that could lead to relapse. At the same time, everybody is different, and some people will require a higher, stronger dose while others may need less. Patients should not be deciding on their doses themselves, but rather having open and honest conversations with their medical team and counselors to ensure proper treatment.

Specialists at methadone clinics warn that patients who don’t take methadone on a daily basis are at a very high risk of overdose. Only licensed staff should be measuring methadone amounts, as this can be very hard to do particularly with liquid doses. Running out of methadone when it’s required to help during the recovery process is not fun, but it’s definitely a possibility for people who abuse or diver their prescribed methadone dose. Then, of course, there’s the possibility of overdosing, which can lead to serious health problems and force a person to start all over in their journey to recovery and rehabilitation.

What Will Happen if You Do?

Patients at clinics specializing in methadone near me should always be careful and aware of their methadone dose. Methadone abuse and diversion are a slippery slope that can lead to dire consequences. Those who abuse methadone, either by taking too much themselves or giving their dose to others, will lose their clinic privileges. This includes take-home privileges, which are doses that the most committed and best-behaved patients will earn to take home with them. Then there’s the fact that patients who abuse methadone will likely run out of it, which will open up the doors for further drug abuse. When people don’t have enough methadone, they may end up resorting to using illicit, illegal drugs again, which will increase the likelihood of an overdose.

With more than 100,000 Americans using methadone treatment in a bid to get clean for good, there are so many positives associated with this treatment, but at the same time, there are rules and guidelines that need to be followed in order to protect patients and their loved ones. Diverting medication to others can lead to fatal overdoses, so this really needs to be taken seriously and patients who feel tempted to abuse their methadone doses or give it to others should consult their counselors right away.

 What You Should Do If You Feel Tempted to Abuse Your Methadone

Although it would be amazing if it did, addiction, unfortunately, does not go away overnight. Even once people manage to make it back to sobriety, they will face a lifelong challenge to stay clean and avoid falling back into their old habits. People in recovery truly need to be patient with themselves, and they need to do a lot of self-reflecting in order to determine what they want from their lives, and how they can get there.

If you or someone you know is struggling with methadone treatment, and you’re feeling tempted to abuse your medication, honesty is always the best policy. This will allow you to communicate truthfully with your counselor so that they can help you find a better solution. The sooner the situation is addressed, the better, no matter what their consequences may be. Sometimes, temptations to abuse are a sign that more treatment is necessary. As long as you stay dedicated to your recovery journey and keep your head up high, you have a good chance of making it out on the other side. There’s a bigger and brighter future awaiting you, reach out for help you need and deserve today (855) 976-2092.


[1] Products – Data Briefs – Number 329 – November 2018. (2018, November 29). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db329.htm

[2] Harvard Health Publishing. (2017, February 8). Treating opiate addiction, Part I: Detoxification and maintenance – Harvard Health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/treating-opiate-addiction-part-i-detoxification-and-maintenance

[3] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/medications-to-treat-opioid-addiction/what-treatment-need-versus-diversion-risk-opioid-use-disorder-treatment

Methadone Take Home Privileges – What You Need to Know

For the millions of Americans who are in unfortunate situations involving drugs, methadone take home treatment stands out as a beacon of hope. There are plenty of positives surrounding this treatment method, which is particularly useful for those suffering from addiction to heroin and other opiates who struggle to get through the withdrawal symptoms.

There are many wonderful options for methadone near me, with local clinics specializing in this treatment plan that can have a powerful influence on the future of patients’ lives, especially when they’re drowning in their drug addiction and don’t see another way out. Methadone treatment can lay the groundwork for a bigger, better and brighter future.

What are Methadone “Take Home” Privileges?

Whether you or someone you love is considering methadone treatment, it’s in your best interest to be aware of all the aspects of this recovery method. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel and the better chance you’ll have of succeeding in this pathway to sobriety. A great place to start is with “Take Home” privileges, which patients can earn as they prove themselves to be committed and determined to kick their drug habits to the curb. At many methadone clinics, these privileges may include things like a particular dosage or supply of methadone that they’ll be able to use once they return home.

While every clinic may have slightly different rules, and it’s crucial to understand all of the information and guidelines during their stay, or even prior to becoming a patient, generally speaking, most clinics will have take-home privileges of some kind. The ADS Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) – Client Handbook is a prime example, as it explains how patients can earn trust at their methadone clinic and receive take-home privileges. When a patient wants to reduce his or her clinic visits by getting take-home does, the primary counselor will take a closer look to decide whether or not this particular patient meets eligibility requirements. A decision will eventually be made as to award none, or up to thirteen, take-home doses.

How Do I Gain Trust and Earn More “Take Homes” Privileges?

There are more than 14,000 addiction treatment facilities across America, and many of these places operate methadone clinics as well to allow more people access to potentially life-saving treatment. It’s the sad truth that not nearly enough Americans struggling with addiction actually get the treatment and professional help they need, with only 11% of those with an alcohol or drug dependence problem heading to rehab in 2013. This goes to show how essential methadone clinics are in the fight against drug addiction.

Take home privileges are a huge part of this, as doing a good job in rehab and showing one’s commitment and dedication to getting better can result in rewards, and it’s certainly a goal for people to work toward. The more that an individual tries in rehab, and really gives themselves up to the process, the better. In order to gain trust and earn more take-home privileges in the process, people need to follow the guidelines for on-site dosages at the beginning of their stay, as well as participate in face-to-face sessions with healthcare professionals at the clinic.

Other ways to check off the criteria for take-home privileges include being current on any and all financial obligations, as well as maintaining employment, education, volunteer work or home duties. Attending all of the required regular individual and group sessions is a must, too! Behavior is also a large indicator of whether or not a person should be receiving take-home privileges. Those who have aggressive outbursts, negative attitudes, and even recent criminal records may not meet the standards for take-home privileges.

How People Lose their Privileges

In the same way that people can earn their take-home privileges, it’s also quite possible to lose these privileges, depending on how they behave and act during the rehabilitation process. Clinic staff is very cognizant of the importance of only providing take homes to those who are in control and able to handle this, and they will not allow those who are struggling or not taking the process seriously to have take-home doses.

Some of the common ways in which people may lose their privileges include participating in criminal activity, failing to turn up to therapy sessions or counseling and misbehaving or causing trouble at the clinic. Those who show instability in their home environment or personal relationships may be at risk of losing their take-home privileges as well. An individual who refuses to take regular urine tests or fails one of these tests is also likely to lose their take-home privileges.

Time in treatment is perhaps one of the most important rules of all. If a person isn’t coming to the clinic as regularly as required, and it doesn’t seem like they are taking the process as seriously as they should, then they won’t be able to receive take-home doses. It can’t and shouldn’t be understated that take-home privileges are exactly that – a privilege – and they can and will be taken away if people do not follow the rules. This may sound strict, but it has to be in order to protect the health and wellbeing of patients and give them the best chances of success and sobriety in the long run.

Why It’s Important to Follow the Rules and Take Your Methadone as Prescribed

The rules put in place at any methadone clinic are not meant to be stifling and suffocating, but they need to be harsh in many ways so that people truly understand the severity of their problems. Doing drugs and having drug possessions are very serious concerns that can not only harm a person’s health but also their entire future and education, career and family. Methadone clinics and their guidelines are designed with this concept in mind so that patients are forced to confront their demons and understand how dangerous their behavior really was/is.

This is exactly why it’s so important to follow the rules laid out by the rehab center and the methadone clinic. The medical professionals know that these guidelines are necessary for patients to be successful in their recovery journey, and they are also aware that methadone must be taken precisely as prescribed to minimize the risk for addiction and abuse and ensure a smooth transition into sobriety. Patients can always speak to the staff at methadone clinics for answers and clarity surrounding the processes and procedures, but it’s important to respect every step of this pathway to a better life. That way, patients will be more likely to avoid a relapse and come out on the other side, happier and healthier!


[1] Methadone Program Handbook. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.adsyes.org/methadone-program-handbook/

[2] Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. (2014, September). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.pdf

[3] How Do Medications Treat Opioid Addiction? (2018, April 18). Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/treatment/medications-to-treat-opioid-addiction/index.html

methadone recovery method for addiction

When People Say Methadone Doesn’t Equal Recovery

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that upwards of 2 million Americans are addicted to opiates such as heroin and prescription opioids like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). While some methadone clinics may have experienced some controversy over the years, generally speaking, methadone recovery treatment is one of the best things to happen to the healthcare industry in terms of addiction assistance and treatment. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for help and rehabilitation nowadays, especially compared to half a century ago when drug use was oftentimes a life sentence that ruined people’s lives in the blink of an eye. Although drug use is still just as painful and dangerous, if not more so, you can rest assured that every methadone clinic is designed to make a genuine difference in the lives of those struggling with drugs. Let’s take a closer look at methadone treatment, and what it means when people say methadone is not related to recovery.

The Stigma Related To Methadone

For decades, methadone treatment has been giving those hooked on heroin a new beginning by presenting a way for them to gradually get off of opiates with minimal withdrawal symptoms. It’s really been since the 1950s that methadone treatment first came onto the scene to treat opioid dependence. However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for proponents of methadone clinics, as they’ve had to tiptoe around an unfair, and untrue, stigma surrounding methadone.

Essentially, for many years, there’s been a generalization and stereotype that methadone treatment can’t work because it involves replacing one opiate with another, which would mean that those in recovery are still receiving an opiate intake of some kind. Critics of this treatment have said that those on methadone aren’t actually in recovery, because they aren’t clean and they’re still on drugs in a sense. However, this stigma does nothing but harm individuals who could truly benefit from methadone treatment, which is a safe and highly regulated treatment that prepares people for greater success in their future recovery.

While it’s been a long road to prove the naysayers wrong, the sheer number of methadone clinics in the United States and the popularity of this treatment plan – coupled with the number of inspiring success stories – goes to show that methadone can save lives. The majority of people who have been placed on a methadone treatment plan have nothing but good things to say about the entire process, including how it prepared them for the rest of their rehabilitation journey and their pathway to sobriety.

Methadone is a fantastic option that has been proven to save lives. It’s a real shame that those who have something against methadone fail to acknowledge the many benefits, including the lowered risk for overdose deaths and minimized harm during the withdrawal and recovery process.

Why You Shouldn’t Pay Naysayers Any Mind

Like anything in life, there are unfortunately always going to be some negative folks who just can’t seem to see the other side. This is true for methadone treatment as well, and while it’s understandable for there to be some general concerns, taking a closer look at this health care option allows everyone to see that methadone programs have far more positives than negatives. No patients should ever feel bad or guilty for being on the methadone program, so long as the medication is prescribed accurately and taken appropriately.

Over the years, there have been many individuals who were saved by methadone treatment, which allowed them to finally break free of their drug-fueled demons and their heroin addiction that just kept holding them down.

Harvard Medical School reports that more than 100,000 Americans are currently on a methadone maintenance treatment, which just goes to show that methadone has and will continue to have an inspiring impact on many lives. So long as methadone treatment is always completed in conjunction with counseling, group therapy, health and wellbeing sessions and more recovery activities, then this health care method has a high chance of success and sobriety.

Methadone Isn’t For Everyone, But It May Be For You & That’s Okay

If you or someone you love is considering methadone treatment, it’s important to keep in mind that like any health care plan, procedure or prescription, it may not be for everyone, and that’s perfectly okay. By having open and honest conversations with your doctor, you will find this whole process to be easier, and they will help to answer any further questions you may have before starting methadone treatment.

Generally speaking, methadone seems to work best for those with chronic pain, heavy, long-term users and individuals who can’t seem to stop using drugs on their own. This is because methadone can be adopted as a long-term treatment plan in some cases. The process of tapering methadone doses and gradually weaning a patient off of it needs to happen slowly, and that’s why it’s crucial to be of healthy mind and body while taking part in this treatment. This way, you’ll be more likely to reach your end goal and say goodbye to your dismal drug habits, once and for all.

Compassion is The Answer No Matter The Path to Recovery

Addiction is a disease, and it certainly isn’t an easy thing to go through for anyone. It’s essential that you remember that addiction is not one size fits all, and what works for some people may not work for others. It’s truly a shame that some people cast such a negative light on methadone when it’s actually been a highly reputable, life-saving treatment option for nearly 70 years.

Rather than passing judgment on others who are so brave to try and face their addiction head-on, compassion should always be the answer. Treating people with addiction with respect, courtesy and kindness is a surefire way to support them in their new journey, which may be daunting and difficult in many regards. Those who shame and look down on patients in methadone clinics are doing more harm than good. If you can keep the objectives of methadone treatment in mind, you’ll be more well-informed and better able to support and encourage anyone who’s been courageous enough to tackle their drug problem! Methadone treatment will be a crucial part of stemming America’s opioid epidemic and putting people back on the path to a better life.


[1] The N-SSATS Report: Trends in the Use of Methadone and Buprenorphine at Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities: 2003 to 2011. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/N-SSATS%20Rprt%20Trnds%20Use%20Methadone%20&%20Buprenorphine%20at%20SA%20Trmt%20Facs%20%2003-11/N-SSATS%20Rprt%20Trnds%20Use%20Methadone%20&%20Buprenorphine%20at%20SA%20Trmt%20Facs%20%2003-11/sr107-NSSATS-Buprenorph.htm

[2] Methadone maintenance treatment – Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings – NCBI Bookshelf. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310658/

[3] Harvard Health Publishing. (2017, February 8). Treating opiate addiction, Part I: Detoxification and maintenance – Harvard Health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/treating-opiate-addiction-part-i-detoxification-and-maintenance


How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last

Methadone Withdrawal Timeline: How Long Does Detox Take?

Congratulations for trying to get off methadone. We wish we could tell you it’s going to be easy, but it’s not. Addictions are a hard cycle to break – but it’s possible.

One of the most common reasons people don’t break the addiction cycle is because they don’t understand what getting sober is really like. They don’t consider the physical withdrawal symptoms.

We’re here to walk you through the methadone withdrawal timeline and give suggestions on how to make it better. We’ll give you tips on each step – but here are some general detox success tips, first.

Detox Success Tips

You’re going to need help when you’re detoxing, in some way. Here’s what we recommend.

1. Tell Someone You’re Detoxing

It’s unlike no one noticed that you were using drugs. Especially if you were on them for a long period of time. Your loved ones or even just one trusted friend will be happy to hear you’re working towards sobriety.

Pick someone (or multiple people) and let them know you’re detoxing. Ask them to come stay with you or check in with you throughout the process so they can provide support.

2. Try to Function as Normal

The first week of detox is the hardest on your body, but also on your mind. Your symptoms are going to make you want to lay on the couch – but you can’t.

If you lay on the couch in discomfort, all you’ll be able to think about is relapsing. Try to go about your daily activities as planned. You can use over-the-counter medication to treat some of your symptoms.

It may not feel great, but it’ll keep you from obsessing over finding more pills.

3. Seek Out Counseling

If there’s an addiction center in your area, it’s a good idea to meet with a counselor there. Many of them have outpatient programs so you can continue to live your life as normal.

Having someone who knows what drug withdrawal is like will help you stay on track.

If there’s not or you have a therapist, make sure they know you’re trying to get sober. They’re there to support you in all your darkest moments.

The Methadone Withdrawal Timeline

Let’s get specific – what happens when that last pill you took wears off and you’re out or you’ve thrown all of them away? Here’s what to expect.

The First Day

Methadone withdrawal isn’t a straight downhill battle. Your first day won’t be quite as hard as the second or third. That’s where the hill peaks when it comes to symptoms.

Your first day you may feel anxious and hazy. It’s normal to experience light flu-like symptoms.

You’ll probably find your heart beating faster than normal, as your body speeds up processes to figure out what’s missing.

If you have chills, a fever, or muscle aches – these are all normal. If your heart or chest starts to hurt – please go to the hospital.

The Second and Third Day (Symptoms Peak)

You’ll probably feel straight-up sick on these days. Whatever happened the first day is about twice as bad on day two or three. This is where most people fall out of the detox process and give in to their cravings.

Don’t be one of them! Use our general tips for success above.

During this stage, not only will you feel feverish, but the psychological issues will kick in. You can expect very strong cravings for the drug and the thought that “it would make all this go away”.

Hallucinations and paranoia are possible, so please make sure you call a trusted companion if this starts to happen. They can keep you from acting on anything if you’re experiencing a lapse in reality.

You may not be able to sleep, either, even though all the mental symptoms will exhaust you. Please don’t take anything strong like Ambien or Nyquil – your body is already trying to process enough.

Finally. you’ll have anxiety and you’ll probably be pretty grumpy. Warn the people you interact with to expect changes in mood. You can always apologize for being snappy later.

While most people peak on day three, it takes others longer. It depends on how long you’ve been addicted and the dosage you’re used to.

Addicts who’ve been on the drug longer or take more milligrams than others have a longer withdrawal period.

Day 4-10

Like we said, you could experience intense withdrawal symptoms for up to 10 days or a week, depending on your usage. But by the end of the first week, you should start to see symptoms subside.

While the physical discomfort goes away, you may find your mental state gets worse. Depression is common among opiate addicts, especially.

You’ve been supplying your brain with an outside-source of dopamine, the happiness chemical. It’s not used to having to make its own.

It’ll take a while for it to kick back into production, and you’ll feel depressed until it does.

Day 10+

We don’t want to scare you, but your depression and cravings can last for months after your last dose. That’s why it’s so important to seek out support.

Family members, people at church or professional counselors are all good people to turn to.

Treating Your Symptoms

Your methadone withdrawal timeline will be different than anyone else. It’s a unique process and you only have to do it once – if you do it right!

Are you about to start detox or are you already uncomfortable? You can make yourself feel a little better with these herbal remedies.

Remember that this is suffering you’re doing for a better future – for you and the people that love you!


[1] Biology of Addiction. (2017, September 8). Retrieved from https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/10/biology-addiction

[2] Heart failure due to ‘stress cardiomyopathy?: a severe manifestation of the opioid withdrawal syndrome. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3760581/