Methadone as a Short-Term Detox Drug

How to Perform Methadone Detox at Home

Dealing with Methadone withdrawal symptoms

Methadone detox can be a scary but necessary step in your recovery. Did you know that you can do methadone detox at home?

For many opioid addicts, methadone treatment is crucial for recovery. However, eventually, you’ll need to detox from methadone. This is often done in rehab clinics, but in certain situations, detoxing at home can be a much better choice.

If you’re afraid to go to rehab, don’t have the money, or don’t have a clinic in your area, methadone detox at home may be the answer.

In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know to detox in the comfort of your own home. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opioid, but surprisingly, it can actually help people recover from opioid addiction by helping them through the withdrawal process.

The creation of methadone treatment took place during World War II to help patients get through intense pain. Today, it’s still in the category of opioid painkillers that are often prescribed for serious pain. However, it’s also given as a part of treatment for addiction to heroin and related drugs. It’s helpful to understand more about this drug before you try methadone detox at home.

Methadone is only available by prescription and comes in powder, pill, or liquid form. Like many prescription drugs, it can also be abused, and it’s important to only take it as directed by a doctor. The good news is that among narcotics, methadone is a very safe choice – so safe that you can use it at your own house.

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone offers pain relief by changing how your central nervous system and brain react to pain. Although it’s similar to other painkillers like morphine, it doesn’t work as quickly.

Interestingly, methadone also inhibits the effects of other drugs. You won’t be able to feel codeine, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine while you’re on methadone. This is part of what makes it such a great treatment for addiction.

Methadone feels similar to these other opioids, but can’t be combined with them, and combats the symptoms of withdrawal. Sometimes, methadone treatment is also called “replacement therapy.” The methadone mechanism of action works to “replace” the drug you’re addicted to, but has softer effects, helping you wean yourself off of the addiction.

Duration and Side Effects of Methadone Detox

Most experts agree that a year, or even more, of methadone treatment is needed to fight addiction. A doctor will measure how your body responds to the treatment, and make adjustments as needed. Even when you do methadone detox at home, you’ll need to have a doctor to prescribe the treatment and check in with you regularly to make sure it’s working.

Once the treatment is complete, your doctor can also help you slowly wind down your dosage, so you don’t go into methadone withdrawal.

Side effects of methadone include slowed breathing, restlessness, itchiness, profuse sweating, sexual issues, and constipation.

In rare cases, serious side effects can happen that require medical treatment. However, most people never have these problems. You’ll need to call your doctor if you start feeling faint or lightheaded, having difficulty breathing, break out in a rash, hallucinate, or have chest pains.

Doing Methadone Detox at Home

Now that you know how methadone works, you can safely detox from methadone at home. Here’s how to do it.

1. Decide How Quickly You’ll Quit

Some people decide to go completely cold-turkey from methadone once they feel that they’ve recovered fully. Others gradually wean themselves off, which helps you avoid withdrawal.

If you plan to detox gradually, you’ll probably need about 200 mg of methadone with you. This should be enough for your home detox.

2. Take Some Time Off

It will take you about a week to detox completely. During this time, you’ll need to gradually reduce how much methadone you take every day. You won’t be getting much sleep during this time, and you’ll probably have cramps and nausea.

Your body will desire the methadone that you’ve taken away from it, so it’s good to have a friend or health care worker around who can give you the doses, so you aren’t tempted to take more than you should.

3. Get Through the Worst

You’ll have about two or three bad days of withdrawal, so prepare to push through it.

Your worst days will be more intense if you quit cold-turkey. If you gradually reduce your dosage, you might find that the experience really isn’t all that bad. However, either method works.

Although detox can be unpleasant, it’s not fatal. If you are making the decision to stop using the drug, methadone withdrawal is safe to do at home.

4. Stock Up on Supplies

Stock up on broth and liquids so you stay hydrated during this time. Pick up plenty of drinks that have electrolytes, since you’ll need to replace fluids fast. Buy herbal teas and other comforting drinks to help get you through the bad days.

Crackers and bread can also help stave off hunger without making nausea work. Think of all the things that you like to have on hand when you’re sick – those are the things you’ll want to stock up on.

5. Get Support

It’s a great idea to have a friend or loved one to help you through this process. However, it’s also valuable to seek out the support of fellow former addicts who understand what you’re going through.

Your physical cravings will be powerful for a matter of days. Your psychological cravings, however, will linger for months or years after the detox is over. Having support can help you fight against them.

In addition to getting a good support system, it’s a good idea to get therapy and outpatient treatment to help you stay on track, so you’ll never need to do a methadone detox again.

Looking for Methadone Centers Near You?

In order to do a methadone detox, you’ll need a source of methadone.

When you’re ready to find a methadone center near you, contact us at (855) 976-2092, we can help you find what you need.

Sources


[1] CRC Health. (n.d.). Soldiers, Hippies and Richard Nixon – An American History of Methadone | CRC Health Group. Retrieved from https://www.crchealth.com/addiction/heroin-addiction-treatment/heroin-detox/history_methadone/

[2] Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. 4, Withdrawal Management. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310652/

About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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