What is Detox from Methadone Like?

Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication. It was originally designed to help people in treatment struggling with addiction to opioids, such as heroin. It is used to slowly wean people off of heroin and opioids so that they do not experience sudden and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. However, methadone in and of itself has addictive properties as well, as it is a Schedule II controlled substance. This means it has a high potential for abuse and can produce physiological dependence in users.

Many people who were once addicted to heroin may become addicted to methadone for these reasons. While it is a great tool to help wean people off of dangerous substances, it should not be used in the long-term and its use should be supervised by a medical professional.


Even though methadone is used in treating withdrawal symptoms in other drugs, it is important to remember that prolonged use or misuse of methadone can lead to withdrawal symptoms of its own. The withdrawal symptoms of methadone are very similar to heroin and other opioids, and they include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Shivering
  • Goosebumps
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive yawning
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose


  • 1-3 Days: Symptoms of withdrawal from methadone typically begin within 24 hours after the last dose. Most of the uncomfortable physical symptoms will begin to take place during this time.
  • 3-7 Days: This is when withdrawal symptoms are at their peak. Many people will experience flu-like symptoms and intense cravings. Behavioral symptoms such as depression and anxiety will begin to take place, as well as additional physical symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
  • 7-14 Days: Most withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside, however, intense cravings and behavioral symptoms may still feel present. People often feel heightened anxiety and depression during this time.
  • Ongoing: Typically, withdrawal symptoms will completely subside within 3-6 weeks when detox is complete. However, intense drug cravings and depression may still be present, so it is important to receive ongoing therapy and care.

Medical Detox

The safest and most comfortable way to detox from methadone, or any substance, is to receive medical detox care. During medical detox, clients will be closely supervised and monitored by our on-staff Addictionologist and medical team. They will provide medications for any withdrawal symptoms that should present themselves and provide support during this time.

In addition, our medical team can provide medications for cravings and monitor overall health as the detox process progresses. Once withdrawal symptoms have subsided, behavioral therapy and holistic therapy will be provided to help clients overcome their triggers and learn how to live a life free of methadone. Before leaving treatment, medications will be provided to help further curb cravings. This acts as an extra cushion of support since most relapses occur within the first 90 days of leaving treatment.


Slowly weaning clients off of methadone is another successful strategy when it comes to medical detox. The reason that withdrawal symptoms can be so harsh and uncomfortable is that the body has to readjust to the sudden lack of methadone in the body. It is chemically dependent on the drug because the body has stopped producing opioids of its own. The constant rush of opioids and dopamine that methadone provides leave the body unable to produce its own. If the body is able to slowly adjust to producing its own opioids again along with the decrease in methadone, then the physical symptoms of detox will be much less uncomfortable.

Quitting Cold Turkey

People who do not wish to enter treatment may decide that they want to quit cold turkey on their own. Although opioid detox in itself is not life-threatening, some withdrawal symptoms may require medical attention. These can be such things as severe dehydration from constant vomiting or malnourishment from poor eating habits.

Detox from methadone is not recommended to be done alone. This is because the intense cravings may be so strong that they drive a person to relapse. If tolerance has gone down due to a period of no use, then a relapse could potentially be fatal.

Not having access to medications and support during the detox period can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant. Why put yourself through so much pain and discomfort if you don’t have to?

About Cliffside Malibu

An on-staff addictionologist and a medical team specifically trained for addiction detox will be your best bet for a safe, comfortable detox from methadone. Our treatment facility provides the best care in the industry for addiction recovery and will help you achieve the best chances possible for long-term sobriety and recovery.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com