Considering that methadone is an opioid, attempt to quit methadone overdose can result in withdrawal side effects which are relatively same as withdrawal symptoms related to other opioid drugs. The methadone withdrawal side effects tend to last longer because it binds to the receptors in the brain for an extended duration. If you or your loved one is going for a methadone detox, you must be aware of the basic stages of methadone withdrawal.
Stage 1. Initial Indications
Methadone has an exceedingly long half-life, therefore the initial indication of withdrawal may not appear for next 10 – 25 hours. Initial indications during the phase one are similar to the flu or cold such as watery eyes, dilated pupils, runny nose, and tiredness. Further side effects may include extreme yawning, bad temper, anxiety, depression, Goosebumps, sweating, and uncontrollable trembling. This stage may last for approximately 48 – 72 hours.
Stage 2. Peak Side Effects
Side effects of methadone detox will become intense after the third day and may last until the fourth day. The side effects are mostly physical such as stomach-ache, diarrhea, and nausea, extreme cramps in legs, insomnia, increased heart and breathing rate and increased body temperature as well as increased sensitivity to pain. During the second phase, an intense craving for methadone may occur. This indicates that the body is unable to maintain stability with neurotransmitters because the brain has nothing to bind with the opioid receptors. The side effects during the second stage lead to relapse of those individuals who try methadone detox on their own. Therefore, it is always recommended to perform methadone detox under the supervision of medical experts.
Stage 3. Decline of Symptoms
The extreme side effects associated with methadone detox are usually over within a duration of 10 days. A methadone addict may still experience fatigue, depression, anxiety, and craving for the drug. During the third phase, both physical and psychological symptoms will start to decline with time. Because methadone is a potential drug, the individual will tend to experience cravings for a few weeks or even months.
Stage 4. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) may not appear in most of the methadone addicts. It is most likely to happen with individuals who have been abusing the drug for a longer duration and taking higher dosage. This makes their bodies highly dependable and tolerant to methadone. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is an extended and intense experience where a methadone addict deals with the side effects of methadone detox particularly the psychological side effects such as depression, anxiety, and craving for the drug. The symptom of depression during the fourth stage is particularly associated with suicidal ideation, whereas anxiety can result in panic attacks.
Individuals who have developed an addiction to methadone, whether it was prescribed as a medication to overcome heroin addiction or prescribed as a painkiller, must look for help from medical professional to have a methadone detox. A detox plan must be followed by a methadone addiction treatment.