What to Know About Quitting Methadone Cold Turkey

tips for finding treatmentTaking methadone as part of a maintenance program in the treatment heroin addiction or an addiction to prescription painkillers can be highly effective for some, but the eventual need to quit using methadone can provide a number of potential downfalls. Quitting Methadone cold turkey can lead to increased withdrawal symptoms, heightened risk of relapse and an overall fear of taking the medication in the future. Here’s what you should know before you make the decision to quit taking methadone cold turkey.

Effects of Inmates Who Were Forced to Quit Methadone Cold Turkey while Incarcerated

According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Negative methadone withdrawal experiences also negatively influenced participants’ receptivity to seeking methadone treatment upon release.”  A further study concluded that, inmates who were forced to quit without any help or tapering off report going through great lengths to get their hands on any type of drug to qualm their withdrawal symptoms. Inmates injured themselves, reported symptoms related to other disorders such as alcoholism or psychotic episodes, and even took the medications of other inmates in order to “try” to feel better when they withdrew from methadone in prison or jail when no other help is provided.

Dangers of Quitting Methadone Cold Turkey for Pregnant Women

Studies show that pregnant women who are prescribed methadone and quit cold turkey are at heightened risk of relapse. Additionally, “doing so can induce withdrawal symptoms in the baby and cause an unintended abortion.”

A methadone tapering schedule can be an effective means of quitting methadone for women following pregnancy. This involves medically supervised withdrawal that takes place under the direct care of a physician and which ensures the safety of the recovering mother.

Inpatient rehab centers can help you get sober. Call our helpline at 1-800-552-0697 and we’ll connect you with a rehab center that can help you get sober once and for all.

If you are pregnant and taking methadone, talk with your doctor before making any decision to quit using the medication. Studies show that it’s generally better (more advisable) to continue taking methadone during the pregnancy as the decision to quit using the medication during pregnancy increases the risk of relapse, can increase symptoms of withdrawal and may pose undue stress to the unborn fetus resulting in premature labor and subsequent premature birth.

How Should I Quit Using Methadone?

Methadone maintenance treatment should be tapered off gradually at a rate of .25 mg every 3-5 days until the patient reaches a zero dosing level.

Various factors can affect a patient’s ability to taper the drug off effectively and according to the National Library of Medicine, “Although factors associated with successful termination of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) have been well studied, the question of why certain methadone patients try to taper off methadone while others do not is still unanswered.”

According to the CDC, “realistic expectations of treatment reflect the understanding that recovery is a day-to-day process with occasional relapses.”

Multiple social services are likely necessary when quitting methadone. Such services can include support groups, sober living, counseling, behavioral therapy and medical care. Studies show that when quitting methadone, individuals experience the greatest chance of full recovery when they become involved in counseling, support groups and therapy. Detox is also a necessary starting point for those in recovery as, without such, the risk of dangerous withdrawal is eminent.

Getting Help

If you or someone you love has been taking methadone for a period of time, whether as the result of an addiction or as the result of having been prescribed the medication for the treatment of pain or for the treatment of an opiate addiction, consider seeking help. Quitting methadone cold turkey is not only uncomfortable, it can be dangerous.

Call our helpline at 1-800-552-0697 today to find an inpatient rehab center that will help you get off methadone.

Symptoms of methadone withdrawal are often much stronger and last much longer than those associated with opiate abuse. Individuals who quit taking methadone are at a heightened risk of serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms that can place undue strain on the heart or other organs of the body. Medical treatment is recommended in order to facilitate a safe recovery from methadone withdrawal and to ensure the continued health of the patient.