I have been on Methadone for around 4 years after using heroin for years. I have been on 80MG for at least 3 years.
I have come to a point where I finally have had enough and want to lead a normal life again.
In the last month and a half I have reduced from 80MG to 7.5MG (1.5ML). I have been reducing every Wednesday and Sunday by 2.5MG.
I have stopped reducing at 7.5MG so my system can catchup. My last reduction was last Wednesday to 7.5MG and before that was the Sunday before.
I now take my doses at 5.00AM or as soon as they open which is at 6.45AM as I wake up hanging out. I do sleep through the night but when I wake up after 6 hours I can't lay in bed another minute. Getting up kinda helps me feel better as I am not forcing myself to try and sleep.
I have got off Heroin before, at the time I only slept a few hours in in week so I know what's coming:(.
Okay here is my Question: What is the best way to tackle the rest of my detox process as not to put myself in danger? I won't have doctors monitoring me.
My (Methadone doctor) suggested missing a day and see how I go, but I can feel my dose wearing off by 6.00PM (12 Hrs. after dosing) but I can somehow sleep through the night but wake up like clockwork each morning sweating and feeling c**p.
Please help me as i don't what to mess up.
Thanks for reading!!!!
Best of Luck!
I was wondering how you did going off the methadone?
I have been to the methadone clinic for a year and it worked!!! but......i've gone from 60 mgs which was my stable dose for the year, down to 19mgs right now, i've been going down 5mgs every week and haven't felt any physical withdrawals. but everybody is different, what's freakin me out, is that every since i hit around 40 mgs i got cravings back and started to think about how much i miss the way heroin made me feel, the warm- push everything away for the next couple hours- perfection feeling..there i go again...i felt so ready to get off methadone i was so done with heroin i really really was, i hate it, but all of a sudden these thoughts and DREAMS are coming back and it only started once i started going down... and because i have no physical withdrawals i didnt feel i was going down too fast.
and i'm wondering is methadone just like a hold? Am i stuck on it forever? is this true about the bone marrow? the staff at the clinic has been denying this and i hear more and more about it... i want to see some medical literature on it.
I am ready to start lowering my dose I hope. From what I have read and talked to people once you first start lowering it wont experience horrible withdrawal symptoms, until I get below 10 mg? I guess everyone is different.
I am at 80 MG. I read the first posting... dropping 2.5 MG twice a week. I want to try that. I am not at a private clinic though, so they make it really hard to lower your dose, they'd rather you be there forever. I am going to be persistent....
My biggest fear is supplementing my dose with dope. I don't want to fall back into that, I am really good at staying in denial, then before I know it i'm in too deep. It is different this time... I am ready to be DONE. I worked so hard to leave that life behind, and I am sick of starting every morning in line for 30 minutes at the clinic.
Also has anyone heard of the drug available in Canada and Mexico that is supposed to be some miracle withdrawal drug, it only takes 48 hours and you are done with the detox.... it sounds to good to be true, but I am curious
i just weened myself off methadone all the way to 1 mg and i swear to god, after the inital anxiety, that was it for discomfort. its nothing like you imagine. i was honestly, petrafied to stop and i was considering staying at 1 mg for awhile but i didn't i just said no and walked out of the clinic. my last dose was monday morning. i drink those ensure protien shakes, lots of salads, oranges, bananas, raisen brand cereal, yogert, and eggs every morning and fish or chicken for supper. absolutely NO red meat , pork, candy and other sugery food or drinks, which means NO sodas. maintain this diet or a similar one for atleast 3 weeks even if you start feeling better right away like i did. plus drink massive amounts of water
I'm here to tell you it can be done. It is possible to come off Methadone with patience and determination.
After being on and off heroin for 17 years. And going to different Methadone clinics, I am finally down to my final 3 mgs. I've tapered off before and had no problem. That was like 8 years ago. This time around, it was a little different. It took me a little longer and I am feeling depressed, but am now on meds for that.
Anyway, I was on 100 mgs. and started coming down 5 mgs a week until I got to 20 mgs. At which time I'd come down 2 mgs. a week. When I got to 5 mgs. I waited 2 weeks to come down. So now I'm on 3 mgs. and won't come down to 2 mgs until 2 weeks from now.
It all depends on how you feel. Whatever is comfortable for you.
Don't give up hope. Remember this is your first step to living a happy, drug-free life.
If anyone has any questions or just want to talk, please feel free to email me: ***this post is edited by moderator *** *** private e-mails not allowed **
. I'm not a doctor or professional but I have been fighting this battle for a long time, so I have a lot of experience.
Much love to you all.
As far as my depression, I've been on Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Welbutrin, Trazodone and Seroquel. Nothing seems to work. I'm only taking Trazodone right now to be able to sleep. But, you have now made me realize it is all psychological due to my tapering down off the Methadone. So meds for depression aren't going to work for me. I'm learning as I go along. I'll just have to tough it out and hope it gets better as time goes by.
The last time I weened myself off Methadone, 8 years ago, I didn't give myself a chance to be completely sober because I started drinking, stupid I know. Although, I was heroin-free for 2 years before I relapsed.
I just wanted to let anyone who is going through this nightmare know that it is possible to get off Methadone. It just has to been done slowly. It depends on the person and how comfortable they feel at the lower doses. Right now 3 mgs. is holding me. I go to the clinic around 7-8AM, on Tues and Fri, every other day I get my take homes. And I'm not feeling any withdrawals and am sleeping well at night (with help from the Trazodone). I'm worried about that though because I don't want to get hooked on it and have to go through detoxing off of it later. But, I'll take it one step at a time.
Anyway, thank you Newfie, for your words of wisdom. I wish you all the best. :-)
Dr. David Arneson, NMD
***this post is edited by moderator *** *** private e-mails not allowed **
‘There is no free lunch.’
Last updated 3/21/05
I believe in the search for truth…the following monograph is what I know to be true about the use and withdrawal from methadone. I also understand that in life, the truth is constantly evolving. My 18 years on the road to recovery probably taints my judgment somewhat…but friends—I know recovery from the bottom rung. I’ve written countless e-mail replies to those of you who wish to discontinue methadone. In order to save myself time I’ve decided to write as much as I can on one, or two, pages…the truth as I see it…to assist you in your endeavor. I will be adding and subtracting as more information is made available. Certainly, you may perceive your truth to be different. If you think that going to the methadone clinic every morning to get your dose for the rest of your life…gives you quality of life…then read no further and God bless you. I assure you, the standard medical establishment does not have an answer for withdrawal. In fact, the new way of thinking is that many of you will have to be on methadone for the rest of your lives. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They will try and convince you that sudden withdrawal will cause your untimely demise. Another falsehood, although the truth is you may feel like you’re dying. I consistently work with people stopping cold turkey and have better luck than lowering the dose over time., I’ve NEVER had an in-house methadone withdrawal case leave the program early…all have gone cold turkey from 60-150 mg per day…Many do this without the aid of other mind-altering prescriptive drugs…even though I’m licensed to prescribe these drugs. There are exceptions, for those that I detox out-patient, and for those that are on other medications when they come in for treatment…I’ll cover those medications in the following paragraphs. Personally, I urge all to consider in-house Detox for methadone…especially if going cold turkey. Although in my personal experience I’ve never seen any advantage in lowering the dose over time. Especially, if one is at 45 mg or less per day. Methadone Detox can normally be accomplished in 3-5 weeks. For information on natural methadone detox, in-patient, ***edited by moderator*** web addresses not allowed
The most important issue in treatment for withdrawal is not so much treating the disease state but treating the individual. One specific protocol designed to treat a disease is standard medicine’s answer to all disease states. This is mechanistic medicine. It does not take into account our genetic variability…we respond to treatment in different ways…not just through biochemistry, but also on the emotional and spiritual levels. For the last 4 years I’ve been using nutrition—Intravenous and oral—to rebuild and repair the biochemistry pathways in the body and mind. Over four years experience —this includes heroin, and all other street drugs, alcohol, and prescription medications--has taught me that natural detox works 100 times better than detox formulated and predicated by the use of other mind altering chemicals. It is also important to recognize that there are many of you that were prescribed methadone for chronic pain. Yet one must recognize that the end result is the same—and therefore the remedies for withdrawal are the same.
One more important point is that emotional and spiritual supports are necessary in this journey back to health. It would be rare that a person is not stretched to the absolute limit—body, mind, and spirit--in the process of withdrawing from methadone. Those who chose to do this alone, rarely succeed. The support of family, friends, or even the 12-step programs are important adjuncts to this journey.
One final point needs to made about the use of methadone. There are those that were put on methadone for pain management. This occurs because opiates in general—while good acute therapy—are not good choices for chronic long-term pain. The body adjusts to opiate therapy by down regulating opiate receptors and the patient will eventually build a tolerance to the standard opiates like vicodin, percocet, or oxycontin just to name a few. Methadone is the last ditch effort to control pain…unfortunately, the use of methadone usually creates more long-term health problems. The other unfortunate aspect of taking someone off methadone—those that have been using it to treat chronic pain—is what will be used to control pain in the future. There has been some movement in treating pain with anti-depressants with poor results. Furthermore, long term opiate use eventually create what is termed the opiate pain syndrome…which simply is the fact that the receptors are so down regulated that the opiate have nothing to act on…and that’s why opiate therapy doesn’t work over the long term…For many of those with chronic pain, choices have to be made…and the withdrawal from methadone will be especially trying…but it can be done following the protocols listed below…as your body heals and the receptors are synthesized in the body your own enkephlins and endorphins (natural body opiates) will start to be interactive in pain management…this may not be enough…yet many cases of chronic pain will subside if serotonin levels in the brain can be increased—the reason for doing amino acid therapy is to increase these levels. Anti-depressants don’t increase the production of anything over the long term…in fact it is well known that in the long term they decrease levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Amino acids therapies work well on most cases of fibromyalgia even though many of these patients will fall victim to the use of methadone which just creates more problems. The good news is that if a fibromyalgia patient will start the following protocols to get off methadone…these are the same basic protocols for treating Fibromyalgia…
1) Most Methadone clinics are for profit, private enterprises, do you really think they want you off the methadone. The cost of a dose of methadone is about $1.00…what are they charging you?
2) Since all associated therapists and counselors that work the methadone clinics are trained and get their information from the standard medical establishment…do you really think they know the truth…no one is saying that they are not caring individuals--but they don’t know the truth anymore than the people who prescribe the medication to you. If fact most of them think we’re idiots because we doubt and ask questions. The fact is that we do not know the long range effects of methadone on the human body and mind…many are now thinking that the longer you are on the methadone the more profound, and possibly irreversible these changes may be…In fact we don’t know the exact mechanism of action of many psychotropic drugs—just review the Physicians Desk Reference on Prozac…along with the countless other caustic chemicals we insist on putting in the human body.
3) Methadone is one of the most physically dependent medications invented in the 20th century. The reason for this is a) its long half-life (24-36 hours)…b) it is a synthetic morphine, c) the diabolic symptomology associated with withdrawal and the length of the withdrawal symptoms. Methadone, like all opioids creates profound changes to gastrointestinal function… In layman’s terms this means that regardless of the food you eat--absorption of the vital nutrients is impaired. If nutrients cannot be absorbed in sufficient quantities and associated quality…all biochemical pathways in the body are affected negatively. Chronic fatigue, sleeplessness, aches and pains, depression, anxiety, are all signs and symptoms of these deficiencies. Methadone also has profound effects on brain neurotransmitter production and function. It is also known that it creates havoc in what is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis…which accounts for the chronic fatigue. And like all opiates, methadone down-regulates opiate receptors in the human body thus the long lasting aches and pains associated with withdrawal. Methadone withdrawal is particularly insidious because, left untreated; these symptoms can last literally for months. Also the longer you are on methadone the more profound these changes in body and mind function.
4) Regardless of the level you decrease the dose before quitting…you will suffer some level of withdrawal…Frankly, I’ve never been able to discern much difference in the withdrawal intensity between 1 mg or 80 mg…it’s always difficult. The withdrawal is unique to each individual…I’ve had some come off 65 mg or more, and while uncomfortable, hardly seem to break a sweat. Others coming off low doses and be in pure agony. One must treat the individual, not the disease.
Nutritional treatment is essential in the recovery and withdrawal phase of any type of drug or alcohol dependency. To clarify nutritional treatment, consider the following statement:
The body on methadone, or any other mind altering drug or alcohol, is like the house that has been damaged in a storm. If you were repairing the house what building materials would you need? You would need lumber, sheet rock, shingles, and etc for the major supplies…these are the equivalent of the bodies need for protein, carbohydrates, and fats. How would you hold everything together?…nuts and bolts, nails, and screws—these are the equivalent of the bodies need for vitamins and minerals. To make the repairs we need the proper tools to cut the lumber and fit it into place…one would need the saws, the equivalent of the bodies production of enzymes…these are made from the proteins we eat…one can draw analogy after analogy to explain the necessity for nutritional treatment to facilitate one back to health…only one thing needs to be clearly understood…you put back into the body the things it needs to come back to health.
Any nutritional therapy should be adhered to for at least 90 to 180 days regardless of how you feel. Just like it takes time to alter profoundly the body’s biochemistry with drugs…it takes time to repair with proper nutrition. Oral nutrition is best but often is difficult for those in their first week of detox and recovery. Proteins, complex carbs, and essential fatty acids are necessary building blocks for repair and return of proper function of organ systems and brain neurochemistry. Vitamins and minerals are “co-factors and co-enzymes” which work on the building blocks to do repair and rebuilding. Additionally, it is always counter-productive to move from the complex to the simple…my philosophy is to start simple and move to the level of complexity that works for you…remember all patients are unique in the way they process nutrients and in their ability to maximize therapy. For more information on these necessary supplements go to ***edited by moderator*** web addresses not allowed
The following I suggest for those who wish to detox out-patient:
1) Pharmaceuticals: Clonidine 0.1, or 0.2 mg, twice to three times per day. Clonidine is an anti-hypertensive medication that is commonly utilized in opiate withdrawal syndromes. You must come off this medicine slowly—rebound hypertension may occur…especially if you already have high blood pressure…this medication is non-addicting; Vistaril 50-100mg…three times daily…this is a sedating antihistamine which helps with anxiety and sleep…down side is that after 10 days or so it loses its therapeutic efficacy; phenergan 25 mg tab…one every 6 hours for nausea and cramps. I may use these medications on my out/in-patient clients depending on the severity of symptoms. Imodium A/D works well for diarrhea.
2) Intra-Venous Nutritional therapy: In patient or out-patient…typically every day for the first 5-6 days, than every other day until the symptomology has subsided. These nutrient bags can contain proteins, vitamins, electrolytes, and other elements necessary for the body-mind to heal. The advantage of IV therapy is that all essential cofactors bypass compromised gut function. Only when the healing occurs will the symptoms of withdrawal disappear totally. Diarrhea is uncommon in those that receive IV nutrient therapy…but for those not so fortunate, Imodium A-D seems to work well in most. If your are a medical professional and wish I.V. treatment protocols ***this post is edited by moderator *** *** private e-mails not allowed **
3) Oral nutrition: Increase the right proteins!!!! Proteins are the building blocks for neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors…as well as the building blocks for your natural opiate receptors
· For 3 weeks you must remove all red meats from your diet. Red meat has chemical components that increase inflammation and pain. Fish, chicken, eggs are good sources of protein. If you are having a hard time taking in solid foods go to a health food store and buy protein powders that can be made into smoothies or drinks. You absolutely must have increased protein intake…proteins are the building blocks for all enzymes, neurotransmitters, and enzyme receptors in the body. No chemical works in the body without receptors. Just like opioids have to have opioid receptors—which are down regulated during methadone use—this is the reason people have long-lasting pain and aggravation coming off methadone…this isn’t much of a problem with heroin use because of it’s short half-life…proteins are essential for the repair work in recovery…I now use a formulation made by Neuroresearch…their Neuroreplete/D-5 protein formulas works well for those coming off of methadone, methamphetamines and benzodiazepines or any drug for that matter…for more information on this product go to ***edited by moderator*** web addresses not allowed and try to find a doctor close to you that will help you get his product…in fact I treat all my methadone withdrawal patients with this formula
· L-Methionine—a sulfur bearing amino acid…necessary for the production of S-Adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e)…SAM-e is a necessary cofactor in the production of the master neurotransmitters—serotonin, dopamine, adrenalin, and nor-adrenalin…this must be added to any amino acid therapy directed at rebuilding neurotransmitter production and function…500 mg—two twice per day
· Increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables…you get little or nothing from canned foods…fresh fruits and veges are loaded with fiber which help bind and remove toxins from your body…they also normalize gut function
· Stay off candy, and other sugar heavy foods
· Drink lots of good water, green teas are good for the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties…no cokes or soda waters for three weeks
· When capable you must start exercising…swimming is best because it is low impact exercise…yoga…tai chi…walking daily…detoxing or otherwise…exercise is a normal component of good health
Supplements: Some need less and some more…remember the efficacy of all nutrition and supplement use is ultimately guided by your genetics…and we are all different to some degree…This is the value of seeing a good Naturopathic physician in the state you are in…The fact is that very few Medical Doctors know anything about nutrition…70%-75% of the standard medical schools in this country have absolutely no nutritional classes what-so-ever…in the other 25 %--nutrition is often a 14-20 hour block of education and this is commonly an elective…Naturopathic physicians that are educated in a medical school environment are taught nutrition extensively with the associated biochemistry.
· I use the following with all types of drug and alcohol recovery….
· Multivitamin with a strong mineral component: in gel caps only…an excellent quality multivitamin is absolutely necessary…remember that vitamins and minerals are cofactors/coenzymes for repair, healing, and normal function of the body…most times I have patients double up on multivitamins for the first 3-4 weeks
· Mineral complex: see above
· Fish oils, or flax seed oil.: necessary for repair and proper function of cellular membranes…anti-inflammatory…these need to be mixed omega 3, omega 6, omega 9 oils—4000 to 6000 mg per day in split doses…although some can be purchased as liguids and mixed with your smoothies.
· If you don’t do the drinks…get proteins as free amino acids…double up
· L-Glutamine 500mg caps…at least 2000-3000 mg per day…split the dose so that your doing it at least twice per day…helps heal the gut and the building block for GABA…the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter…helps slow things down…Do not take GABA as a supplement…GABA is make in the brain…when out side the brain the molecule is to large to cross the blood brain barrier…the building block for GABA is L-Glutamine or Glutamic acid…these building blocks readily cross the blood brain barrier.
· Valarian Root 450 mg: Botanical that reduces anxiety and helps one to sleep…Kava, Jamaican Dog Wood, Lemon Balm, Avena are all nervine botanicals which can be used together or by self…I find the doses for each individual varies but typically 1000 to 1500 mg every 4 hours.
· Melatonin…dosages vary…this is a hormone released from the pinal gland in the human body at night time for sleep…this is essential for those coming off opioids…in my experience as little as 1 mg to 30 mg has been effective…do what you have to do…I’ve had addicts coming off $100.00 a day habits sleep 4 hours the first night…start low and add 3-5 mg every half-hour till sleep…research on healthy volunteers using up to 100 mg of melatonin in a single dose shows little side effects…Melatonin is also known as a very strong antioxidant with 1000 times the potency as Vit E…Take only at night when you would be going to bed at the regular time…the room must be dark…that’s the way this hormone is released in the natural state…
· Full Spectrum antioxidants: relieves inflammation and helps normalize inflammatory pathways and reduces damaging molecules (free radicals) present in the system while detoxing
· Vitamin C: 2000-3000 mg per day divided doses…
· Reduced L-Glutathione 300mg per day: Helps liver detox metabolites of methadone…Detoxing agents can be found in many products…most in combinations…
· Adrenal Support: Research has shown that methadone, and drug use in general, has profound effects on the adrenal glands. In fact, research shows that there is a profound negative effect by methadone on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This is why those that withdraw from methadone have protracted fatigue and problems with anxiety and insomnia. I often use freeze dried adrenal extracts in treatment with fairly good results. You’ll find these products listed under names such as Adrenal Plus, or Adrenplus…the starting dose is around 1000 mg per day in split doses.
· Milk Thistle with alpha-Lipoic Acid is one combination that I use extensively---for liver repair and detoxification…1200 to 1500 mg of milk thistle and 400 mg of lipoic acid per day in split doses
This is the basics. There is absolutely no way to eliminate all the problems associated with withdrawal from methadone...one must have a supportive environment and often with daily visits from a compassionate health care provider…This will not kill you…it will be a miserable event…what kills most is the movement back to street drugs to ward off the side effects of withdrawal. If fact, cold turkey deaths coming off opioids and methadone are rare and usually associated with other health problems, or overdosing on prescription medications…withdrawal from methadone is much less of a risk than total withdrawal from alcohol. I wish you all luck on this endeavor…My compassion and empathy goes out to you…Ultimately, I know that you can do this…after all…it has to be done.
David Arneson was born on September 22, 1949 in Sidney, Montana. He graduated from Philomath High School in Philomath, Oregon in 1967. He entered the U. S. Army in 1968 and was honorably discharged in 1970. After his Army service, he went to Oregon State University for one year where he majored in Liberal Studies. In 1971 he moved to El Paso and worked for several years in the customer service industry. In 1976 he started his own contracting business to which he sold majority interest in 1992 and the remaining limited interest in 1996. In 1988 he took the opportunity to return to school and entered the University of Texas at El Paso where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1992 with a double major in Biology and Psychology, graduating with Honors. From 1994 to 1996, he continued his education at the University of Texas at El Paso and the El Paso Community College. In 1994 he received the necessary training to be certified by the American Board of Hypnotherapy in clinical and regression hypnotherapy. In 1996 he entered into his medical training at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where he received his Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine in August 2000. From 1988, he has worked in both the volunteer and employee capacity in the field of addiction, as well as with the seriously mentally ill, working extensively with both adult and adolescent populations. Since October of 2000, to July 2002, he served in the capacity of Clinical/Medical Director at the Naturopathic Detox Program, a non-profit 14-28 day residential naturopathic drug and alcohol detoxification facility. Presently, he is Medical Director of The River Source Naturopathic Detox and Treatment Program in Mesa, Arizona. He is currently a part time Clinical Instructor of Naturopathic Medicine at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences where he supervises and trains student doctors in clinical settings. He also maintains a private practice, focusing on treatment of alcoholism, drug dependency, and chronic disease.
Subject: Methadone Treatment from the other side.
If you wish to discuss methadone or other treatment questions, you may only contact Dr. David Arneson at ***this post is edited by moderator *** *** private e-mails not allowed **
Please do not attempt to contact DPEG directly about methadone or other treatment questions
So to all of you that have asked how long it will take and what may work, I know we are all different, but usually a detox of 3 to 5 mgs every couple of weeks can be tolerated until you get down to 20mgs. At that time taper by 1mg every 7 days, that gives your body enough time to adjust to the change with little to know symptoms. I wish the best for all of you out there going thru this. It is very very difficult, but there is not need to suffer physically, the emotional termoil is hard enough. You are all in my thoughts and prayers, and good luck to all of you!!!!