Is Weaning Off Methadone Something I Can Do On My Own?

Methadone maintenance treatment provides those in recovery with a means for maintaining continued abstinence from opiate abuse while building a drug-free lifestyle. Ultimately, the “maintenance” aspect is a primary goal in this treatment approach.

While the notion of weaning of methadone may seem like something you can do on your own, the weaning process can be risky so it’s important to have the right treatment supports in place.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment

Weaning Off Methadone

Mild depression symptoms may be experienced during methadone withdrawal.

The methadone maintenance treatment approach, also known as MMT, uses methadone as a medication therapy and a series of behavior-based interventions as tools to help recovering addicts overcome the physical and psychological effects of addiction. More often than not, methadone maintenance treatment requires a long-term commitment with treatment duration varying based on the severity of any one person’s addiction.

According to Texas Christian University, a minimum of a year is required in order for MMT to produce long-term results in one’s daily life. In effect, the treatment supports provided through methadone maintenance treatment are vital to a person’s ongoing success in recovery. For these reasons, MMT programs incorporate guidelines to help you wean off methadone once your ready.

Call our helpline at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) to see if your insurance will help pay your rehab costs.

Weaning Off Methadone through Tapering

While it may seem simple enough to wean off methadone on your own, guessing at dosage amount reductions from day-to-day leaves you wide open for unexpected withdrawal and cravings effects, not to mention the potential for relapse. For these reasons, methadone maintenance treatment programs include a tapering phase as a standard part of the treatment process.

During the tapering phase, your physician gradually reduces daily dosage amounts down to zero. As dosage levels are tapered very slowly, the tapering phase can last anywhere from three to six months in duration.

Withdrawal Effects

While weaning off methadone, it’s likely you’ll experience some degree of withdrawal as the brain and body adjust to decreasing dosage amounts. According to the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, withdrawal effects tend to develop more slowly with methadone than with other opiate-based drugs, such as oxycodone and heroin.

Symptoms to watch our for include:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Body aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild drug cravings
  • Mild depression symptoms

How Do You Get Off Methadone?

Relapse Risks

As methadone’s therapeutic effects works to eliminate withdrawal and drug cravings effects, weaning off methadone should not be attempted until you’ve developed the habits and coping skills needed to sustain a drug-free lifestyle. Otherwise, the potential for relapse runs extremely high.

As part of the MMT tapering phase, behavior-based interventions will likely focus on honing your coping skills by helping you develop relapse prevention strategies for times when the urge to use seems overwhelming.

Treatment Supports

The likelihood of experiencing strong withdrawal effects runs highest towards the end of the tapering phase. During this time, it’s important to have needed treatment supports in place to prevent an untimely relapse episode.

Treatment supports to consider include:

If you or someone you know are considering methadone maintenance treatment and have more questions, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addiction specialists.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.