Methadone Withdrawal –– Is It Really More Painful than Heroin Withdrawal?

Many individuals discourage an attempt at methadone maintenance with the cautionary remark that methadone withdrawal is even more painful than the syndrome associated with heroin. In general, this is untrue, but there is a possibility you may experience some discomfort whenever you choose to detox from methadone. Call 800-891-9360 now if you have been abusing heroin or other opioid drugs and need help.

Withdrawal Symptoms: Short-Acting Opioids vs. Long-Acting Opioids

According to Harvard Medical School, “The intensity of the [opioid withdrawal] reaction depends on the dose and speed of withdrawal. Short-acting opiates tend to produce more intense but briefer symptoms.”

Heroin, a short-acting opioid the effects of which usually only last 4-6 hours, often causes very intense, painful, and uncomfortable symptoms. However, these symptoms will only last a week or so. The symptoms of methadone withdrawal will be less intense than those of heroin, but they may last for several weeks or longer.

Methadone Withdrawal

Methadone withdrawal symptoms may last several weeks or more.

The longevity of methadone’s withdrawal symptoms may point to the reason people tend to believe methadone withdrawal is more painful than the syndrome caused by heroin. Still, both syndromes have their difficulties, and it will be hard to go through either one without the help of treatment and medication.

Should I Still Go on Methadone for Treatment?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states, “Management of [opioid] withdrawal without medications can produce needless suffering in a population that tends to have limited tolerance for physical pain.”

Although methadone does have its own withdrawal syndrome, it is not considered safe for an individual to detox from any opioid (especially heroin) without proper management on an approved medication.

Therefore, it could still be beneficial for you to choose methadone for the treatment of your opioid withdrawal and addiction syndrome.

  • Methadone can help minimize the severity of your heroin and other opioid withdrawal symptoms considerably. Once you have been stabilized, you can often choose to be weaned off methadone or to be maintained on the drug.
  • At any point if you do choose to end your dependence on methadone, you will be taken off the drug slowly so as not to experience the full effects of your withdrawal syndrome.
  • Being treated with some sort of medication during opioid withdrawal is always preferable to going cold turkey, which can often lead to more severe symptoms, unbearable pain, relapse, and (more so than at any other time during recovery) deadly overdose.

You may still choose to go on methadone for the treatment of your opioid withdrawal and addiction, but even if you do not, it is still important to seek care from medical professionals in a safe, reliable treatment environment that provides the necessary accommodations for your recovery. It is also much less painful to experience withdrawal as you are being weaned off a medication than to attempt to give up the drug cold turkey.

Do You Need Opioid Addiction Treatment Now?

Call 800-891-9360 today to find rehab centers that will provide you with the safest, most effective treatment plan for your specific situation. Put an end to your opioid abuse for good and start your recovery today.

Coping with the Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms


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