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Can Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms Be Fatal?

The severity of withdrawal for any substance depends on many factors, including the length and depth of addiction, the individual’s personal health and more. The more serious the methadone use, the worse the withdrawal. Because withdrawal symptoms and severity are unpredictable, patients should always undergo detox in a medically-supervised place. Those attempting detox on their own could face frightening and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Common symptoms of methadone withdrawal include the following:

  • Flu-like symptoms including runny nose, sneezing, fever, chills, tearing and lightheadedness
  • Nausea, vomiting and or diarrhea
  • Aches and pains in the joints or muscles
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Fatigue, exhaustion and insomnia
  • Panic attack, anxiety and agitation
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide1

A clear indication that you have become dependent on methadone is if you try to quit — or even
accidentally miss a dose or two — and experience any of the above symptoms, it’s time for help.

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The Importance of Getting Clean from Methadone

Woman Clutching Stomach On CouchGetting clean is imperative because the long-term effects of methadone use are incredibly harmful and can involve permanent damage, even death. Methadone is a tolerance-building drug, so people who use it long-term are likely to develop an addiction, as they will continually need more and more of the drug to feel the same desired effects.

Addiction, although a physically reality, inevitably affects many more areas of life negatively — damaged relationships, neglected responsibilities, unemployment, dropping out of school, financial troubles among others. A methadone addiction changes the way people think, act and behave so that the addiction influences all decisions.

Other dangers of long-term methadone use include the following:

  • Overdose: Fatality rates are high with methadone overdose, especially when long-term users increase their doses or combine it with different drugs.
  • Heart complications: The sedating effects of methadone lower heart and breathing rates, which can result in a coma or death. Other possible consequences include valve disruption, heart deterioration, infection and heart failure.
  • Sedation: While on methadone users will feel drowsy and have altered sensory perceptions. This sedation can be dangerous to everyday activities, like driving, which may lead to accidents, injury or fatalities.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Long-term use can cause kidney problems, urinary retention, nausea, chronic constipation and other digestive issues.
  • Tooth decay

Although these potential consequences of methadone abuse are frightening, help is available through caring and effective treatment.

What Are My Options for Quitting Methadone Safely?

The safest, most effective way to quit methadone is with medically-supervised detox followed by
psychotherapy to better understand yourself and your addiction in order to stay sober. Benefits of professional treatment include the following:

  • Quitting methadone too quickly can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
  • Without help, withdrawal can be too painful to handle, and many people relapse.
  • Professional detox services help minimize withdrawal symptoms.
  • Recovery professionals monitor patients 24 hours a day to ensure safety and comfort.
  • Experienced recovery professionals can help make the process as short as possible.
  • Professional detox and treatment offer the best chance for long-term recovery success.
  • Professional treatment works to heal the underlying issues of addiction as well any co-occurring disorders or issues.2

Recovery professionals seek to treat the person, not the addiction, which gives you a better chance at long-term recovery.

Find Safe Recovery Options for Methadone Use

Skywood signIf you are ready to quit using methadone, we can help you find the safest and most effective options when it comes to detox, treatment and recovery. Please call our toll-free, 24-hour helpline now to speak with an admissions coordinator who can assist you with your recovery search.

Recovery professionals are available right now to answer all your questions, offer information and to provide assessment and intervention services. We are dedicated to finding quality recovery solutions for all patients, so if you are ready to start your recovery journey, please call 269.280.4673 today.

By Becca Owens, Contributing Writer


1 Going Through Methadone Withdrawal.”, Accessed September 26, 2018.

2 Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, January 2018.