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Methadone Tapering, Are You Ready to Taper? Take this 10 Question Quiz to Find Out.

Updated on October 28, 2008

Are you ready to get off methadone? It can be a tough road, and unless you're in a pretty strong mental "place" you may be putting yourself at unnecessary and premature risk for a relapse back to opiate abuse.

You gotta' want it pretty bad, and you have to want it for yourself! That's the number one cardinal rule of an opiate taper, cause if you are doing it for anyone or anything else; you have a terribly low chance of achieving long term sobriety.

The statistics are pretty sobering as well. Basically, if you are on methadone and doing well with it, you should think hard about whether getting off is worth the risk. Basically, once you start your slow withdrawal off of methadone your odds of a relapse skyrocket.

Sometimes though, you just want to get it over with. You've had enough of the daily ritual and the side effects and you're feeling strong and ready. Sometimes, it's just feels like the right time.

But is it?

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to help you determine if you truly are ready to make a break from methadone.

  1. Are you staying clear of all illicit drugs or alcohol? Are you still looking for a high?
  2. Do you have a job, or are you a student?
  3. Is your family or home situation stable, sober and supportive?
  4. Do you have a strong peer support group of non-using friends? (Can you count on them?)
  5. Does your doctor agree that you are ready to taper?
  6. Do you feel mentally strong and physically healthy?
  7. Do you want to get off methadone?
  8. Are you avoiding using friends or "trigger" places?
  9. Are you on a relatively low dose of methadone?
  10. Have you found a beneficial form of counseling or other support?

The more yes answers you have, the more ready you are for an attempt at a methadone taper.

You don't want to go through the effort and risks of a methadone withdrawal until you are truly ready. Get you’re life fully back on track and get the sober support you'll need. Get physically and mentally healthy and get into an environment that minimizes your exposure to temptation. Take it slow, and taper slow – you can do it!

There is little benefit in rushing through the methadone taper. The greater the discomfort, the greater the risk of relapse - This is going to take some time.


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      Lucy 4 years ago

      For all those out there s ared to taper I was at the cli ic for almost 10 years at 60 mg. One day I woke up and had enough, but remembered how bad my cold turkey detox at 30 mg was which at that time I had only been dosing for 3 months. I can tell anyone who will listen that tapering is a lot easier than cold turkey withdrawls. I mean a lot easier. You will only get 6 hours a night sleep at most, but valerian root and an help. If you don't have a heating pad buy one. Some drugs that were helpful - baclofen a mild muscle relaxer, clonodine- blodd pressure for RLS it did help a little, and most important are low dose Valium and Xanax used only when u have to have them. I would try and find a doctor and tell them you are ready for a clean start, but be honest or they will send u out the door head first. I was lucky and he new I was ready he even gave me tabs for the final jump which made it a breeze. Opiate withdrawl is the most isolating feeling and really most people don't care bc they know that u won't die. However there at those rare gems who will stand by you and if your lucky you may find a good doctor who wants to help, if you do find one hold on to them and most important be honest bc that may be your best shot at getting clean. Just be aware of this bc it blindsided me . After your final jump you won't feel much diff but you will have intense cravings bc on methadone we are so content sitting on our asses, but once clean your mind is running wild and the same old boring things won't appeal to you. Change your habits and find a hobby.good luck my fellow friends

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      Fred 5 years ago

      Ha Ha Crack heads

    • profile image

      Paula 6 years ago

      Four weeks later.... What I learned is that I cannot push the process of getting off of methadone....

      It takes what it takes. It took two weeks to get from 60 mg to 30. It took me 10 days to get comfortable at a new reduction. Once comfortable I reduced again and let required time pass. The goal is to be entirely off by May 1, 2012. That is in five days. I've been at 5 mg for 6 days.

      To anyone who is checking here for support and understanding. My heart goes out to you. Good luck. May I (and you) never have to learn this lesson, ever, ever, ever again.

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      Paula 6 years ago

      I started tapering several weeks ago from 60 mg to 40, now I am trying to get comfortable with 10mg. I want to push this process and don't really know what I am doing. I want off methadone so badly. I am having mild w/d symptoms - except for extreme insomnia and some chills. I want to know what to expect when I stop taking it altogether after another reduction or two. Will I get the leg pains, gastro-distress... or is that only for people who do not taper?

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      Mike 6 years ago

      I was on Methadone for 5yrs. I was around 100mg for most of the time. I decided to come off. I came down 2mg a week. I walked away & have been off Meth for 8yrs. Mild w/d to say the least. I PUT MY MIND TO IT..No sleep was the worst but that's it..No shakes, no sweats, none of that BS..I went to my Dr & he gave me something to sleep for a month..Trust me, if I can do it, you can. I was the biggest junkbox going..

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      mdonewd 6 years ago

      i went from 140mg/day for a year to 45ml in 2weeks with mild-ish wd .. now ill stabalise and go to 30! wish me luck pls

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      noreget 6 years ago

      I have been cleen for three years naw my dose is pretty low naw and my Doc is pushing alittle for me to get off. I have 14 years of heoin I.V us and every thing els under the sun in my past .I love my life Im married have my children back plus two step and one from my husband that puts us at a tootal or 6. I feel strong ,I have a very supportive family around me, I worked the past year but just left to be a stay at home mom and look at on line classes. I m really scared of the statistice my fatherinlaw is a pharmacist and talks about the reality of relaps. Im sick of the sideaffects and the weekly trips to the pharmecie, the hassle to travel and would realy like to be off and not deppendent on anything like methadone but fear the detox its so long iv done tappering and cold turky in past but enden with year of relapses( was not ready)Ihave afamily to care for and don't have months to be flu like but relly want it.What do I do I would realy like some advise from some people who have bean succesful and how did it look how fast,slow how bad.

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      corey 6 years ago

      I've been on methadone for 3 months now, my daily dose is 50mil. I've been at 50mil for 2 months, and have been clean since starting methadone. I was iv-h for 2 years before starting treatment. I really want to start to taper my dose now, have no desire to ever use again. They will grant me an ama (against medical advice) taper, over 120 days. My question is this: "Is 120 days enough time to taper from 50mil, without any withdraw symptoms? " Please answer from experience. Thanks for reading.

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      annie 6 years ago

      I know I shouldn't but I have to: Lady V, learn how to use punctuation. I was interested in what you had to say, but truthfully, after about the 60th word (I cannot say "sentence" as you used no periods) I gave up. Not sure if you were trying to be artistic but if you were not, then here's some advice: if you want people to respect you, to listen to you, to read what you have to have to help them, by making it easy to do so! OK, lecture over. Here's my deal: On Methadone for the second time; first time around was 2 years ago, for Vicodin (good ol' Vicodin!) addiction; anyway, got clean within 4 weeks. Yes, that's right...4 weeks. Started at 25 mls./day methadone, and tapered from there. I don't remember it being bad, at all. However, due to my own weakness, some bad news (HepC diagnosis), chronic back pain, and emotional/"I hate my job so much I wish I could kill my boss" issues (that's OK..he's dead now of cancer and I'm glad); anyway, started right back up. Obviously, too soon. Now the clinic (California/County run) won't even consider anything less than 6 months' treatment, which is great. So I went back 12/27 and have had nothing but success. Started at 25 mls., went to 50, whoa! Way too much...can't be sleeping at my desk..those attorneys don't like that (what more excuse do I need to abuse opioids than to work for attorneys? Har!); anyway, I ended up at 40 mls./day. I get the yawns about 5pm like clockwork (isn't the human body amazing?) but I wait and they go away after 20 minutes. Otherwise, no issues; I feel great, look fine, etc. Maybe this is sad, but the high (no pun intended) point of my day is that I get up early, take my time getting ready to drive to the clinic then to work (pick out clothes - I actually have money again! So can buy clothes - nothing fancy, just Gap/Nana Republic - makeup, etc. cuz then I go to work); I'm fortunate the clinic is just 10 miles south (Bay Area); then I have time for a leisurely drive back North for a little breakfast/reading/mentally get set for my work day. I actually don't like my take-homes...I feel like I'm messing up by not going to the clinic & saying "hi"! I am a creature of habit, for sure. Well, if you've read this far, do me a favor and answer me this: I'd like, in about 5 months, to taper to ZERO. How hard will this be, if I go very slowly, like 2 mls. every week? At 40 mls. now, that will take me about 5 months. I always read horror stories about coming off methadone, how bad withdrawals are, yadda. But again, I don't remember that from last time. Does it matter if I am at such a low dose? I just don't want to feel achy/in pain (I can deal with sleepy/some depression) because that will drive me right back to using. But, if I do this right...can I avoid painful withdrawal? Thanks for sticking through this very long post - verbosity is a work-related hazard! Thanks and let's all be good to ourselves, huh?

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      marcy 7 years ago

      if clean for 6 days off methdone i took 1 10 mil will that put me back to day 1 withdrawls

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      lady vee 7 years ago

      wow where do i start .well im detoxing now off methdone im scard ass hell i was on 155 and im now on 110 i want to really get down to like 65 and stop but do to the fact im in a realtionship and my partner don't know im on meth it is hard and now she just told me that she know she just cant prove it meaning she know how i am u cant assumeshit with me u have to have all the truth hell u got to catch me drink the meth don't say or tell me nothing about u think i am or some one told that they seen me in the meth line getting ready to drink any how it's driving me crazy thati cant be honest with her because im afraid she will leave she once told me if i was ever on meth that she will not be with me we have been together for ten years and i really love her she have cheated on me not once but three times and i for gave her and she has lie befor so i don't understand why she will not forgive me for lie about being on meth .wow i don't know if im more afraid of comeing off the meth or losing her or just telling her te truth.sence i been detoxing i have been ok not really felling bad i mean i think that is good seeming im comeing off of 155ml and im at 110ml i just hope i can get through it and be ok im on a 30 day detox lord knows i hope i don't get in any pain and etc. wow what do i do really want my wife to be supported to me because i need her now.any how all i got is god.

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      Quin M. 7 years ago

      Hi, I am on a very high dose of methadone and have just started to taper. I am scared because of an absolutely horrific tapering off of benzodiazepines (sedatives) a few yrs ago. I was very upset when I had to fly home because the government wing for addictions recovery (AADAC in Alberta Canada)did not seem to know what to do either. I finally got someone working the program to find info on the internet about what was going on. It assured me I was not crazy but in for a terrible ride if I stayed in this program. I got home, talked to a lawyer about my case, and found a woman in England who is a doctor and she informed me that I should have been tapered off over the course of two yrs. AADAC tried 1 week of tapering me and then I went crazy. My point is that, as pathetic as this may sound, doctors are busy and only get the good talk from the pharmaceutical reps.

      Needless to say, I am scared but I am in a wing of government where all they do is a methadone program. They are also lettingme determine at what rate to do the taper. My need to taper is because of extreme constipation and way excessive sweating. No laxative has worked, and I can be without a bowel movement for up to eight days. That is dangerous. I must mention that I started my taper from a very high dose (205 mg).

      Lastly, I have been a person that gave myself over to this program and never failed a urine test. If anyone knows of an absolute cure all for constipation, I would love to know what it is.

      The only irony about methadone, which is not to be discriminated by employers, is that you cannot work at AADAC, the Government drug program, if on methadone. I find that a tad hypocritical. Thanks, Q

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      mel 8 years ago

      I just found this post, and while reading it, REALIZED I WROTE IT!!! I have many nites where I do "normal" things with no memory of them. Thankfully, I "accidently/on purpose?" got caught drunk at clinic one day and am now 64 day sober, FOR REAL, AND now have take-home because my neurologist refused to prescribe benzos for my childhood seizure dosirder 18yr ago while on xanax, so I am now on a low-dose xanax when needed, or when I feel any kind of "aura" or low blood pressure episode- sometimes tough to discern from an epileptic episode. I want to thank the person who responded and I hope you read this update.

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      Lost Girl 8 years ago

      I'm so sad that your family have disowned you and taken your children when you seem so ready to get clean. I also grew up in a well off, educated family and am reeling at the thought that I sank to such a low level.

      I last took heroin almost 2 years ago and the biggest factor in my recovery has been my family. I appreciate that I don't know the whole story and can't really comment on what your parents have done but they (as well as you) can't keep dwelling on the past. By definition, an addict slips into this crazy drug fuelled life, stealing, lying, cheating, doing whatever you need to do just to feel almost OK but to help you move on they need to leave that behind. I lived that life for 10 years, both smoking and IV use of heroin and crack (and, lets face it, anything else I could get my grubby little hands on)and I'm almost off Meth now (down to 12ml from a starting amount of 90ml).

      I know you'll want to do it for your kids but please make sure you're primarily doing this for yourself. IMO there's a danger you'll end up resenting them but like I said, that's just my opinion. If you are going to go it alone (without support from your parents), I so hope you have a decent circle of "drug free" friends or a good Rehab program as NO-ONE warns you about the emotional wreck you become as you near the end of the Meth Program! I can cry for three days straight no problem! I'm from the UK so Medical Bills aren't so much of an issue. If they do stick you on a 30 day detox - please remember it is shit but it DOES get easier. The hardest bit for me (apart from the tears!) is that the rehab program don't seem to know what to do with me. I'm beginning to wonder if they've ever had someone coming off Meth successfully as they can't seem to tell me ANYTHING about what I should or shouldn't be doing, feeling, taking.... I find this really frustrating. And a bit scary! I've been reducing at 2mls per fortnight (for the last 9 weeks) which is hard for 5 days then OK for the remaining 9 days before the next reduction. Last year, while still on 90ml meth, I got a stomach bug which meant I couldn't hold the full dose of meth down. After 3 weeks my Doc said it would be dangerous to keep me on such a high dose and reduced it to 30ml! I'm sure such a rapid drop is unheard of in the rehab world but I had no choice and although it was painful I came out the other side in one piece.

      Someone once quoted this to me: "Keep peace in your heart, let nothing in this world disturb you. All things have an end." Can't think who's meant to have said it but it helps me when things are really grim!

      Good Luck. Please get in touch if you think I can offer any advice. I'll not be offended if you don't!!

    • profile image

      mel 8 years ago

      i want to get off sooooooo bad but mainly b/c i cant get take home b/c im on 2 prescribed benzos (i have a neurological issue + panic disorder), have no cravings, cant imagine ever sticking a needle in my arm again, actually, after only 4 months completely free IV or crack drugs, it seems like it was someone elses life not mine, like i never did those things. i grew up rich and privileged and there was no such thing as drug addicts where i was from (even though like 1/3 of my hs class smoked crack in like 10th grade), and my family has disowned me and stolen my children. i am fighting in court to get them back. i drink heavily (morning to night every day). but have used to illegal drugs in 4 mo. ive gone from 120 to 70 in that time. my urines are all clean for 6 mo. but i still don't have dr permission so i'm ama. so i go slow and BEG for every dose reduction. maybe im not ready to come off, but i sure as hell AM ready to go on vacation with my kids and stay a night with my parents (and kids) without having to make a 2-hr drive to the god forsaken clinic. what to do??????

      my other dilemma, i lost my insurance and owe them $900 which means sooner or later they will put me on 30-day detox, so that's a major factor in my starting to taper.

    • profile image

      Norty 9 years ago

      Great Great Post. 100% true .


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