Coming off and staying off opiates is very difficult and can be complex: there is another handbook in this series - The Detox Handbook - which looks in detail at the whole issue of coming off opiates.

How and why you want to detox and what you expect at the end are things well worth talking over, at length, with your drug worker and/or doctor.

Most people find it takes about four days to get over the worst of the withdrawals when they first drop to a lower dose, but it can take up to 14 days. After any opiate detox poor sleep and feeling low can last for months the causes may not all be chemical - talking to your doctor/drug worker may help.

If you use heroin during a detox your chances of staying drug free afterwards are not good. If you want to get off heroin stop using at the start of the script or detox - if that isn't the right time it will be hard to find a better one.

Each time you take a drop in dose on a long detox or throughout a quick one, there are several things you can do to help make the adjustment easier:

If you can, plan to take it easy for a few days after each drop

Keep things as stress-free as you can

Look after yourself - stay warm, eat well and drink plenty of alcohol-free fluids

To be sure you are getting an accurate dose when you need to measure small amounts, ask your pharmacist for an oral syringe

Don't keep an emergency supply because if you do you'll only find emergencies!

Detoxing isn't just about withdrawals. You will probably be wondering what life will be like without methadone. There will be changes - methadone tends to flatten out highs and lows in life so you will probably find that feelings are more intense than you've been used to. It can feel strange not having it there as things crop up and you will probably find yourself wondering how you'll cope.

people rarely end a detox as a completely different n - it is still the same you underneath! Great are possible but they involve more than ing taking methadone. Detoxing isn't the end staying off is harder than getting off.

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