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Opioid Treatment Induction: How Will I Feel?

If you’re getting ready to contact a methadone clinic for help with addiction to opiates or heroin, you’re undoubtedly wondering what opioid treatment will be like. The idea of going without your fix makes you nervous, because what if the methadone doesn’t work for you? Questions are natural, and so is anxiety about starting any kind of treatment. Once you start induction, which is the term used to describe your switch from heroin or opiates to methadone treatment, you’ll feel some physical and also emotional changes.

First of all, rest assured that the methadone will work for you, as long as you come to the clinic feeling some of your normal withdrawal symptoms, and as long as you’ve been honest with the clinic staff about anything else you might be using. The idea is to give you enough methadone to take away your cravings and relieve your physical symptoms but not enough to get you high. Methadone is much safer than heroin or other opiates, and it stays in your system longer so that you can experience relief from the physical urges of addiction.

What To Expect With Opioid Treatment

You’ve already read in other material on this website what to expect when you arrive at the clinic. The staff will want to find a level of methadone that keeps you feeling comfortable within 3-5 hours after taking it. They will also want to document that you feel well on that same dose for each of five consecutive days before they know they’ve achieved the right dose level for you.

Most people who take methadone remain comfortable for 24-36 hours. Your body takes that amount of time to eliminate half of the methadone in a given dose. That’s what the doctor means by the methadone half-life. To avoid a build-up of methadone in your system, the doctor will likely keep you at the same dose for 3-5 days to give the dose a chance to work.

You may also feel a bit of stress and worry as you get started. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Taking a walk to get some endorphins going may help your mood.  As your treatment begins, it’s time to think of a plan, because that’s a key component in recovery from addiction to opiates. Your clinic counselor will help you with that; just remember that every step is necessary to get you started on the road to recovery.

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