Dealing With and Overcoming Suboxone Addiction
Addiction to opioids is a rampant issue in our world today, and the fact that it can be so difficult to overcome makes the problem even more of a challenge to deal with. While some people are able to successfully wean themselves off these drugs or quit with the help of a rehab program, those methods don’t necessarily work for everyone. In some cases, people trying to overcome their dependence on opiates need the help of a separate substance, which is when medications like Suboxone are typically prescribed.
While Suboxone can be very helpful for some people with serious opioid addictions, using it comes with a cost of its own. Suboxone, which is a mix of the two drugs buprenorphine and naloxone, is also very addictive. So, in a sense, using the medication to stop taking traditional opiates is trading one addiction for another. And when someone becomes dependent on regularly taking Suboxone, Suboxone detoxification is often needed to help them truly complete their recoveries.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is the brand name for the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that is often used as a detox treatment for opiate addiction. Suboxone is a controlled substance classified as Schedule III, meaning it can only be prescribed by medical professionals with special training and certification. Per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), drugs with a Schedule III classification are defined as having moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.
How Is Suboxone Prescribed?
Most commonly, Suboxone comes in the form of a dissolvable film that can be placed underneath the tongue or between the cheek and gums. Some generic versions of the drug can also be prescribed as a tablet to be taken orally. There are four dosages in which Suboxone and its generic forms are typically prescribed:
- 12 mg buprenorphine/3 mg naloxone
- 8 mg buprenorphine/2 mg naloxone
- 4 mg buprenorphine/1 mg naloxone
- 2 mg buprenorphine/0.5 mg naloxone
How Does Suboxone Work?
By combining buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone creates a unique effect that makes it a popular choice for opiate detoxification. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it binds to the brain’s opioid receptors while only activating some of them. Buprenorphine reduces the craving and withdrawal symptoms in people with opiate addictions, but it doesn’t produce the euphoria or “high” feeling that is caused by other drugs.
Naloxone, the other drug found in Suboxone, is an opioid antagonist, meaning that it’s able to block the effects of opioids on the brain. Because of naloxone’s inclusion in the medication, those taking Suboxone do not have the option of taking other opiates to feel high or experience euphoria.
So, when combined in Suboxone, buprenorphine and naloxone eliminate the cravings and withdrawal symptoms in people with opiate addictions. At the same time, Suboxone helps prevent opiate relapses by blocking the positive feelings that an opioid addict may desire. For these reasons, Suboxone can be an effective measure for opiate detox when used properly and in the right context.
Suboxone for Opiate Detoxification
For some people battling opioid dependency, Suboxone detoxification can be a very successful method for overcoming their addictions. However, because Suboxone can also be both physically and psychologically addictive, it isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone, and it must be approached carefully as a detox measure. Here, we’ll take a closer look at how Suboxone is typically used to help people recover from addictions to opiates.
How Is Suboxone Used?
Typically, Suboxone will be prescribed by a doctor when someone with an opiate dependency has had significant trouble overcoming the cravings or withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping the drug. This can apply to people dependent on drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other addictive opiates. The person will generally start taking daily doses of Suboxone within 12 to 24 hours of halting their typical opioid usage.
Once someone starts taking Suboxone, it immediately becomes much easier to stop taking the other drugs because the most intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms quickly disappear. In most cases, the prescribing doctor will monitor the person’s results and progress closely while taking the medication. Based on the specific person and how they respond to the detox, the plan is usually to have them take Suboxone for a relatively short amount of time before strategically weaning off it.
For Suboxone treatment to be most effective, it usually needs to be paired with other recovery methods, such as therapy and other mental health services. That way, when the Suboxone usage ends, the person is mentally and emotionally equipped to stay off opiates and to continue progressing with their recovery.
The primary issue with using Suboxone for opiate detoxification is that a dependence on Suboxone itself can commonly develop over time. For this reason, doctors will often avoid keeping their clients on the medication for too long and will always advise gradually weaning off it. If you’re taking Suboxone for several months or years, it can make it much more difficult to stop taking it. Additionally, if you attempt to stop taking Suboxone too quickly, it’s very likely to result in withdrawal symptoms, which are typically very similar to those of standard opiate withdrawal.
These are some of the most common symptoms people will experience when dealing with withdrawal from Suboxone:
- Muscle aches
- Fluctuating body temperature
- Restless leg syndrome
The likelihood of experiencing these symptoms as well as the level of their severity can be greatly reduced by carefully tapering off the medication. For example, the prescribing doctor may have you gradually reduce your daily dosage once every week or few days until you’re comfortable stopping the medication. In some cases, you may even take the medication every other day for a while before halting completely.
In some cases, it can become necessary for people to partake in Suboxone detoxification programs after using the medication to overcome opiate addiction. This measure is most commonly needed for people who have taken Suboxone for prolonged periods. Those people typically have a much harder time weaning off the drug and are much more likely to develop significant withdrawal symptoms. Although Suboxone withdrawal is not known to cause dangerous symptoms the way that withdrawal from heroin or alcohol can, it can still be extremely unpleasant and challenging to get through.
To help clients who are attempting to get past Suboxone dependence, there are clinics all over the United States offering Suboxone detoxification programs. One great example of this is White Light Behavioral Health in Columbus, OH. Generally, these Suboxone detox programs focus on addressing the physical withdrawal effects as well as the psychological cravings.
When you’re dealing with withdrawal from Suboxone, it’s not recommended that you try to handle it on your own. Not only can the physical symptoms be miserable, but the psychological symptoms can be extremely challenging as well. By participating in a Suboxone detox program, you can reduce your chances of relapse and improve your chances of successful recovery.
Suboxone detoxification programs provide you with several major advantages, including structure and support for dealing with the psychological and behavioral symptoms of addiction. When you’re a client of one of these programs, the specialists there will typically design an addiction treatment plan that’s specifically suited to your needs and individual situation. This plan will often include counseling services like cognitive behavioral therapy, which can provide you with the tools and coping mechanisms you need to successfully overcome your Suboxone dependence.
The other main benefit of a Suboxone detoxification program is that it can provide you with a safe space while you’re going through a challenging time. While you’re at the clinic, you’ll have professional and compassionate support to help you avoid relapse and deal with any medical emergencies or complications from withdrawal.
Is Suboxone Treatment an Effective Method for Opiate Detoxification?
For many people dealing with opiate dependence, Suboxone treatment can be a lifesaver. When trying to stop taking drugs like heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opiates, the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms can be miserable and extremely difficult to handle. And in many cases, having the opportunity to take a medication like Suboxone can make all the difference in a person’s opiate recovery. However, Suboxone treatment isn’t necessarily right for everyone, and like most medications, it has its pros and cons.
Advantages of Suboxone Treatment
The biggest advantage of Suboxone treatment is that it can immediately relieve you of cravings and other opiate withdrawal symptoms. When compared to quitting opioids cold turkey, the difference can be staggering in terms of how you feel both physically and mentally. There’s also the fact that because buprenorphine is only a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone does not invite abuse. According to Harvard Health, taking Suboxone causes much less euphoria than other opiates, and the medication is not frequently misused.
Another advantage of Suboxone is that it’s typically pretty accessible for most people. Although it does need to be prescribed by a specialist, it is more accessible than other detox drugs like methadone. Oftentimes, people dealing with opiate addictions have difficulty seeking out help, and the accessibility of a treatment option can make a major difference.
Disadvantages of Suboxone Treatment
The main disadvantage of Suboxone as a treatment for opiate addiction is the fact that users can develop a dependence on it. When someone takes the medication for a long time, there’s a good chance that getting off it will be a challenging process. There’s also the fact that some people can misuse Suboxone or simply use it as a crutch without truly committing to recovery. If you take Suboxone without putting in the work to address the behavioral aspects of your opioid addiction, it may be difficult for you to continue your recovery once you’ve stopped taking the medication.
What Can You Expect After Suboxone Detoxification?
Once you’ve managed to successfully detox from Suboxone, your path to recovery will still be ongoing. At that point, you’ll have gotten through many of the hardest parts, but it will be important that you stay committed to improving yourself. If you want to be successful and avoid relapses, your best bet will be to continue partaking in counseling services of some kind. Whether it be group therapy or one-on-one counseling sessions, it’s important that you continue to address the mental aspects of your addiction.
The psychological effects of addiction tend to be long lasting, and there will still be challenges to overcome after you’ve detoxed from opiates and Suboxone. However, if you’re willing to continue putting in the time and effort, there’s no reason you can’t keep up your progress while maintaining a happy, healthy, and functional life.
White Light Behavioral Health
If you’re seeking a quality clinic for a Suboxone detoxification program, White Light Behavioral Health in Columbus, OH is an excellent choice. We provide professional and compassionate care that caters to your personal needs and gives you the tools to find success in recovery. With our clinic, you’ll find a healthy and safe environment to work through your recovery process and move forward with an improved outlook on life.