When it comes to treating opiate addiction, there are a variety of treatment options with some being more effective than others. Regardless of the prescribed treatment, however, detox will be an essential part of the recovery process. However, if a treatment is going to be effective, the client has to be free of the substance that they are addicted. Needless to say, this is a scary proposition for most clients as “coming clean” often entails a period of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. To make this process easier, however, medically assisted detox is usually prescribed. In this article, we will detail the benefits of Suboxone in the recovery process and the withdrawal symptoms that may result from prolonged use.
WHAT IS SUBOXONE?
For those that are not familiar with Suboxone, it is an addictive opiate comprising of buprenorphine and naloxone. This prescription medication is useful in resolving addiction cravings and easing the withdrawal symptoms that come with abruptly ending the misuse of opiate drugs. Now that we have a general understanding of Suboxone, let’s take a closer look at the two medication that makes it the recovery drug of choice for most treatment facilities, buprenorphine and naloxone.
- Buprenorphine – In understanding this medication, it helps to also understand how opiates affect the body. When opiates become attached to receptors in the brain, it stimulates dopamine, one of the brain’s main neurotransmitters. This process results in an incredible sense of euphoria that makes opiates highly addictive. Buprenorphine works by attaching to the same receptors in the brain; however, it does not produce the same high as opiates. Instead, it resolves cravings and symptoms while blocking harmful opiates from attaching to the same receptors.
- Naloxone – The role of this medication is to mitigate the patient’s likelihood of becoming addicted to Suboxone. Naloxone works by deactivating the brain’s opioid receptors, which causes an immediate withdrawal effect. Of course, if Suboxone is taken as prescribed, naloxone has little to no effect on the patient.
WHEN TAKING SUBOXONE
Because Suboxone is a prescription medication, it must be prescribed by a licensed physician, preferably in a controlled environment, namely a drug treatment facility. Once prescribed, the treating physician will monitor the patient to make sure the prescribed dosage is working effectively; he or she will also increase or decrease the dosage as needed. Is Suboxone safe? If taken properly, this medication is not only safe but also effective. However, if taken incorrectly, it can be highly addictive, and if a patient abruptly stops taking it, the withdrawal symptoms are comparable to that of any other opiate in that they will experience the following symptoms:
- Body aches
- Vomiting and nausea
- Anxiety and depression
- Profuse sweating
- Fever and chills
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU TAKE SUBOXONE?
Suboxone is not intended to be taken for very long; it is prescribed as a means of easing withdrawal and cravings associated with the misuse of other opiates. That said, a physician will routinely evaluate the patient and work towards tapering the dosage until the patient is completely off of the medication and free of their opiate addiction.
SUBOXONE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
As noted throughout this article, Suboxone is an extremely addictive medication; in fact, it has caused some people to, in effect, trade one addiction for another one. The physical symptoms that come with withdrawing from Suboxone can last for as long as 72 hours, but there is no data that indicates how long patients will have to endure the psychological dependence. After being off of Suboxone for a week, the symptoms will start to dissipate; however, the cravings will likely still persist and bouts of depression should be expected.
Needless to say, this is a time where the probability of relapse is at its highest. All in all, it can take months to be completely free from the effects of Suboxone withdrawal; that said, the probability for success depends largely on the individual and the treatment facility that he or she is has joined. It also helps to have the support of friends and family. If you or someone you know needs help overcoming addiction, consider speaking with one of our friendly and compassionate counselors today at 833-762-3739.