Suboxone Detox and Withdrawal

A person may be offered Suboxone when they decide to become sober and abstain from opioid drugs. But what happens when they stop Suboxone use? Can a person develop an addiction to Suboxone?

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the brand name for buprenorphine, a prescription medication used for detox treatment. It is made up of two components that help to treat opioid dependence, namely buprenorphine and Naloxone. Buprenorphine helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while Naxolone, an opioid antagonist, kicks opioids off of opioid receptors to block its effects.

While people usually take prescription opioids for pain management or as a way of dealing with an opioid use disorder, there is always a chance of developing an opioid addiction to the medication. The body also has to adjust to no longer having the presence of a substance when someone decides to stop the use of opioids. This is when someone experiences severe withdrawal symptoms.

In the case of Suboxone, some people are not using it in the treatment of opioid addiction but obtain it illegally to use when they undergo withdrawal from other drugs such as heroin. Whether Suboxone is used legally or illegally, its use can easily lead to a Suboxone addiction, substance abuse, or an overdose.

What Are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

Around three million US citizens and 16 million individuals worldwide have had or currently suffer from opioid use disorder (OUD). As Suboxone works very well in preventing relapse, it plays a vital role in helping people with OUD.

While Suboxone can ease the withdrawal process, it does come with some side effects. The most prominent side effect is that, despite being a helpful tool for addiction, it may cause addiction itself. Other side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Respiratory problems (shortness of breath)
  • Decreased libido
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and anxiety

Sometimes a person may try to cope with withdrawal symptoms caused by stopping the use of a substance and by incorporating other drugs or alcohol. Alcohol abuse interacts badly with most drugs, whether they are prescribed or over-the-counter medications, causing very dangerous side effects. Mixing Suboxone and other drugs can lead to severe side effects like coma or even death.

How Does Your Body Get Rid of Suboxone?

The majority of Suboxone is metabolized in the liver. It is then excreted as bodily waste, and a part of it (10-30%) is excreted as urine.

There is no short way of instantly removing Suboxone from a person’s body. While the effects of Suboxone can be felt in one day, it remains in the body for much longer. Many factors determine how long the body takes to remove the substance.

It largely depends on a person’s metabolism and the amount of Suboxone that is in the system. Someone who has been using it for a long duration may have a more difficult time trying to get rid of it, and Suboxone may be detectable in their body for a longer time.

Other factors include age, weight, the frequency of suboxone use, the presence or non-presence of other drugs, and a person’s muscle mass versus their fatty tissue. A person’s height and weight determine the amount of fatty tissue they have, and this is where Suboxone is stored in the body. Body composition plays a significant role in how long Suboxone takes to leave a person’s system.

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that 700,000 people in the United States were misusing buprenorphine in 2021. As with most drug addictions, withdrawal symptoms of buprenorphine can make quitting substance use very challenging.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that an attempt to stop it will cause similar withdrawal symptoms to most other opiates.

Abruptly stopping Suboxone or quitting cold turkey is dangerous. Detoxing from Suboxone takes time. Usually, the presence of painful side effects can cause someone to continue use or abuse when they try to give up a drug without medical supervision. Under medical care, withdrawal is manageable and can be done safely, and a medically supervised detox ensures precision and less chance of relapse.

Not only do medical professionals have experience in addiction medicine, but medical intervention also places a person in contact with therapists who can support them in ongoing recovery. Once a person has beaten the physical dependence on opioids, another element of addiction remains. This is the psychological side of withdrawal.

Withdrawal can cause underlying mental health problems to come to the surface, so a person may need emotional support as they go through detox. A medication-assisted treatment plan may include treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or other forms of support.

Physical Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal

Some people have described the withdrawal as being similar to flu-like symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may vary in intensity and duration according to how much of a substance was used and the duration of use. Physical signs include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Indigestion
  • Lack of energy or enthusiasm
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Concentration difficulties

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms are a big part of why relapses occur. Relapses are often common in the recovery process as a range of mental health problems may have been muted by drug abuse, and will come forward during withdrawal.

Psychological symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Drug craving
  • Mood swings

How Long Does Suboxone Withdrawal Last?

Compared to most opioids, Suboxone remains in the body for longer and also takes longer to act in the body.

The Suboxone detox process and Suboxone withdrawal are known to last longer than other opioids as it is chemically built to stop cravings for a long time. As Suboxone is a long-lasting drug, withdrawal symptoms do not set in rapidly and do not fade rapidly either. Hence, the time of an opioid withdrawal syndrome can be extended and Suboxone withdrawal can be more difficult than withdrawal from other opioids.

A Suboxone withdrawal timeline will vary from person to person, but usually, most physical withdrawal symptoms will fade after one month, while psychological aspects may remain much longer.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Suboxone?

Detoxing from a substance use disorder is challenging, as the body attempts to return to a healthy or natural state by metabolizing chemicals until they are missing. The length and severity of the addiction will help determine the length of a Suboxone detox. More duration or severity means a longer detox.

Some people may experience withdrawal symptoms only for one to two weeks, while others may endure longer periods. A comprehensive detox treatment plan designed by a medical professional will give a person a clearer time indication for detoxing from Suboxone.

In general, physical symptoms peak in the first four days, while after one week, people may still experience muscle aches, insomnia, or mood swings. Between two and four weeks into a Suboxone detox, a person will start to experience psychological withdrawal symptoms. Here, a therapist will be needed.

Treatment for Suboxone Addiction

Luckily, there is help for overcoming substance abuse problems or an addiction to Suboxone. 

It starts with professional medical advice. A treatment center can provide someone with various treatment options and design a comprehensive treatment plan. There are key factors in recovery treatment that ensure its effectiveness, and therapeutic intervention is one of the most critical elements that are provided by treatment facilities.

Experienced and licensed medical professionals who specialize in addiction treatment will help a person in detoxing from Suboxone, while mental health services will support them in dealing with the damages the drug addiction has caused. A drug detox program will address opioid dependency and integrate therapy into an individualized treatment plan so that a person has the best chance of achieving sobriety and maintaining it after drug abuse.

Substance abuse treatment includes a long-term plan, where there is a focus on preventing future relapse. That means that a person may undergo various kinds of therapies while at a treatment center.

Talk therapy plays a very important role in relapse prevention, as it can help a person uncover the reasons for starting drug use in the first place. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will provide someone with tools and skills so that they may identify triggers causing relapse, and know how to respond to them in healthy ways. Behavioral therapy can teach someone coping mechanisms so that they can live free of opioid dependence after treatment is completed.

Apart from improving behavioral health conditions, other ways to prevent relapse include holistic therapies. This approach uses alternative therapies, such as exercise, meditation, or massage therapy as part of healing.

Addiction treatment often includes the family as it is a big part of support in achieving and maintaining sobriety. Family therapy ensures that a family unit expresses and addresses issues concerning addiction and can thereby support a person who is trying to abstain from drug use.

Group therapy and support groups are also used to treat opioid addiction. Here, a person is surrounded by other members who are abstaining and undergo challenges of their own. A person not only develops empathy but also a sense of community and peer support, elements crucial to preventing relapse.

Where Can I Find a Treatment Facility?

At NP Addiction Clinic, we understand that overcoming an addiction can be very challenging. That is why we have a specialist team that can make your recovery as painless as possible.

While starting with a Suboxone detox, our state-of-the-art residential treatment program can be tailored to your individual needs, and our experienced and professional staff will ensure you receive the highest standard of care.

We care about sobriety beyond a treatment plan, which is why our programs adopt a holistic approach, ensuring both mental and physical health while addressing addiction simultaneously.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine