There are a few different ways to treat opioid addiction, one being a medication-assisted detox. While this can be very effective, it can also come with its own unique issues.

In some cases, a person could become addicted to suboxone itself. When they eventually stop taking suboxone, they will experience some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Opiate addiction can be detrimental to people and their families. Addiction recovery can seem like a very daunting task, but with the right support, a person can make a full recovery.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a type of addiction medicine. It is comprised of two other drugs: naloxone and buprenorphine. As the symptoms of opiate withdrawal can be incredibly challenging and sometimes life-threatening, a medically-assisted detox can ease these symptoms.

How Does Suboxone Work?

Opiate drugs like heroin and morphine are opioid agonists. This means when they are ingested, they give a rewarding experience by blocking the pain receptors in the brain. This is why many people become addicted to opiates; they create an ‘opiate effect’, or feelings of extreme pleasure.

How suboxone counteracts this is because it’s a type of drug known as an opioid antagonist. An antagonist like suboxone will block the opioid receptors, meaning the cravings for the opiates will be greatly reduced. It also works to minimize the withdrawal symptoms.

A common drug used in medically-assisted detox is methadone. However, suboxone is now more commonly used for medical detox due to it being less addictive. It is common for a person struggling with opiate addiction to become addicted to the medical detox drug, but suboxone has fewer psychological symptoms than methadone.

Suboxone comes in two different forms: a tablet or a sublingual film. It is most commonly prescribed as a tablet, however, some patients prefer to take the film. The film is preferred by some as it is easier to decrease the dose over time as the person heals from their addiction.

Suboxone is very effective as medical detox, but it should not be the only element of a person’s recovery journey. It must be done under the supervision of a medical professional and coupled with other forms of addiction treatment like counseling.

Medication is not for everyone and if a medical detox does not work, there are many alternative therapies to try. A recovery journey is unique to the individual.

Opiate Addiction

Opioid dependence is a very difficult thing for anyone to face and overcome. Recovery is possible and the first step is recognizing the dependency. The most common opiates people become addicted to are heroin, oxycodone, and morphine.

Opiate addiction can sometimes be the result of becoming dependent on prescription painkillers prescribed by a doctor for pain relief. Oxycodone is one of these drugs and if prescribed, it is imperative that the recommended dose is taken for the recommended length of time. Misusing potentially addictive drugs can result in addiction.

If someone has become addicted to prescription opiates, they could seek to illegally obtain the drugs or other opioids such as heroin. Illegally obtaining drugs is dangerous as it raises the likelihood of accidental overdose. If a person has struggled with substance abuse problems in the past, they should inform their doctor of this before being prescribed addictive drugs.

A person who is addicted to opiates may be able to hold down a job and function normally for some time. However, they could have strong mood swings and go to different doctors to try to obtain opiate medication. They may claim to have lost their prescription to get more or engage in other dangerous or risky behaviors.

An addiction to opiates is very powerful and can be difficult to overcome. It can have devastating effects on the person suffering from the addiction and on their family members.

Risk Factors of Developing An Opiate Addiction

Drug addiction can affect anyone, of any age, gender, or race. There are no specific risk factors, but there are some potential indicators. Those who might be at greater risk are people who:

  • Are young (under the age of thirty)
  • Are in difficult economic circumstances
  • Have a family history of drug abuse
  • Engage in risky behavior
  • Have been in legal trouble in the past
  • Frequent environments where drugs are present
  • Have a history of nicotine addiction
  • Have mental health issues
  • Have chronic pain

The link between mental health and substance abuse is undeniable. People who struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety can seek substances that provide temporary relief. This can begin with alcohol abuse and can progress to abusing prescription opiates.

It is no surprise that therapy, such as substance use counseling, can be a very effective method of addiction treatment. Often, the root of addiction is mental health difficulties.

The Dangers of Using Opiates

A person struggling with an opiate addiction may be able to function normally for a while. However, the short and long-term effects can be devastating.

When a person takes opiates over a long period of time, the body adapts to the presence of the substance in the body and stops producing endorphins. Endorphins are the happy chemical that is released when doing a pleasurable activity such as exercise or eating chocolate.

This build-up means that the body develops a tolerance to the dosage of opiates. This tolerance can result in a person needing a higher dose of the opiate to obtain the same ‘opiate effect’ and can result in physical dependence.

Opiate Withdrawal

If someone has developed a physical dependence on a drug, when they stop taking the drug they can experience difficult physical symptoms. These symptoms are known as withdrawal.

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

A person can experience withdrawal symptoms from any drug, but in the case of opiate addiction, these symptoms can be exceptionally difficult. Some of the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal are:

  • Shakes
  • Tremors
  • Inability to sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches and pains
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating

The symptoms are not just physical. The common psychological opioid withdrawal symptoms can be just as difficult. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Drug cravings
  • Extreme emotions

The withdrawal process can be extremely difficult for the person affected and those who love them. Some of the severe withdrawal symptoms, such as heart palpitations, can be life-threatening. This is why it is important to consider an opioid treatment program, rather than attempting to go cold turkey.

Cold Turkey

Cold turkey is a term people use to describe stopping something completely. While going cold turkey may be effective for some people, the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from opiates can be life-threatening. American Addiction Centers do not recommend going cold turkey from opiate withdrawal for this reason.

Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone can be very effective in treating opiate addiction as it directly inhibits opioid receptors. This can stop cravings for the drug and ease withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is made from a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. This means that, to a lesser degree, it activates the opioid receptors in the brain. Combining this with naloxone creates an antagonist known as suboxone.

Suboxone treatment must be done under medical supervision. If not done correctly, a person could develop a suboxone addiction.

Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal

As with any opioid addiction, suboxone use over a prolonged period of time can cause physical dependence. Sudden cessation of the drug can cause withdrawal symptoms. This is sometimes known as opioid withdrawal syndrome. The suboxone withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Cravings
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Inability to focus

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

As the symptoms of suboxone withdrawal can be uncomfortable, a person may wonder how long they will last. It is different from person to person, but in general, it could last up to a month. It is generally found that suboxone withdrawal symptoms peak around two weeks after stopping the drug.

Addiction Treatment

American addiction centers advise that a person suffering from suboxone withdrawal should seek substance addiction treatment. Due to the severe withdrawal effects, attempting to detox unassisted or cold turkey is not advised. There are many treatments for addiction to suboxone and other opioids and you can check the admission process online today.

Relapse Prevention

Many people suffering from opioid use disorders find that a recovery community like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can help them stay away from substance use in the long run. They have confidential helplines if you prefer talking on the phone, or numbers to text if you prefer texting to talking. Substance use can be a lonely path, but finding the right treatment center and community can help you to heal.

NP Addiction Treatment Services

There are many American addiction centers offering substance abuse treatment. Locations vary from state to state so you can find one that is nearest to you.

If you, or a loved one, is struggling with opiate addiction, NP’s Addiction Treatment Services are here to help. The staff at our treatment facilities are certified with the HIPAA badge and here you will find a supportive recovery community.

At our small treatment center, we offer many services to treat addiction, from buprenorphine treatment to holistic therapies. Making the call and going through the admission process is the first step in recovery. We understand it is a big step and a daunting one. At rehab, connect with others going through a similar experience.

The cost of recovery can be a cause for concern for many patients. For this reason, if you have insurance benefits, we will handle all the paperwork and accept all major providers. If you don’t have insurance, you don’t have to worry as we offer alternative financing plans. Check out our website to see our admission process online today. Through admissions, recovery starts.

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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