Suboxone Withdrawal

Category: ,
Author: NP Addiction Clinic
Published: July 5, 2022

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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