There are many drugs to which people can become addicted. Although many of them are illicit substances, there are also a number of drugs that were legally created and intended to help people or be beneficial in some way such as with painkillers and other forms of medication. Many times people associate addiction with alcohol or street drugs like heroin and crystal meth, but street drugs are only some of the many substances to which many individuals have become addicted. It’s the alcohol, street drugs, and misuse substances that are responsible for rates of addiction that have reached epidemic level-proportions.
It’s not uncommon for a substance that appears to be safe and beneficial to end up being highly addictive and dangerous. In fact, individuals are sometimes surprised by the substances and even behaviors that can potentially be addictive. However, of the many addictive substances that exist, opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers are widely considered to be the most concerning. In fact, many sources consider opioid drugs to be the worst and the most highly addictive, which would suggest that they’re also the most difficult addictions to overcome. As such, researchers and healthcare professionals have sought more effective ways of helping individuals suffering from opioid addiction to overcome this deadly disease, including creating medications that are meant to treat symptoms of addiction. Suboxone is one such drug that is most familiar as the substance commonly used in addiction treatment programs, but it’s been suggested that suboxone is equally as addictive as the opioids it was designed to replace, even causing withdrawals among those who have become dependent. Therefore, the following will define Suboxone, explaining how individuals could become dependent on the drug as well as the Suboxone detox process.
What is Suboxone?
Many who have received addiction treatment before or have a relative who’s been through some form of treatment will be familiar with a pharmaceutical called Suboxone as it’s very frequently used in various types of addiction treatment programs, particularly those that target heroin and painkiller addictions. There are other medications that are similar to Suboxone in that that contain buprenorphine, but Suboxone is actually composed of two substances: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is the compound that’s proven especially useful in the treatment of opioid addiction as it’s a partial opioid agonist. When taken in place of an opioid, users are able to satisfy the same need they had for heroin or painkillers, but without experiencing the euphoria and high that they would by taking illicit opioids. In fact, buprenorphine puts what’s effectively a ceiling on one’s opioid use; if an individual were to attempt to use heroin or painkillers while taking buprenorphine, the individual would experience no effects from them since buprenorphine is occupying all of his or her opiate receptors in the brain. As such, medications containing buprenorphine are a favorite for opioid recovery treatments as they inhibit the effects of other opioids while satisfying an addict’s craving and preventing him or her from experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
However, Suboxone also contains naloxone in addition to buprenorphine. Rather than being a partial opioid agonist like buprenorphine, naloxone is a full opioid agonist, which means that it not only blocks the effects of opioids, but effectively reverses them. The main reason that Suboxone contains naloxone is to discourage or prevent the misuse of Suboxone. If an individual were to try to administer Suboxone intravenously in an effort to experience a euphoria or attempt to abuse heroin or painkillers while taking Suboxone, the naloxone in the medication will block the effects of the opioids and potentially induce immediate withdrawal symptoms as the individual’s body begins rejecting and expelling the heroin or painkillers. Although effective on its own, Suboxone is infrequently used without being combined with other forms of addiction treatment such as counseling and psychotherapy, which address the underlying issues of one’s substance abuse.
The Danger of Suboxone Addiction
Even though Suboxone is meant for the treatment of opioid addiction and contains measures that make it resistant to misuse, individuals who take Suboxone as a maintenance drug as part of a replacement therapy program will inevitably become dependent on Suboxone — physically as well as psychologically — in a similar manner as they had been dependent on heroin or opiate painkillers prior to when they began taking Suboxone. If such an individual were to abruptly stop taking Suboxone, he or she would begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms in much the same way as they would while addicted to heroin or painkillers. In order to stop taking Suboxone successfully without experiencing withdrawal symptoms, one must essentially be weaned off the substance via a very slow or incremental taper, which will afford him or her the opportunity to adjust to smaller and smaller amounts of buprenorphine in his or her system without triggering any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This must be done under professional supervision in order to ensure that an individual’s taper isn’t too abrupt; in some instances, tapering off Suboxone may take many months or even a couple years in order to avoid post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which is a form of withdrawal that can occur and continue long after an individual has gotten sober.
Although many physicians favor Suboxone because of the very minimal high it offers, the drug does still offer a small level of euphoria when misused. However, regardless of whether individuals are misusing or dependent due to prolonged Suboxone maintenance, addiction to Suboxone can occur with the most common signs being comparable to those of other opioid addictions, including respiratory depression, severe drowsiness or difficulty maintaining consciousness, and so on. Moreover, Suboxone addiction has shown to cause poor coordination, erratic behavior, and mood, very small pupils, poor memory, and slurred speech.
Suboxone Withdrawal & Detoxification
As is the case with any other substance to which an individual becomes dependent, abruptly ceasing one’s Suboxone use without a sufficient taper will inevitably induce withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal include body aches, anxiety, intense opioid cravings, sweating and hot flashes alternating with cold chills, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and depression. Fortunately, for individuals who are physically, psychologically, and/or physiologically dependent on Suboxone, there are Suboxone detox programs available to help individuals break their dependency safely without risking their well-being and while experiencing minimal discomfort.
During detoxification, individuals often experience a flood of intense emotions since they’re no longer numbing themselves with substance abuse. Between these intense emotions and the risk to one’s health and well-being, individuals addicted to Suboxone or other substances are encouraged to detox in a medical detoxification program so that their symptoms can be monitored and appropriately treated. In order to address the underlying causes and contributors of one’s addiction, it’s essential for individuals to participate in therapy and counseling, which helps to reinforce newfound sobriety and safeguard from future relapses. Additionally, counseling affords those addicted to Suboxone with a means of addressing and psychological or emotional unrest they may be experiencing, whether it pertains to their Suboxone addiction or not.
The Palm Beach Institute is Here to Help You Get Sober
Like the many other substances to which individuals can become addicted, Suboxone can be highly effective when used correctly by professionals while also being incredibly harmful when misused. It’s essential that individuals suffering from Suboxone addiction, or any other type of chemical dependency, seek professional assistance and treatment for addiction in order to overcome this debilitating disease. If you or someone you love would benefit from learning more about the recovery process, the Palm Beach Institute is here to help. For a free consultation and assessment, call us today at 855-960-5456 to speak with one of our caring, knowledgeable recovery specialists.