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 process to detox from Suboxone.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is an opiate narcotic pain reliever that is commonly used in medical detoxification situations for those who are detoxing from opiates such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, codeine, methadone, and heroin. Suboxone is similar in chemical structure to heroin, morphine, and codeine, but it does not provide the same euphoria that those drugs provide. Suboxone is used in detox situations to lessen the withdrawal symptoms from opiate abuse. However, suboxone can be is overused and subsequently abused and if a person ceases use of suboxone and goes into withdrawal there can potentially be severe symptoms such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate, cold skin, severe respiratory stress, and even coma and death.
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.
Ways to Detox from Suboxone – What is the Detox Protocol?
The most ideal treatment situation regarding Suboxone detox is undergoing an expert, medically managed Suboxone detox program. Suboxone in itself is comprised of two powerful narcotics, which are buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication and Naloxone is a special narcotic drug that reverses the effects of other narcotic medicines. Therefore, detoxification from Suboxone dependence is similar to detoxification from similar narcotic and opioid drugs.
With Suboxone detox, however, because of the potentiality for severe withdrawal symptoms as well as death, the procedure of detoxing from Suboxone will include gradually diminishing the dose of the drug over time in order to minimize the impact of the withdrawal symptoms. The protocol for the “weaning down” process in suboxone detoxification will be dictated by treatment staff and is dependent on factors such as length of time on suboxone, the severity of withdrawal symptoms as well as any polydrug addiction concerns, among others.
An option that can be explored in Suboxone detox is the use of naltrexone therapy. Naltrexone is similar to morphine and fills up the opiate receptors in the brain and this decreases cravings and the residual withdrawal symptoms.
Alternative Ways to Get off of Suboxone
Detox from Suboxone dependence may not work for everyone; therefore alternative options need to be considered. Acupuncture, for example, has been used as an adjunct (as a supplement) to formal detoxification programs. Another alternative method to suboxone dependence is the use of EEG biofeedback. Also known as neurofeedback, EEG biofeedback helps clients train their brain to reduce reactions to external stressors. Studies have shown that neurofeedback has cumulative effects and can significantly shorten the length of reaction time to stress.
There are other alternative methods that can be used to combat suboxone dependence and can help get people off of suboxone. Some of those methods can include mindful meditation techniques, yoga, hypnotherapy as well as nutritional interventions. Amino acid supplements such as L-Glutamine, L-Tyrosine and L-Methionine can also be used in alternative methods of detox from suboxone. As stated earlier, these options will work best in conjunction with quality medical detoxification procedures. As with any intervention program or option, obtaining sound medical advice from licensed and qualified medical personnel will be crucial in minimizing the symptoms and risk in suboxone withdrawal.
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.