How It Works and Is It Safe?
As a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone is a medication that contains buprenorphine and naloxone, and is used to treat opioid addiction.
In and of itself, buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. This means that when buprenorphine is present in a person’s system, it stimulates the same receptors in the brain that opioids do. Instead, however, it does not create the same euphoric high that individuals who abuse opioids chase after. It also stops the onset of withdrawal symptoms, as well as helps to curb cravings for more opioids.
Unlike buprenorphine, naloxone is an opioid agonist (or more commonly referred to as an “opioid blocker”). This medication is effective in preventing the upsetting effects that opioid withdrawal can have on the body, as well as drug cravings. When Suboxone is being taken within a medication assisted treatment program, it helps stop these effects and allows individuals to feel free from the physical pain of their addictions.
Extensive research has shown that Suboxone is safe in treating opioid addiction in a medication assisted treatment program.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Studies have proven that the use of Suboxone for the treatment of opioid addiction is effective. Those who have utilized Suboxone in treatment report that it is successful in stopping withdrawal symptoms, as well as nagging drug cravings. Unlike other opioids, Suboxone does not create a high, which means that it is unlikely to be abused by patients in a program. It is also important to note that if a patient should attempt to abuse Suboxone, the high he or she is attempting to achieve will be unattainable, as Suboxone cannot create a high as other opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin can.
You and your treatment provider will work together to decide if Suboxone is the appropriate medication for you. However, keep in mind that research has proven the effectiveness of this medication when incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan, as patients are able to obtain a clear state of mind that allows them to focus on recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Recovering from an opioid addiction can be the biggest challenge of an individual’s life. As soon as a dependency on an opioid has occurred, an individual will experience withdrawal symptoms if he or she suddenly stops his or her use. Knowing that a painful period of withdrawal is ahead is often what keeps individuals using, allowing the cycle of abuse to continue. However, utilizing a medication such as Suboxone can help prevent this stage of recovery from being painful and upsetting, allowing individuals to feel that treatment is a solid option for their future. In addition, Suboxone helps curb drug cravings.
Suboxone is an excellent tool designed to help individuals recover from opioid addiction, however the inclusion of additional methods of care (such as individual and group therapy) can be highly beneficial and help individuals achieve recovery success. Participating in group therapy allows patients to listen and learn from the experiences of others, all while seeing that they are not alone on their journey. This can be imperative to the process of recovery, as patients start to feel supported and more confident in themselves and their recovery. Individual therapy is also highly beneficial, as patients are given one-on-one time with a counselor to work through any issues or concerns that they might have. Individual therapy is beneficial in many ways, including the fact that patients can feel heard in a safe environment.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction affects everyone involved, not just the individual who is abusing the drug. If you have a loved one who is grappling with an opioid addiction and who has decided to obtain help from a medication assisted treatment program, the most beneficial thing you can do is remain an active member of his or her recovery. You can do this by following these suggestions:
- Become educated on Suboxone and medication assisted treatment so that you can be understanding of what your loved one is experiencing.
- Obtain your own support.
- Offer encouragement to your loved one when it comes to attending appointments.
- Know that recovery can take time and requires patience. Keep your hope alive and share it with your loved one, especially at times when he or she feels frustrated or discouraged.
- Show your support by checking in with your loved one (e.g. asking how he or she is, how his or her therapy is going, etc.)
- Offer congratulations when your loved one has small successes.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program can serve as an excellent step towards working through an opioid addiction. Therefore, if you chose to participate in this type of program, you must be prepared to engage in all of the steps, as well as commit to your recovery. Below are some tips to help you do so:
- Always speak up if you have questions or concerns regarding your use of Suboxone. Doing so can allow your provider to make any adjustments needed, as well as monitor your progress.
- Adhere to directions provided to you by your physician and follow any and all recommendations he or she offers.
- Remain committed to attending all appointments to receive Suboxone.
- Be prepared to be open and honest with your counselor so he or she can provide you with the best care. They are not there to place judgment on you, rather there are there to help you succeed.
- Follow guidelines provided to you, such as avoiding alcohol while on Suboxone.
- Actively engage in individual and group therapy sessions so you can receive the most benefit of partaking in sessions.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
When taking any medication, it is important to be aware of the possible side effects that can occur. Some of the side effects associated with Suboxone can include:
- Attention disturbances
- Generalized pain
- Back and abdominal pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Coordination problems
- Low blood pressure
- Numb mouth
- Painful tongue
- Blurred vision
- Runny nose
If you experience any of these side effects, inform your treatment provider so that he or she can make any necessary adjustments and continue to monitor your health.
At East Wisconsin Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our expert staff is devoted to providing you with caring and personalized treatment. We are obliged to discuss our treatment methods, as well as answer any questions you or a loved one might have in regards to Suboxone, recovery, our program, and more. Please reach out to us right now.