Suboxone DetoxFor people suffering from Suboxone addiction, the difficulties of detox and recovery are probably all too familiar. Many individuals who have a Suboxone dependence have developed an addiction while trying to quit another opiate addiction, and the irony of replacing one addiction with another is painful and frustrating. Whether you or a loved one is seeking a helping hand on the path to detox and recovery, we are here to help you, every step of the way.
What Is Suboxone?Suboxone is a sublingual drug that is administered for opiate addiction. It consists of buprenorphine, a drug used for opioid detoxification, and naloxone in a 4:1 ratio. Buprenorphine is an μ-opiate–receptor agonist as well as an κ-opiate–receptor antagonist, and it works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. Buprenorphine alone (called Subutex) can be used to effectively treat opiate addiction, but the addition of naloxone makes it viable for sublingual (under the tongue) intake, which in turn helps to deter intravenous use of the drug. Naloxone is an antagonist, which reverses the effect of an agonist and mitigates the withdrawal effects from other illicit opiates. Suboxone can come in several forms, including sublingual tablets, transdermal patches, filmstrips, and implants.
Suboxone MisuseAlthough early studies showed that Suboxone carried a low risk of abuse, researchers suggested the growing availability and prevalence of the drug would increase the likelihood of its misuse. Indeed, more recent research has uncovered that Suboxone ranks highly as one of the most misused medications.
Suboxone can be misused alone as a street drug, but more often, it is misused in conjunction with other drugs. Suboxone misuse is dangerous and carries an increased risk of overdose. While misuse of the drug alone has resulted in relatively few deaths, when taken in combination with other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, the combination can be lethal and can result in death. Overdose can lead to symptoms of lowered heart rate and blood pressure, cold or clammy skin, respiratory problems, circulatory problems, cardiac arrest, coma, or death.
What Is Suboxone Dependence?Suboxone dependence entails a long-term reliance on and tolerance to the drug. While there is research showing that longer duration (of 12 months) of Suboxone treatment increases the health and quality of life benefits in quitting an opiate addiction, extended usage also promotes dependence and increases a person’s tolerance, with Suboxone being a replacement for opiate addiction.
Suboxone addiction becomes particularly prolonged at lower dosages. While tapering can transpire relatively quickly in as little as one to three weeks, depending on the dosage, the most difficult part of detox is going from a low dosage, such as two or four milligrams, to zero intake. Whether it is due to the fear of relapse to other opiates, or anxiety over quitting any substance completely, Suboxone dependence can occur for various reasons and can continue for many years. The psychological difficulty of quitting a substance entirely is why treatment for addiction requires a holistic recovery process that should involve group and individual therapy and may even involve addiction psychiatry as well as continued addiction recovery support services.
Symptoms Of Suboxone WithdrawalBecause Suboxone contains a partial opioid agonist, it produces withdrawal symptoms similar to opiates. The severity of symptoms from the buprenorphine detox will vary and depend on the dosage level and duration of usage. Suboxone withdrawal can induce symptoms including:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Body/muscle aches and pains
- Hot flashes and/or chills
- Sweating/ night sweats
- Difficulty with concentration
- Indigestion and diarrhea
- Depression, anxiety, agitation, and/or irritability
- Mood swings
- Skin tingling/crawling
- Cravings (for Suboxone or other opiates)
Duration of Withdrawal from SuboxoneThe duration of withdrawal symptoms can last as long as one month, and in some cases vary according to the user’s level of dependence. The first 72 hours of detox are when the most intense physical symptoms are experienced.
1-3 days:The physical withdrawal symptoms are most acutely experienced, including nausea, hot flashes and chills, headache, diarrhea, skin tingling.
4-7 days:More psychological symptoms manifest, such as insomnia, some body aches and pains, mood swings, irritability, anxiety.
1 week and after:Many people in early recovery experience depression.
1 month and beyond:Depression can continue, and cravings can start to kick in.
Our physicians develop an individualized treatment plan for our patients that help keep them engaged with recovery through the duration of their detox. It is important to stay connected to others as part of the recovery process and continued communication with recovery coaches, addiction psychologists and psychologists help to enhances an individual’s recovery from Suboxone dependence.
The Suboxone Detox ProcessOur Suboxone detox process is an outpatient treatment program that involves tapering dosage levels. The tapering process can take anywhere from one to three or more weeks, depending on the level of the patient’s dosage, as well as their comfort level with the rate of dosage reduction.
The difficult withdrawal symptoms, however, means the detox process must involve more than a reduction of dosage levels. When professional services address how to get clean from Suboxone, the treatment process will also involve psychiatric and addiction assessment, individual and/or group therapy sessions, ongoing recovery management, and discussion of coping strategies to address feelings of craving and a desire to relapse.