How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone, a partial opioid agonist, is a prescription medication that has two primary ingredients – buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is classified as a partial opioid agonist. This ingredient is effective in stimulating the same receptors in the brain that other opioids do, however it does not create the same effects (such as an uncoordinated high). Once buprenorphine is in a person’s system, it blocks the receptors in the brain in ways that help stop withdrawal symptoms and cravings that would otherwise be present.
Naloxone, the other ingredient in Suboxone, is considered an opioid antagonist, or an “opioid blocker.” The presence of this ingredient makes it so individuals do not have to experience the negative side effects of opioids. It helps an individual avoid experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms and overwhelming cravings to use that would otherwise occur.
An immense amount of research has shown that Suboxone is effective in the treatment of opioid addiction. Those who have incorporated Suboxone into their treatment plans report that the medication was successful in keeping withdrawal symptoms and cravings at bay. Suboxone does not produce opioid-related side effects, like extreme euphoria, which makes it less likely to be abused by those who are taking it within a medication assisted treatment program. However, should an individual attempt to abuse Suboxone by taking more than prescribed or using it recreationally, he or she will be unable to get high as he or she would by using other opioids, such a Vicodin or OxyContin.
You and your physician will decide if Suboxone is the right medication for you. Keep in mind that research has shown that those who utilize Suboxone in a medication assisted treatment program are able to achieve a clear and peaceful state of mind, conducive to helping them recover from their opioid addictions.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Defeating an opioid addiction can be incredibly difficult. As soon as an individual becomes hooked on an opioid, he or she will go through a period of withdrawal once his or her use has stopped. Knowing that withdrawal is ahead is often what keeps these individuals continually using. However, through the implementation of a Suboxone treatment regimen, these withdrawal symptoms can be prevented, allowing individuals to view recovery as a worthy option. Not only will Suboxone help these individuals avoid withdrawal symptoms, but it will also assist in decreasing cravings to use opioids.
Yes, Suboxone can be immensely helpful in treating an opioid addiction, however it is not the sole solution to the problem. In addition to the use of Suboxone, it is recommended that individuals also participate in group and individual therapy sessions, as doing so can help establish longevity in recovery. For example, participating in group therapy allows individuals the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences, all while seeing that they are not alone in the challenges they are facing. This aspect of group therapy can help relieve individuals of feelings of isolation and help establish solid confidence in recovery. Similar to group therapy, individual therapy is also beneficial, as it encourages individuals to work through their issues with a counselor on a one-on-one basis. In this safe setting, individuals and their treatment can be monitored by their counselors, and they can also begin feeling supported and heard.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction affects everyone involved, not just the individual who is addicted. If you have a loved one who is grappling with an opioid addiction and has decided to get help through a medication assisted treatment program, the most important thing you can do is be active in his or her recovery. To do so, you can do the following:
- Become educated on Suboxone, medication assisted treatment, and more so that you have a strong understanding of what your loved one might be going through.
- Support your loved one by encouraging him or her to attend all of his or her appointments.
- Show your support by always asking how he or she is doing on the medication, in the program, etc.
- Congratulate him or her on the little and big successes he or she achieves.
- Know that the path to recovery is often filled with challenges. Keep your hope alive and share it with your loved one when he or she is feeling overwhelmed or troubled.
- Reach out for support of your own.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program can be an excellent first step towards recovery. Therefore, it is crucial that you are prepared to actively participate in your treatment and dedicate yourself to a sober life. Some of the many ways in which you can do that can include:
- Following all directions provided to you by your physician with regards to Suboxone and treatment in general.
- Consistently showing up for all appointments to obtain Suboxone.
- Adhering to guidelines while on Suboxone, like abstaining from drinking alcohol while taking it.
- Actively participating in group therapy sessions so both you and other participants can benefit as much as possible.
- Committing to openness and honesty in your individual therapy sessions so that your counselor can provide the best possible care for you. He or she is not there to judge you, but to help you achieve your recovery goals.
- Speaking up about any questions, concerns, or problems that you might be having while on Suboxone. Doing so allows your provider the ability to make any necessary adjustments to your dosage and/or treatment plan.
- Refraining from the use of other opioids while on Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
When you take any medication, it is always possible that side effects can develop. Suboxone is no different, as use of it can lead to certain effects. Some of the side effects of Suboxone can include:
- Generalized pain
- Low blood pressure
- Painful tongue
- Numb mouth
- Blurred vision
- Attention disturbances
- Back and abdominal pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Coordination problems
- Runny nose
If you experience any of these side effects, make your physician aware so that he or she can continually track your physical health during treatment.
At Sacramento Comprehensive Treatment Center, our experienced staff is dedicated to supplying understanding and individualized treatment to all patients who walk through our doors. We are more than happy to speak with you about the care we provide, as well as answer any and all questions you might have regarding Suboxone and how it can impact your life. Please reach out to us today.