Suboxone Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Suboxone, a partial opioid agonist-antagonist, is a prescription medication that is a mix of both buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist-antagonist in itself, works by triggering the same receptors in the brain that opioids do, all without causing an individual to become high. When buprenorphine is present in a person’s system, it blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, allowing the patient to obtain relief from his or her withdrawal symptoms and cravings that would otherwise develop with the cessation of his or her opioid use. Naloxone is an opioid agonist (or more commonly known as an “opioid blocker”) and is effective by reversing the dangerous effects that opioids can produce.

When an individual ingests Suboxone, he or she is relieved from the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that come with opioid withdrawal; effects that often cause individuals to keep using.

Extensive research has shown that Suboxone is safe and effective when taken as directed within a medication assisted treatment program that treats opioid abuse.

The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment

An exceptional amount of research has proven that Suboxone is effective in the treatment of opioid dependence. Those who have utilized Suboxone as a part of their treatment have reported decreased withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The use of Suboxone does not bring about feelings of euphoria, therefore not only is it a successful treatment option, but Suboxone is unlikely to be abused by patients. Should a patient attempt to abuse Suboxone by consuming more than what is prescribed, he or she will be unable to achieve the high induced by other opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin.

You and your healthcare provider will be able to determine if Suboxone is the appropriate medication for you. However, studies have proven that when this medication is included into a comprehensive medication assisted treatment plan, people are able to achieve mental clarity so they can remain focused on recovering.

The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling

Defeating an opioid addiction can be incredibly challenging. As soon as an individual has found himself or herself addicted to opioids, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms if his or her use stops. Knowing that withdrawal is ahead is often enough to keep them using. When Suboxone is introduced, however, withdrawal symptoms can be prevented, allowing recovery to seem like a more feasible option. While Suboxone works to deflect withdrawal symptoms, it is also helpful in curbing drug cravings.

The use of Suboxone can be exceptionally beneficial to an individual who is trying to push past an opioid addiction, however the implementation of both individual and group therapy can make the process of recovery long lasting and more successful. Partaking in group therapy allows patients to learn from others’ experiences, all while seeing that they are not alone in the challenges they are going through. This can be incredibly helpful in the recovery process, as individuals begin feeling less isolated and more confident in their ability to succeed in recovery. Individual therapy is also beneficial, as it allows patients to work in a private setting with a counselor to talk through any issues they might be having. Additionally, a counselor can help track the patient’s progress. Therefore, this form of therapy is also effective, as patients begin to feel heard.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction does not just impact the individual, rather it also affects his or her loved ones as well. If you have a loved one who is addicted to an opioid(s) and has decided to engage in a medication assisted treatment program to address his or her addiction, the most important thing you can do is be prepared to play an active role in his or her recovery and keep the following in mind:

  • Obtain an education on Suboxone and medication assisted treatment so that you can begin to understand what your loved one is going through during treatment.
  • Encourage your loved one to continually attend all appointments.
  • Show your support by always checking in with your loved one about how his or her therapy is going, how the medication is working, and so on.
  • Applaud your loved one on small and big successes.
  • Know that recovery can be a long process that can be filled with setbacks. Always hold onto hope and share your hope with your loved one, especially when he or she seems to need it most.
  • Obtain your own support.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program is an excellent first step towards defeating an addiction to opioids. However, it is important that you understand that by engaging in a program such as this, that you must actively participate in your recovery. Keep the following in mind so that you can yield success at this time:

  • Adhere to all directions provided to you by your treatment provider, and follow his or her recommendations regarding the treatment process.
  • Consistently show up for all appointments to obtain Suboxone.
  • Follow the guidelines that are provided, including refraining from alcohol consumption when taking Suboxone.
  • Actively engage in group therapy sessions so that you can obtain the most from the experience.
  • Remain open and honest with your counselor in individual therapy. He or she will not judge you, but help you. Being honest will be most beneficial to your success.
  • Speak up about any concerns, questions, or issues that might develop while taking Suboxone. Doing so is very important in allowing your healthcare provider to supervise your progress, as he or she can make necessary adjustments to your medication if need be.
  • Do no use any opioids or other drugs while on Suboxone.

The Side Effects of Suboxone

As with other medications, there are a number of potential effects that can develop when taking Suboxone. Some of the side effects that can occur as a result of Suboxone use can include:

  • Attention disturbances
  • Fainting
  • Back and abdominal pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Coordination problems
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Painful tongue
  • Numb mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Constipation
  • Chills
  • Infections
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Generalized pain

Any of these side effects should be brought up to your healthcare provider so that he or she can make an informed decision regarding your use and dosage of Suboxone.

At Baton Rouge Comprehensive Treatment Center, our skilled staff is devoted to supplying compassionate and customized treatment to each patient. We are happy to discuss all of our methods of care with you, and can answer any questions that you might have regarding Suboxone and the potential role it could play in your recovery. Please reach out to us right now for the help you deserve.

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