Can You Suffer from Suboxone Abuse?
Certain opioids exist to help you overcome and treat opioid addiction, meant solely to remedy opioid withdrawal symptoms and act as a temporary stepping stone to sobriety. Methadone and Suboxone are the two primary drugs in this category, with Methadone being the oldest and most widely used option.
However, as successful as Methadone has been in treating withdrawal symptoms, a large number of people still abuse the drug, and it’s available as a painkiller by prescription in situations of severe pain. Suboxone, on the other hand, was released as an answer to this problem – a partial opioid agonist not meant to cross the blood-brain barrier.
In plain terms, there was a very low risk of getting high from Suboxone, making the risk of Suboxone addiction minimal to non-existent. Fast forward over two decades later, and the reality is quite different. While Suboxone has been moderately successful as an option for medication-assisted treatment, many of the claims regarding opioid receptors and Suboxone abuse haven’t proven as much of a longshot as originally imagined.
In this article, we cover the prevalence of Suboxone addiction and how you might fall victim to this addiction while your goal is to enter recovery. At Icarus Behavioral Health, we provide Suboxone as a medication-assisted treatment, and if used responsibly, it can lead to some amazing results. We’ll show you how to do just that.
For those struggling with opioid use disorder, a doctor can order a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine, which can be used to treat opioid addiction. The medication binds to the receptor system in the brain, which helps decrease the craving for opioids and prevent withdrawal symptoms.
The usual range for treating opiate use disorder is from three months to a year. This allows patients to take advantage of the various available resources, such as mental health support and substance abuse treatment. Suboxone makes the initial stages of recovery easier to navigate by helping them through the opioid withdrawal accompanying the detox period.
Extended Medication-Assisted Addiction Treatment vs Short-Term Taper
Generally, in situations when clients are prescribed Suboxone for substance addiction, it’s used in one of two ways: As an extended medication-assisted solution for opioid addicts or as a short-term tapering option to suppress withdrawal symptoms during the detox process.
The cases can be made that the seeds of Suboxone addiction are planted at this point – at least for those who end up using the prescription medication over a longer-term period. We’ll get back into the short-term Suboxone taper for opioid use disorder shortly – but first, let’s explore the use of the partial opioid agonist over an extended period.
Treating Opioid Addiction With a Regular Regimen of Suboxone
The initial creation of Suboxone for opioid addiction was originally used as a short-term tapering option to help those in addiction treatment experience at least a slight sense of relief from the exhausting withdrawal symptoms.
When first released to the public, Suboxone came in two injectable pre-loaded syringes. One contained buprenorphine, and the other the naloxone. However, doctors ultimately discovered that not only did Suboxone help eliminate most of the withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid drugs and substance abuse, but it also reduced cravings long after detox was over.
This gave way to longer durations of addiction treatment using Suboxone. Clients weren’t just using them for a 3 to 6-week period during a taper but extending regimens to 12, 18, and 24 months as a maintenance solution, much like Methadone.
The downside of methadone is the fact that it crosses the blood-brain barrier, causing a high, and is also addictive. However, methadone induction is done at low doses very slowly – normally 5 MG every two days until the client hits 60 MG – at which point many plateau and must see the physician again in order to increase the dose beyond the 60 MG limit.
Because of the way methadone is introduced at a clinic – and the fact that it’s not readily available outside of a clinic setting makes it virtually impossible for a client to get high on their dose.
Suboxone Addiction: Is It Possible to Misuse Suboxone?
Suboxone is a synthetic opioid, and because of that, it does cause pain relief, euphoria, shallow breathing, and other side effects. Because of the fact that there is a ceiling, however, users are only able to experience a slight euphoric effect until the ceiling is reached.
However, this doesn’t stop certain users from attempting to abuse Suboxone, and ultimately, they end up addicted to Suboxone and experiencing Suboxone withdrawal.
It’s important to keep in mind that people abusing Suboxone are not the only ones who suffer from Suboxone addiction. Even those who take it as prescribed and have no urge to experience a high are at risk of becoming addicted to Suboxone – at least on a physical level. This is why, regardless of the situation, the safest way to discontinue using it and avoid Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is tapering.
Why Would Someone Abuse Suboxone?
For those who abuse Suboxone, the Naloxone is formulated to discourage users from taking it like they would opioid drugs that cause intense euphoria. However, unless the user does an opiate or opioid and ingests Suboxone shortly after (within 12 hours), the Naloxone has little to no effect.
Suboxone does indeed block the high of other opioid drugs – but it’s not the addition of other opioids that is the problem. So why would someone abuse Suboxone?
When clients begin taking Suboxone, if they’re still in the frame of mind that triggers them to chase a high, they’re likely to chase this high regardless of the substance they’re taking.
Even when someone refrains from using heroin or fentanyl and maintains steady use of Suboxone – there could still be significant systems of Suboxone addiction. Taking doses larger than recommended, running out of their medication early, and doctor shopping, are all symptoms of Suboxone addiction that carry significant risk.
What are the Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal?
Like other opioids, discontinuing the use of Suboxone leads to withdrawal symptoms. However, many users believe that Suboxone withdrawal is more severe than heroin or other opioid replacement medications.
This is probably caused by the longer half-life when compared to other opioids – because it stays in the system longer, the withdrawal period is substantially longer and more intense. Below we’ve outlined an example of the Suboxone withdrawal timeline.
Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline
Withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone may still be present up to one month after usage. In the first 48-72 hours, however, they are typically at their highest intensity. Additionally, there can be some lingering psychological effects that last beyond just physical discomfort. This timeline outlines what you can expect during the detox process.
24 Hours-Day 2
During this time, people typically experience symptoms such as excessive tiredness, irritability, headaches, excessive yawning, and stress. These will gradually worsen until reaching their peak after 72 hours.
Day 3-Day 5
Suboxone withdrawal often peaks during this phase, usually accompanied by common symptoms like stomach pain, muscle aches, insomnia, agitation, sweating, chills, jittery legs, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Day 6-Day 12
Physical symptoms like muscle aches, irritability, sleep, and stomach issues may be experienced during the first 10 days, but this is usually the peak. After that period, most of these difficulties will start to recede. The most problematic issue during this time is usually depression.
One Month and Beyond
Any post-treatment conditions should include some form of aftercare or something similar. Remaining proactive in any addiction is what separates successful people from those who are at risk of relapsing.
To ease Suboxone withdrawal, a variety of options are available, including medications, physical activities, and natural remedies. It’s important to remember that if you do take medications not to fall into a trap and experience a physical addiction to any of the additional remedies you might be prescribed.
How to Manage Suboxone Detox
Like any opioid or opiate, managing Suboxone detox is possible with the right mind frame and approach.
Any exercise that increases metabolism can have positive effects and help improve recovery. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, it’s also important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and minimize the risk of experiencing more severe medical issues. During medical detoxification, staff members can provide access to all of these benefits when you attend Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada.
The Importance of Supervision and Support During Detox for Suboxone
Continuous monitoring is one of the most important factors that can help you avoid a relapse. This allows you to remain stable during treatment, which is why medically-assisted detoxification is often recommended. Individuals often feel they can do it themselves, and often, they even go through the process at home.
Getting the necessary help and support from a medical detox can help people achieve long-term recovery. In order to determine if you need to go through a medical detox for Suboxone, it’s important that you first analyze your situation. This can be done by looking at your past use of prescription drugs and opiate abuse.
A strong support system can also play a significant role in whether or not you need to undergo a medically-assisted withdrawal for Suboxone.
Beat Suboxone Addiction at Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada
At Icarus Behavioral Health, we’ve helped countless clients just like you get the best of Suboxone addiction. Maybe you started with the best intentions, and now you can’t shake this opioid management medication – or maybe you started illicitly. Either way, we can help.
For more information regarding our intake process, contact a member of our team today for a confidential consult and get options now!