The majority of the time, people can’t just decide to quit–and be immediately successful. They need an abundance of help to change their environment, their behaviors and the way they think. Quitting cold turkey is admirable, but it has a very low success rate, less than 25% of the people that try and just stop, are back using opioids again within the year.
So that is where medication-assisted opiate withdrawal treatment options come into play. And more specifically, we’ll talk about suboxone. Suboxone can often reverse the damage from an overdose and can also help patients to stay sober, at the same time suboxone also is reducing the suboxone withdrawals side effects and curbing cravings, minimizing relapses.
Suboxone is a really two medications, one (buprenorphine) that is a partial opioid agonist, and the other (naloxone) which is an opioid blocker. It is used in conjunction with therapy and counseling to aid in addiction therapy.
Suboxone, or buprenorphine, is prescribed for patients with a narcotic addiction to help them get off of painkillers. A ‘partial opioid agonist’ such as buprenorphine is an opioid that gives you less of an effect than that which a full opioid does when it links to the opioid receptors in your brain. Oxycodone, morphine, methadone and all the other full opiates that you can become addicted to are full opioids and deliver all of the “pleasure” that is needed to fuel and addiction. Taking a partial opioid like Suboxone, you may get a very slight pleasurable sensation, or feel more energized. However there will not be a noticeable high, or feeling of euphoria. It basically tricks your brain into thinking that you have taken a full opioid and thus lessens or alleviates the withdrawal symptoms completely.
Suboxone does have a “ceiling effect” meaning that after a certain amount the effects level off. However, just because it can’t be injected, doesn’t mean it cannot be abused. It can be taken without a prescription, or a higher dose than is prescribed can be taken. It can be mixed with alcohol or benzodiazepines to get high. Signs of abuse can involve things such as random packages being delivered, late night visitors, a prescription disappearing too quickly, and unusual behavior. Most of the time, benzodiazepines are not to be prescribed with anything that has buprenorphine. By themselves, they have a high abuse potential, so adding them to Suboxone is unwise.
Of course you have the standard withdrawal symptoms, if you suddenly stop your prescription or are taking it illegally such as being unable to sleep and irritability. You also get flu like symptoms, shaking, hot and cold chills and nausea. If you taper all the way off the correct way, the symptoms are minimal. An abrupt change can be detrimental and painful.
Simply put, recovering from any addiction is restoring the life you had before you became involved in the addiction. To do that you must clear your body from all of the drugs, and this can be painful. You will feel nauseous and shaky, your bones will ache. The good news is you can get through all of this, if you fail at first you can try again.
Knowing that everyone is different, can be a big help. Some people can quit with no help at all. Most of the time, if you are detoxing you will find you need a little help. Vitamins, nausea medications and over the counter pain medication can help to manage your symptoms. Counseling and physical therapy are good outlets to help you to deal with the emotional and physical problems that occur. Staying active can help to release all of that excess energy you may have, as well as helping to hasten the detox process. Make no mistake, it will take a while. Relearning how to live without drugs is a process, but it can be accomplished with time, patience and a lot of help and perhaps… suboxone withdrawal treatment could be right for you.