How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone is a prescription medication that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone as its active ingredients. This medication is classified as a partial opioid agonist.
Buprenorphine, one of Suboxone’s ingredients, is designed to stimulate the same receptors in the brain that opioids do, however, an uncoordinated high is not produced when taking this medication. When buprenorphine makes its way into a person’s system, it blocks these opioid receptors, which allows an individual to experience reprieve from withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings that often accompany the cessation of opioid use.
Naloxone, Suboxone’s other ingredient and one that is different from buprenorphine, is an opioid agonist. More commonly referred to as an “opioid blocker,” naloxone reverses the dangerous effects that opioids can have on the body. Therefore, when an individual uses Suboxone, he or she no longer grapples with the uncomfortable and upsetting withdrawal symptoms that come with ending opioid use. Additionally, an individual is freed from the cravings that tend to overpower his or her desire to get sober.
Immense research has shown that Suboxone is effective and safe when utilized in a medication assisted treatment program for opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Suboxone is effective is treating addictions to and dependencies upon opioids, and extensive research has proven its effectiveness. Those who include Suboxone into their medication assisted treatment plans rave over the fact that their withdrawal symptoms and cravings are dramatically decreased. Unlike other opioids, Suboxone does not cause feelings of euphoria to manifest, which makes the likelihood of abuse to be incredibly low. Should an individual attempt to take more Suboxone than prescribed, he or she will be unable to achieve the same high that he or she would if he or she were abusing opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin.
Whether or not Suboxone is the medication for you will be decided by both you and your provider. However, keep in mind that studies show that when this medication is incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan, individuals are better able to obtain mental clarity so they can continue working towards a successful recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
One of the most challenging obstacles an individual may ever face is overcoming an opioid addiction. As soon as he or she develops a dependency on an opioid, an individual will experience withdrawal symptoms once the use of the substance stops. Knowing that withdrawal is inevitable is often what keeps individuals continuing on in their dangerous cycle of abuse. However, if an individual utilizes a medication like Suboxone, he or she can avoid painful withdrawal symptoms. This is often what makes individuals more willing to obtain treatment as opposed to continuing their use. Additionally, those who are using Suboxone within a medication assisted treatment program also experience a notable decrease in their cravings for opioids.
Including Suboxone into a treatment plan can be exceptionally beneficial to an individual, however, it often takes additional elements, like individual and group therapy, to make the process of recovery more likely to yield long-term success. Participating in group therapy allows individuals to learn from others’ experiences, all while recognizing that they are not facing their challenges by themselves. This can be critical to the process of recovery, as individuals no longer feel lonely, rather more confident in their ability to recover. Individual therapy can be beneficial in that it allows an individual the time and space to speak about any issues he or she has, all while having their treatment confidentially followed by a professional. One of the greatest benefits of individual therapy is that individuals are able to be supported in a safe environment and finally feel heard.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction impacts everyone involved, not just the individual who is addicted. If you care for someone who is battling an opioid addiction and has decided to participate in a medication assisted treatment program, the most beneficial thing you can do for him or her is actively engage in his or her recovery process. You can do this through the following:
- Learn as much as you can about Suboxone and medication assisted treatment so that you are educated about what your loved one is going through during his or her treatment.
- Offer your loved one encouragement when it comes to attending the appointments he or she has.
- Show your support by frequently checking in with your loved one and asking how his or her medication is treating him or her, how therapy is going, and so on.
- Applaud your loved one when he or she achieves small successes.
- Obtain support for yourself.
- Never forget that the journey towards recovery is often riddled with challenges. Always maintain hope, and share that hope with your loved one, especially when he or she is feeling stressed or defeated.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program is an honorable first step towards putting an end to an opioid addiction. It is critical that when you do participate in one of these programs, that you are dedicated to actively engaging in the entire comprehensive process. You must be ready to commit to your recovery. Some of the many ways that you can be successful throughout your treatment can include the following:
- Adhere to all directions provided to you by your physician, and follow the recommendations he or she gives you when it comes to Suboxone.
- Always show up for your appointments to obtain your Suboxone, and do so consistently.
- Stick to the guidelines that are given to you, including refraining from the use of alcohol while using Suboxone.
- Actively participate in group therapy sessions so you can obtain the most from your treatment.
- Remain transparent with your counselor so that he or she can guide you appropriately. Your counselor is not there to judge you; rather to help you.
- Always voice your questions, comments, and concerns that come up while you are on Suboxone. This way, your physician can monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments.
- Do not use other opioids while on Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
As with all medications, there is potential for side effects to occur when an individual takes Suboxone. Some of the numerous side effects that can result from taking Suboxone can include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Painful tongue
- Numb mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Generalized pain
- Attention disturbances
- Back and abdominal pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Coordination problems
- Runny nose
If you experience any of these side effects, inform your provider so that he or she can keep record of any changes in your physical health. Additionally, your provider can also track and make adjustments if necessary.
At Temecula Valley Comprehensive Treatment Center, our skilled team is devoted to offering personalized treatment to all of our patients. We are happy to talk with you about the treatment that we provide, and we promise to do everything we can to answer all of the questions that you might have regarding Suboxone. You are welcome to call us at any time.