How It Works and Is It Safe?
Considered a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone is a medication that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone.
A partial opioid agonist itself, buprenorphine blocks the receptors in the brain that would otherwise be affected by opioids, however a high is not produced. Once buprenorphine has taken control of these receptors, individuals will be relieved of tempting drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms that generally result in the absence of opioid abuse.
Naloxone, an opioid agonist, is known as an opioid blocker, as it works to reverse the effects of opioids on the mind and body. Once an individual starts taking Suboxone, he or she will not go through painful withdrawal symptoms that come with the cessation of opioid abuse, and he or she will be free from cravings that would keep him or her tempted to use.
Extensive research has shown that Suboxone is effective in treating opioid addiction. Those who have taken Suboxone have reported success in decreasing intensity of withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings. Suboxone does not cause feelings of euphoria to develop, which, while being a successful treatment option, is also unlikely to be abused. In addition, should an individual attempt to abuse Suboxone, he or she will be unable to obtain the same effects that he or she would have while abusing other opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin.
You and your physician will be better able to determine if Suboxone is the correct medication for you, as this decision will be made based on your own needs. However, studies have shown that when Suboxone is utilized within a medication assisted treatment program, individuals are more likely to keep a clear head while working on recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Moving past an addiction to opioids can be incredibly difficult for an individual. As soon as he or she is addicted to opioids, withdrawal symptoms are possible any time that use is suddenly stopped. Knowing that these painful side effects of stopping use are always on the horizon, individuals often continue to use, which keeps the dangerous cycle of abuse moving. With Suboxone, individuals can avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms that they fear, as well as reduce drug cravings. As a result, recovery often appears to be a more viable option.
The use of Suboxone can be an excellent tool in recovering from an opioid addiction, however the implementation of group and individual therapy can add to the process of recovery in ways that encourage continued success in treatment. Participating in group therapy allows individuals to learn from the experiences of others, while seeing that they are not alone in the challenges that they have gone through. This can be critical to the process of recovery, as individuals can begin building confidence and feeling less alone. Individual therapy can provide benefits to these individuals by giving them time to work one-on-one with a counselor in a safe environment where they can air out concerns and issues that they are struggling with, all while tracking their progress. Individual therapy, as well as group therapy, can be highly beneficial to those receiving medication assisted treatment, as it helps individuals feel heard and supported.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction impacts everyone involved, including those who are not using. The effects of your loved one’s use can negatively impact your life, so it is important that you prepare yourself to be supportive of his or her journey towards recovery. To do so, keep the following in mind:
- Reach out for support of your own.
- Know that the path towards recovery is often bumpy and filled with challenges. Hold on to hope and share it with your loved one when he or she seems to need an extra boost of encouragement.
- Applaud all small successes that your loved one achieves.
- Offer your support to your loved one by checking in on how he or she is feeling, how the medication is affecting him or her, and so on.
- Continually encourage your loved one to show up for all recovery-related appointments.
- Obtain an education on Suboxone and medication assisted treatment so that you can begin understanding what your loved one is going through
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Plan: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program is an excellent first step in the direction towards recovering from an opioid addiction. It is important that while taking part in a program such as this, that you are prepared to be an active participant in the process by committing yourself fully to recovery. Below are a handful of tips that can help you achieve success at this time:
- Adhere to all directions provided to you by your physician, as well as follow all recommendations that are offered to you regarding treatment.
- Consistently show up for appointments to obtain your Suboxone.
- Hold fast to guidelines that are provided, including abstaining from consuming alcohol and other drugs while on Suboxone.
- Actively engage in group therapy sessions so that you get the most benefit possible.
- Dedicate yourself to being honest and open with your individual counselor. It is not his or her goal to judge you, but rather to help you recover. Staying honest will benefit you tremendously.
- Speak up if you have any questions, problems, or concerns that develop while using Suboxone. That way, your physician can keep monitoring your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your dosage.
- Abstain from consuming opioids while on Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
As is the case with other medications, there are a number of possible side effects that can occur when an individual starts taking Suboxone. Some of these effects can include:
- Attention disturbances
- Irregular heartbeat
- Back and abdominal pain
- Coordination problems
- Runny nose
- Blurred vision
- Numb mouth
- Painful tongue
- Low blood pressure
- Generalized pain
If any of these side effects appear, you should report them to your doctor so that he or she can make any necessary alterations to your medication.
At Portland Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our experienced staff is determined to offer the most compassionate and personalized treatment to each patient that we work with. We are happy to speak with you about the methods of treatment that we provide, and will we do everything possible to answer any questions that you or your loved one might have in regards to Suboxone and the role it can play in your life. Please reach out to us today.