How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone, a partial opioid agonist, is a prescription medication that is a blend of both buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine, also a partial opioid agonist, works by triggering the same parts of the brain that opioids do but without creating a disorienting high. When buprenorphine is active in the body, it begins controlling opioid receptors in the brain, which allows an individual to feel relieved from the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with stopping use. The benefit to this is that individuals can still avoid these painful issues all without continuing to take opioids that are dangerous to their health.
Naloxone, another active ingredient in Suboxone, is an opioid agonist. This means that when naloxone is working, it helps stop the effects of withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. Therefore, when an individual takes Suboxone, the naloxone helps ease those issues so that he or she can focus on his or her recovery instead of the discomfort typically associated with the withdrawal period.
An extended amount of research has proven that Suboxone is an effective and safe way to treat opioid addiction, especially when administered in a medication assisted treatment program.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Extensive studies have shown that Suboxone is an effective means of treating an opioid addiction. Those who utilize Suboxone in their recovery report that they experience lessened withdrawal symptoms and decreased urges to abuse opioids. Suboxone does not create the feeling of being high or overly euphoric, which means that it is much less likely to be abused than other medications that create similar effects. However, if a patient attempts to consume more Suboxone than is prescribed, he or she will likely not experience a high like other opioids would produce.
Determining if Suboxone will be the best medication for you will be decided by both you and your health care provider. However, using Suboxone to treat an opioid addiction has been clinically proven to supply individuals with a clear mindset that encourages complete recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Becoming victorious over an addiction to opioids can be tremendously challenging. As soon as an individual finds himself or herself in the thick of an opioid addiction, he or she will undoubtedly experience withdrawal symptoms if use is ceased. Knowing that withdrawal in inevitable is often what keeps individuals using even when they want to quit. Through the use of Suboxone, however, withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings can be alleviated, allowing individuals to feel more comfortable recovering.
While using Suboxone itself is an extremely powerful tool for aiding individuals towards recovery from opioid addiction, it is also important to receive group and individual counseling to help establish long-term recovery. Participating in group therapy allows patients the opportunity to benefit from the experiences of others, while learning that they are not alone in the challenges that they are working through. This can be critical throughout the recovery process as patients begin feeling supported and confident in their abilities to overcome their opioid addiction. Individual therapy, where patients meet with a counselor in a one-on-one setting, allows patients to talk about concerns they have while monitoring their progress. This, like group therapy, can be incredibly beneficial during the recovery process as it allows patients the opportunity to be heard.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction affects everyone, not just the patient. Therefore, if you have a loved one who is battling an opioid addiction and is participating in a medication assisted treatment program, it is important that you remain an active part of his or her recovery process. You can do this by practicing the following:
- Seek out support for yourself.
- Know that achieving sobriety can take a long time and can be filled with setbacks. Keep hope alive and share it with your loved one when he or she is feeling discouraged.
- Always congratulate your loved one on all of his or her successes.
- Show your support by checking in on how your loved one’s therapy is going, how he or she is doing on his or her medication, and so on.
- Encourage your loved one to consistently go to every appointment and therapy session he or she has.
- Develop an education about Suboxone and additional medication treatment options so you can understand what your loved one is going through.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program can be an excellent first step in the right direction. It is crucial that you actively participate in your therapy process so that your recovery can be effective. In addition to committing to your own recovery, here are some helpful tips that can encourage you to continue experiencing success at this time:
- Follow all recommendations provided to you by your doctor.
- Adhere to guidelines that are given, such as refraining from the use of alcohol while on Suboxone.
- Always show up to appointments to obtain your dose of Suboxone.
- Commit to openness and honesty with your counselor throughout your therapy sessions. Your counselor is not going to judge you, but rather help you overcome your emotional obstacles, so honesty is key.
- Actively participate in all group therapy sessions so that you can obtain the best possible experience.
- Steer clear from using any other type of opioid while taking Suboxone.
- Speak up if you have questions, problems, or concerns while taking Suboxone. Doing so can be critical to helping your provider adjust or change your medication if needed.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
As with other medications, it is possible to experience side effects from taking Suboxone. Some side effects associated with the use of Suboxone can include:
- Generalized pain
- Low blood pressure
- Blurred vision
- Numb mouth
- Painful tongue
- Runny nose
- Irregular heartbeat
- Coordination problems
- Attention disturbances
- Back and abdominal pain
If you experience any of these side effects, report them to your provider so that he or she can make any necessary adjustments to your dosage to keep you in good health.
At Maryland Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our experienced staff is devoted to offering understanding and personalized treatment to all patients. We are pleased to discuss all the methods of treatment we provide and will go above and beyond to answer all questions you have regarding Suboxone. Please contact us today to get started on your path to recovery.