If you’re not already familiar with Suboxone, it is a prescription medication commonly used to reverse the side effects of common painkillers like oxycodone and Oxycontin as well as illicit drugs like heroin, for example. Suboxone is comprised of Buprenorphine and naloxone, which collectively work to prevent the withdrawal symptoms that are typical of opioid addiction. Despite the many benefits, Suboxone is highly addictive. In fact, those who take the medication to help cope with the withdrawals symptoms while being weaned off of painkillers or other drugs may find themselves addicted to it. In this article, we will be discussing ways of weaning off of Suboxone without relapsing. Lastly, we will detail the difference between addiction and physical dependence.
What makes suboxone so addictive?
As noted in the preface of this article, Suboxone is highly addictive; since one of the drugs active ingredient is buprenorphine, which is an opioid agonist, it closely mimics the effects of common opioid drugs. To that point, it is easy to see why countless people are becoming addicted. Given the proclivity for addiction, fewer than 16,000 physicians are authorized to prescribe Suboxone to their patients. Also, the medication has been linked to an inordinate amount of emergency room visits all across the nation. This information highlights the importance of tapering off the medication slowly in order to prevent not only a relapse but also addiction. It is also equally important to follow the tapering plan outlined by your physician as this further improves your odds of getting off the medication for good.
What is the difference between physical dependence and addiction?
Having provided some background on Suboxone and what makes it so addictive, this would be a great time to help readers discern between physical dependence and addiction. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences worth noting. Physical dependence is considered a byproduct of the body’s adaptation to a particular drug to point where it begins to depend and rely on it. Addiction, on the other hand, refers to the compulsion to continue using the drug while being consciously aware of its ill-effects. Nonetheless, if you’re struggling with addiction or physical dependence and abruptly stop taking Suboxone, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle spasms, tremors, and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Fever and chills
- Severe anxiety
- Insatiable drug cravings
While these symptoms are unpleasant, they seldom lead to any long-term health problems; however, it is best to follow your doctor’s instructions to help mitigate the severity of these symptoms. If you opt to taper yourself off of Suboxone, you’re encouraged to look into a professional opioid detox program.
Should you consider a detox program?
Those who are addicted to Suboxone, and are not being treated by a physician, would benefit greatly by working with a detox program. Why is detoxification so important, you ask? Well, detox in a medical setting can help you avoid a possible relapse and also helps decrease physical dependence. To accomplish these goals, many detox centers will address your psychological and physical dependence, which can help minimize withdrawal symptoms and improve the likelihood of being successfully treated. As a patient, however, you’re still responsible for holding up your end of the bargain. Of course, enrolling in a detox program is your first steps towards recovery, but to ensure long-term success you have to follow the guidelines outlined by the treatment center and also take part in group and individual therapy sessions. It’s worth noting that these therapy sessions teach patients how to better cope and work through their addictions.
What to expect from suboxone detox
As we round out this article, let’s take a look at what you can expect while undergoing your Suboxone detox. When detoxing from a benzodiazepine like Suboxone, the weaning off process will be slow and controlled, gradually reducing your dosage over several weeks. During this process, you will be monitored by medical and mental health professionals. Eventually, you will be taken off of Suboxone entirely and switched over to a drug that is not as quickly absorbed by the body like diazepam, for example. All in all, the detox process is a long journey, but in the end, you’ll marvel at just far you’ve come. Call a counselor today at 770-299-1677.