There are many roads that lead to the pit of addiction, and some of the most severe compulsions to abuse drugs can come from a prescription—rather than from the street.
When a person is treated with pharmaceutical drugs that have powerful effects, they can (in their needful state) quickly develop a dependence on the medicine. Many of the most effective medications are quite powerful, acting on the nervous system in potent ways and producing feelings as diverse as ease, pleasure, and relaxation.
Because the prescription is written by a trained doctor charged with keeping their patients in good health—it might seem odd, at first, to consider whether something intended to help (like prescription medication) can actually become greatly harmful (such as a gripping addiction): the medication makes them feel better, it reduces their painful symptoms, and it seems to give lasting satisfaction as long as they have a supply. These all seem promising treatment outcomes, but they are also reasons that it’s so important to discuss addiction to medications in a similar manner to illicit drugs. No matter how legitimate drug use may begin, it can devastate the mind, body, and relationships of the afflicted addict.
Prescription medications like Suboxone present the possibility of serious, psychological, and physical addiction to their compounds. From a behavioral standpoint, they are often prescribed to people enduring significant pain and anguish. In many cases, they also work in mechanisms similar to illegal, hard drugs when looked at from a neurological standpoint.
For these reasons, we want to explore the addictive potential of Suboxone, a strong medication aimed at treating severe symptoms shown by people withdrawing from opioids.
Suboxone, known also as Zubsolv and Bunavail, is a medication only available by prescription from a doctor treating someone with opioid addiction. Belonging in the class of opioids known to kill pain and numb suffering, Suboxone is a kind of opioid itself, but it’s used to assist patients in recovery from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) by being controlled by a prescribing physician. For the person trying to quit an addiction to heroin, morphine, or codeine, for example, Suboxone helps to cut the challenge of withdrawal by preventing pain with its synthetic opioid composition.
Working as a combination of the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone is taken sublingually beneath the tongue or cheek in an oral film or tablet that dissolves into the bloodstream rather than being swallowed like a traditional pill. The combination of buprenorphine and naloxone bind themselves to the same areas of the brain as opioid drugs like narcotics and heroin to prevent cravings, but they work differently in making Suboxone potentially addictive.
Buprenorphine is known as a partial opioid agonist. In the most basic terms, as a partial agonist, buprenorphine has effects similar to but weaker than those of traditional opioids. In addition, users find that the effects have a ceiling so that its power levels off even if dosages of Suboxone are increased. In these ways, Suboxone looks to be potentially addictive in its similarity to opioids like heroin and painkillers, but it also can prevent withdrawal, dependence, and overdose through its “partial” composition and “ceiling” structure.
On the other hand, naloxone aims entirely to prevent the injectable abuse of Suboxone’s partial opioid agonists. When the drug is injected and not used as prescribed, deeply uncomfortable symptoms emerge, making it more unlikely that patients with Opioid Use Disorder will try to use the drug other than sublingually.
To start, doctors typically prescribe a low starting Suboxone dose of 8 mg of buprenorphine and 2 mg of naloxone, followed by a maintenance dose of 16 mg (buprenorphine) and 4 mg (naloxone) daily thereafter. Once Suboxone is taken, patients feel its effects at a slower pace than other opioids, and it only provides eventual relief from the painful withdrawal symptoms of opioid dependence. Nevertheless, because it takes the form of an opioid itself, Suboxone abuse and Suboxone addiction have become the subject of much debate when it comes to this Schedule III prescription medication that some addicts target.
Addictive Potential of Suboxone
While it’s generally accepted that Suboxone has proven treatment outcomes as a way to help people with opioid addiction and withdrawal—the possibility of dependency on Suboxone opens up with buprenorphine, the partial opioid compound that mimics the effects of traditional narcotics, painkillers, and heroin.
Still, the narcotic-like effects produced from Suboxone are mild in comparison to the experience of those with addictions to substances like heroin, making the chance of true dependence shrink. And, the onset of Suboxone is slow (though it lasts for a longer duration) which, in turn, translates into a lower likelihood of addiction. To say Suboxone is less addictive than alternative opioids is the best answer to whether Suboxone is addictive. Like any Schedule III drug, it is the intended target of some addicts, but its potential for being abused is greatly minimized by its synthetic structure and combination of ingredients.
While the chemical-level risk of addiction is low, the potential for dependence remains open for those who already have demonstrated the symptoms of substance abuse and Opioid Use Disorder. With these at-risk users, Suboxone addiction, abuse, and even Suboxone withdrawal can be real possibilities. Though, because the medication is controlled by a supervising psychiatrist or physician, the risk of dependence can be minimized and subtracted by gradually lowering the dose over time in the course of treatment.
In this way, addiction and dependence are both more remote possibilities for the opioid drug abuser. But, with concern for yourself or someone you love, read on to uncover the most common signs of Suboxone abuse.
Signs of Abuse in Suboxone Addiction
As a prescription and synthetic opioid, you’ll find common side effects of using Suboxone as well as Suboxone abuse and Suboxone withdrawal. Many of these symptoms and signs often mimic those of traditional opioid use and abuse because buprenorphine is a synthetic version of the class of opioids—while milder and more slow-acting. To begin with signs of abuse, we’ll look at behavioral and physical signs:
1. Taking more than prescribed. Suboxone is a prescription with very definite instruction for its therapeutic use. When a person starts to take more than prescribed at one time and seeks the rewards of a higher dose, they show signs of a developing dependency which brings with it the possibility of addiction, overdose, and death.
2. Engaging in unusual behavior. Concerning Suboxone, some individuals can start to display odd behavior once they begin treatment. For instance, they can show signs of great distress without taking the drug, and they can start to act strangely about securing more doses.
3. Displaying signs of overdose. If an individual has shown signs of opioid overdose and severe side effects as a result of taking the drug, they could be on the road to addiction. These signs can start as simply as ignoring side effects of higher dosages such as intense headaches, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
4. Showing likely signs of withdrawal. If a person starts to show signs of withdrawal from Suboxone very rapidly, it could indicate they are taking too much of the drug too often or not as prescribed. They can experience muscle aches, irritability, anxiety, weakness, insomnia, swelling, and more.
Of course, the most severe and serious indications of Suboxone addiction and Suboxone abuse are health complications such as slow reflex responses, respiratory problems, heart issues, lack of coordination, and loss of consciousness. If you or someone near you has displayed some of these signs of misuse after starting treatment with Suboxone, it may be an indication of dependence, addiction, and overdose. You should contact the prescribing doctor, a hospital, or 911 in a health emergency.
Since Suboxone can be the object of addiction, causing many serious health complications—many wonder why it is used as a form of treatment for patients who are known to be highly susceptible to opioid abuse and dependence. But, in clinical settings and scientific studies, it proves its value for treating patients with opioid addiction.
Therapeutic Value of Suboxone
Because the risk of Suboxone abuse and addiction remains low due to its chemical structure and controlled prescription, Suboxone has shown to be helpful for many more people than those who become truly addicted and dependent on the drug.
In part, Suboxone is most valuable because it allows patients to engage helpfully in other treatment modes like therapy without being plagued by the symptoms of prolonged opioid withdrawal such as aches, chills, diarrhea, anxiety, and many more. Keeping these at bay, patients taking Suboxone can progress in their recovery by taking advantage of the low-dose, synthetic opioid and healing from their addiction in multiple ways.
Once a patient shows that they have made measurable gains in their addiction treatment and recovery, they can start to ween off Suboxone under the control of a caring doctor, minimizing the chance of uncomfortable, further withdrawal symptoms like fever, sweating, and drug cravings. In the unlikely chance a person does become addicted to Suboxone, there is help to treat Suboxone abuse and assistance for Suboxone addiction, beginning with evaluation and detox.
Treating Suboxone Abuse and Addiction
The full-person recovery process at Haven Detox is initiated by a personal evaluation of each patient on an individual level, looking at medical and substance histories from the perspective of trained specialists. These histories contribute to a tailor-fit addiction treatment plan that puts the patient in the best position to succeed over Suboxone. By completing the evaluation and developing a custom treatment course, patients can see—perhaps for the first time—the severity and complexity of their current addiction and determine what level of treatment is needed. Typically, treatment commences with a controlled and supported in-house detox.
Detox from Suboxone
To avoid withdrawal pains, prevent possible relapse, and promote patient wellness—recovery from Suboxone usually starts with medically supervised detox stays from five to 30 days. With the support of a dedicated team of nurses and certified physicians at Haven Detox, anyone can liberate themselves from dependence on even a synthetic opiate like Suboxone.
At this time, patients received personalized care to mitigate their pain and to manage any possible discomfort coming from Suboxone side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Guided through the feelings and experience of abstinence, patients learn to re-establish themselves, and they begin looking at further ways to enhance their health and wellness through conjunctive therapy and treatment options like residential stays.
Residential Treatment for Suboxone
If Suboxone addiction requires more intensive intervention and the patient brings a lengthy, complex history of abuse—Haven Detox also recommends residential treatment with 24-hour care and supervision focused on cultivating stability after abstinence. Through CBT, talk, and group therapy, patients can reacquaint themselves with their personal and social identity which addresses some of the root factors causing their dependence on drugs, compulsion for opioids, or addiction to Suboxone.
Residential care for Suboxone addiction at Haven Detox relies on evidence-based practices which focus on mental health and structure for those with underlying diagnoses like Opioid Use Disorder. This is particularly helpful for those who need community support, individual therapy, stable routines, and a drug-free environment to ground their sobriety from Suboxone.
Aftercare Planning and Suboxone
Finally, after treating Suboxone addiction and Suboxone withdrawal with detox and a residential stay, Haven Detox provides aftercare planning to place patients in a suitable outpatient program. Laying the foundation for lifelong recovery, Haven Detox guides patients from initial abstinence, through stabilization, and toward continued progress through a full spectrum of addiction services for those suffering the signs of Suboxone abuse.
Find Addiction Treatment for Suboxone Abuse
The Haven Detox provides safety and support for anyone struggling with Suboxone dependence and addiction. Bringing an advanced facility and discreet staff to evidence-based addiction treatment—Haven Detox gives each patient a personal and professional experience of admission, detox, therapy, and recovery.
Whether you seek a five-day detox or need a 30-day residential treatment visit, find the support, safety, and sincerity you deserve at the Haven Detox. Speak to a compassionate counselor about the road to your recovery, and call 561-328-8627.
Let’s get you or a loved one help with a few simple steps.