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Suboxone Addiction Information: Withdrawal, Symptoms, Tips

Suboxone is a prescription medication that is used to aid in opiate recovery. Even though opioid withdrawal is not necessarily life-threatening, it is still very uncomfortable, and difficult to manage at times. Many opiate treatment facilities offer Suboxone as a way to help their patients through their withdrawal symptoms, and it is given on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

The problem is that Suboxone in and of itself can quickly become addictive, and a Suboxone addiction can create a serious issue for someone who is using it.

Those who go to an opiate detox center don't ever think that they will be at high risk for a subsequent addiction, but quite often, that's exactly what happens when they are prescribed Suboxone to help them through their opiate withdrawal symptoms. As a result, they often run into two distinct problems:

  • They find out that they have formed a secondary addiction on top of their opiate addiction.
  • They never truly deal with the issues behind their addictions, which leaves them at a very real risk for relapsing back into their drug use.

Suboxone addiction is a growing problem in the United States, and many people continue to take this drug because it's recommended to them by a doctor they trust to help them recover from an opiate addiction. If this is the situation you have found yourself in, it's important for you to know as much as possible about Suboxone, how to know you're addicted to it, and the right ways to go about getting the help you need.

Suboxone Addiction
What is Suboxone?

Suboxone Explained in Detail

If you're planning on starting Suboxone soon to help you with your opiate addiction, it's important for you to know what type of drug you're going to be using. Suboxone is also known by its generic name, Buprenorphine. It is an opioid medication that is used to treat opioid addiction. It can be taken in an inpatient setting, and there are also outpatient physicians who will dispense it for use on an outpatient basis.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, which means that people who take it are at a lower risk for misusing it. It is a Schedule III drug that was first approved by the FDA on October of 2002. It was first approved in pill form, and then the pills were discontinued later on in favor of a sublingual film that is placed under the tongue and dissolved. Recently, the FDA announced plans for a Buprenorphine implant, which they believe will be a much more efficient way to provide medications to patients who need it for as long as six months at a time. Proponents of Suboxone often argue that those who use this medication are at a low risk for becoming dependent upon it, and that it if is misused, it results in less euphoric effects than other types of opioid drugs. When Suboxone is used correctly, and when it is used for short-term relief of withdrawal symptoms, it can:

  • Suppress the symptoms of opiate withdrawal
  • Reduce illegal opioid use
  • Block the effects of other opiates on the brain and body
  • Decrease cravings for opiates
  • Assist patients with remaining in treatment

The biggest issue with Suboxone is that it is often not used on a short-term basis. Instead, it is a drug that will be given as a part of a long-term maintenance plan. Those who are against the use of this drug claim that when it is used long-term, it actually takes the place of the drug it was meant to treat. Therefore, patients become addicted to Suboxone, and they never truly recover from their addictions at all. This is problematic because it only serves to facilitate the addiction instead of helping patients find ways to move out of being in an active addiction state.

Suboxone After Detox

How to Use Suboxone to Help with Withdrawal Symptoms

For someone who is in desperate need of help for an addiction to opiates, such as heroin or oxycodone, a drug like Suboxone sheds some hope on a situation that may feel rather hopeless to them. The idea that taking an opiate drug to treat an opiate addiction may seem almost unreal to them, and they often want to know when they can start to take Suboxone as well as how to take Suboxone in order to get relief from their withdrawal symptoms. It's possible that you're wondering the same things, and maybe you've even attempted to use drugs like methadone to help you with withdrawal symptoms in the past, and you're interested in using Suboxone because it promises better results.

Whether you're interested in learning about taking Suboxone after methadone, or you want to know the best ways to take this medication, it's important to get the right information from your doctor or from addiction treatment professionals.

Suboxone Use

In order for Suboxone to work for you, there are two things you need to know. First of all, it should only be taken for a short period of time. Suboxone works best when it is taken during the early stages of withdrawal. Taking it long term is very likely to end in an addiction. Secondly, your doctor will give you strict instructions about the best way to take Suboxone, and it's important for you to follow those instructions implicitly. Missing a dose of your medication is very likely to lead to an increase in the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.

Today, the most common way to take Suboxone is as a sublingual film, which is placed under the tongue and dissolved there. Most patients are instructed to use it either once or twice a day, based on their individual needs. If your dosage needs to be adjusted, that's something you should discuss with the doctor who prescribed it for you. No one should ever attempt to adjust their dosage of Suboxone on their own.

Using Suboxone for Addiction Treatment

Suboxone After Heroin: How Long to Wait Before Taking Suboxone

When you're first starting your recovery with Suboxone, it's so important to know when the right time for you to start taking it is. This will largely depend on the type of drug that you have been using. For example, if you're using heroin on a regular basis, there are a number of factors that you need to take into account. The prescribing physician will need to know:

  • How long you've been using heroin
  • The grade level of the heroin you use
  • How often you use heroin
  • The dosage amount of heroin that you use
  • The day and time of your last use

This information will be used to configure how long you have to wait before taking Suboxone. Using Suboxone after heroin can result in serious complications if you start taking it too early, and the same is true for other types of drugs. It depends on the half-life of the drug you were using, and Suboxone should only be taken when the previous drug is out of your bloodstream. Basically, doctors will go by the following information:

  • Heroin: Generally leaves the bloodstream in 12-24 hours
  • Oxymorphone: Generally leaves the bloodstream in 24-30 hours
  • Morphine: Generally leaves the bloodstream in 8-12 hours
  • Oxycodone and Hydrocodone: Generally leaves the bloodstream in 12-24 hours
  • Methadone: Generally leaves the bloodstream in 36 hours to a week

It's important to remember that you should not take Suboxone too soon. If you're looking for a way to tell when a drug has left your system, if you have started to experience withdrawal, that is a good indicator. That means you should not start taking Suboxone until you start to experience withdrawal.

Taking Suboxone Too Soon: Precipitated Withdrawal Symptoms

If you fail to wait the appropriate amount of time to start taking Suboxone, you could experience what is known as precipitated withdrawal symptoms. When you experience precipitated withdrawal, you're experiencing the quick onset of withdrawal symptoms that are brought on before the opioids you have been using are completely out of your bloodstream. Other opioid drugs are full agonists, which means that they effectively activate the opioid receptors in the brain and body. They block pain sensations, enhance your mood and produce a sensation of euphoria when they are abused. This is often referred to as being high.

Even though Suboxone is also an opiate, it is a partial opioid agonist, which means that even though it does activate the same opioid receptors as drugs like heroin and Vicodin, it doesn't activate them as much. When Suboxone is taken too soon, it will remove the full agonist from your system very quickly, which can be a great shock to your body. The result is withdrawal symptoms that occur very quickly, and they are also very uncomfortable.

It is very important for you to be completely honest about all of the drugs or substances you're using. Tell your doctor everything, even if it embarrasses you to admit that you've been mixing your opioid drugs with other drugs or with alcohol. If you aren't honest, there is a possibility that you could experience precipitated withdrawal symptoms even if you start Suboxone at the time your doctor indicates. Other substances can affect opioids, which might mean you go through precipitated withdrawal anyway.

How Long Does it Take for Suboxone to Work?

Suboxone typically stays in the body for about 24 hours, but this might vary, depending on the strength of your dosage. Some doctors feel that it is better to give their patients a lower dosage and have them take it twice a day, rather than depending on the drug to work for a full 24 hours. Once you take Suboxone, it will start to work within one and a half to two hours.

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms: What Can You Expect When You Stop?

Most people start taking Suboxone and they have great hopes that they're going to be able to get through the withdrawal phase, and stop taking their drugs of choice successfully. What they often don't count on is the fact that an addiction to Suboxone is very likely if they take the drug for a long period of time, even as directed. It's also likely if they choose to misuse the drug in any way.

Usually, people who find out they've become addicted to Suboxone are shocked, and as a result, they immediately stop taking it in hopes that they can just stop without any adverse effects. Of course, this is a false hope. Because Suboxone addiction is a very real situation, they are likely to go through withdrawal. Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and they can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bouts of depression
  • Irritability and anger
  • Intense cravings for Suboxone, or any opiate drug
  • Fevers and chills
  • Painful headaches that frequently recur
  • Muscle aches in the body
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Feeling lethargic during the day
  • Digestive problems
  • Profuse sweats
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Problems with concentration

Not surprisingly, these symptoms are very similar to what is experienced by those who are addicted to other types of opiate drugs.

Suboxone Withdrawals

The Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline Explained

The first 72 hours of Suboxone withdrawal are definitely the worst. During this time, most of the physical symptoms of withdrawal are experienced. Symptoms will generally peak sometime within the first three to seven days. After the first week, some of the symptoms will subside, but aches and general pains in the body will persist. You may also experience ongoing mood swings and insomnia.

By the second week, the worst part of Suboxone withdrawal is depression, which can become quite severe. It's even possible for some people to have fleeting suicidal thoughts because their depression has gotten so intense. This can continue for a few weeks, or even up to a month. After the one month mark, depression will persist, and intense cravings will continue to be an issue. It is during this time that many people will consider going back to using Suboxone, and this is known as a relapse. If using Suboxone isn't an option, they may revert back to using the opiates they were once using, or even another substance altogether in an effort to get some relief. When this happens, the addiction cycle starts all over again. Also, the individual is at a great risk for overdose if he or she goes back to using the same amounts of the drugs that were being used before.

The best way to avoid going through Suboxone withdrawal is to never begin taking this drug in the first place. Of course, that's not always possible. So many people are convinced that taking Suboxone is the solution they've been looking for when they have an opiate addiction. They're desperate for answers, and Suboxone seems to be the right way out. Fortunately, if you or someone you love has become addicted to Suboxone, you don't have to worry about stopping the use of this drug on your own. You can get professional support to assist you every step of the way.

Suboxone Rehab

Suboxone Rehabilitation: What is Rehab For?

Some experts view giving patients Suboxone as putting a bandaid on a much bigger problem. People usually turn to addictions to opiates as a way to cope with the problems they're facing in their everyday lives. They may be experiencing stress because of a work-related problem, they may have physical pain, or they may be having problems at home or within their marriages. Whatever the issue is, it's big enough for them to seek out some way to escape from it, and opioid drugs often provide that method of escape.

When patients are given Suboxone, they're not able to treat the underlying causes of their addictions, and that is why going to a Suboxone rehab is so important if you have become addicted to this medication. It's not enough to try a different medication (such as methadone) to try to get you off the Suboxone. Again, this is simply trading one addiction for another, because methadone itself is also very addictive. Other medications that are often used to help detox patients from addictive drugs can also result in subsequent addiction.

When you go to a Suboxone rehab, you'll find that they are very interested in helping you through the withdrawal symptoms you'll experience, but they also want to assist you with treating the reasons behind your addiction. You may have symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or another psychiatric illness that needs to be treated, and these can all contribute to and exacerbate an existing addiction. This is why going to Suboxone rehab is so important once you realize that you do have an addiction.

Heroin After Suboxone: Can you Get High After Taking Suboxone?

It is possible to get high after taking Suboxone, and unfortunately, many people end up relapsing back to their former drug use patterns once they start taking this particular drug. The reason for this is often because they never went to a drug rehab where they could get professional help for their addictions.

The hope is that if you have been using Suboxone that you won't be planning to use heroin or any other opioid drug to get high. If you do, please know that everyone is different as far as when they will be able to feel the effects of the drugs they choose to use. The effects of the Suboxone might be out of your system in as little as a day, or they could persist for several weeks. Attempting to use drugs after taking Suboxone puts you at a great risk for overdosing, and it should be avoided at all costs for your safety.

Signs of Suboxone Addiction

Suboxone Addiction: Signs and Symptoms to Be Aware of

It is actually very common for people to be in denial that they have an addiction to Suboxone, and there are a number of reasons for this. Quite often, doctors don't warn their patients about the possibility of becoming addicted to Suboxone, so most of them don't think that it's even possible. Secondly, people who are addicted to this medication will often not exhibit any real outward symptoms, unless they're purposefully abusing the drug.

Even so, if you happen to run out of your medication, or you miss a dose of it, you will start to notice some of the more common signs and symptoms of Suboxone addiction, and these might include:

  • Finding yourself obsessing about how you'll be able to access Suboxone
  • Feeling very tired throughout the day
  • Finding it difficult to sleep at night
  • Being withdrawn from your family or friends
  • Going through withdrawal symptoms
  • Losing interest in your normal activities
  • Having problems with keeping up on your responsibilities at work and home
  • Exhibiting the behaviors of lying and manipulation
  • Stealing money or drugs
  • Making frequent trips to the ER or various doctor's offices

Although you might not feel as though you're addicted to Suboxone, if you notice any of the above behaviors within yourself, it's important to consider that an addiction may have formed without you realizing it was happening.

Suboxone Treatment: Reasons You Need to Recover

Unless you get the necessary treatment for your Suboxone addiction, the issue will be ongoing in your life, and it may even eventually develop into additional addictions down the road. It is so important to discover what the real reasons were behind your original addiction so that you can heal from it, and unless that is done, you're likely to continue going further and further into your addictive behaviors.

Any type of drug addiction – whether it is to an illegal drug or to a medication like Suboxone – is very dangerous. It can keep you from doing so many things, and a few of these include:

  • Being able to save money because you're spending your money on drugs
  • Being able to be there for your family
  • Being able to have good relationships with your friends
  • Being able to advance in your career
  • Being able to enjoy good health
  • Being able to avoid experiencing legal problems that are related to drug use

The best gift you can give yourself is the gift of Suboxone rehab so that you can recover properly.

Professional Suboxone Detox: Step One in Recovery

Most people use Suboxone during opiate detox, and they're surprised to find that they then have to detox from Suboxone. This is a hard truth for some individuals to face, but it should be the very first step in a good addiction recovery program.

The best way to detox from Suboxone is to choose a holistic facility that does not rely upon any type of medication interference at all. These facilities will look at each of their patients as individuals and will administer the best type of recovery that will work for them. That might include tapering the dose of Suboxone, or it may not. It should include holistic detox and holistic rehab that will allow for a more natural recovery.

Suboxone Rehab: Methods Used in Getting Help for Your Addiction

When you go to Suboxone rehab, you'll find that there are a number of different methods that are used to help you recover from your addiction, and these include:

  • Meeting regularly with a therapist who will help you learn the reasons behind your addiction, and heal from them.
  • Group therapy, which allows for peer counseling, and is very effective in addiction recovery.
  • 12 Step programs, which will lead you through the various steps of recovery.
  • Nutrition and fitness programs to help you improve your overall physical health.
  • Family meetings, which are important because they help to repair relationships that have been harmed because of the addiction.

Suboxone Addiction Treatment is Available at Northpoint Recovery

When you suffer from an opiate addiction, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to get the right kind of treatment. Suboxone simply isn't the answer, even though there are many addiction treatment professionals who insist that it is. When you use Suboxone, you're actually risking trading one addiction for another one, and you're never really getting to the root cause of the problem behind your opiate addiction. Failing to address the reasons behind your addiction will only result in an eventual relapse, and if that occurs, you are at a great risk for overdosing, which can lead to death.

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we know how hopeful you were that Suboxone was going to be the answer for your addiction. So many people are, and they're usually quite surprised to learn that they've become addicted to the drug that was supposed to help them recover. If that's where you are right now, or if you have been knowingly abusing Suboxone because of your opiate addiction, the most important thing you can do is to get the right kind of professional help that will assist you. We can offer you that help, and our methods will ensure that you're able to focus on recovering from your addiction in a way that is holistic, without having to rely on any type of medication as a crutch.

Do you have a Suboxone addiction and are you interested in Suboxone rehab to help you recover? If so, please contact us today.

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Suboxone Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms and Tips