Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms, Detox + Treatment
Suboxone is a medication used to treat opioid addiction and is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. These drugs combined help people who suffer from opioid addiction with cravings; however, it has been discovered that many who use Suboxone to treat opioid addiction can become addicted to the drug itself. Suboxone helps people get off opioids faster than traditional treatment, but because of the ability to become dependent on Suboxone, one will need to seek Suboxone detoxification to rid themselves of dependence on the drug.
Suboxone withdrawals are similar to other opioids. Most often, withdrawal symptoms are not deadly but are extremely uncomfortable.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
The physical dependence on Suboxone can cause Suboxone withdrawal symptoms if a patient stops cold turkey due to developed tolerance. Tolerance means that someone must take more of the drug over time to feel the same euphoric effects. In addition, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can last as long as a month. These symptoms can include:
- 1. Nausea and vomiting
- 2. Diarrhea
- 3. Headaches and muscle aches
- 4. Sudden changes in heart rate
- 5. Abnormal body temperature
- 6. Dehydration
- 7. Cravings
- 8. Sleep disorders
- 9. Mood swings or irritability
- 10. Digestive issues
In order to prevent Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, it is best to gradually decrease the dosage. It is best practice to reach out to a medical professional for them to supervise the Suboxone detox.
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Suboxone Detox and Withdrawal Timeline
- 1. Breathing problems
- 2. Severe allergic reaction
- 3. Unconsciousness or coma
- 4. Severe withdrawal symptoms
If dependence on Suboxone occurs and a patient decides to get off of the medication, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will occur. There are several factors to the timeline and how severe the Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will be, some of these factors include: quitting cold turkey versus tapering off, length of use, age, and other medications combined with Suboxone.
A general timeline of the Suboxone withdrawal is as follows:
24 Hours After Last Use: Suboxone withdrawal symptoms begin after a full day without the drug. One may experience general discomfort, anxiety, and depression.
72 Hours After Last Use: This is when the Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will peak. Some of the worst effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, and fever.
One Week After Last Use: At one week, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst; however, this is also when there will be a turning point in the withdrawal process and most of the effects will be better or even gone by the end of the seventh day. Sometimes the psychological factors can linger.
Two weeks After Last Use: Some patients will experience the psychological effects that reside from the Suboxone withdrawal, which can include depression, anxiety, and urges or cravings.
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How Does Suboxone Work?
Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphone is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it is a substance that binds to the opiate receptors in the brain and activates some of them while blocking other effects. Buprenorphine is designed to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms from opiates without producing euphoria. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means that it blocks the effects of opioids. The addition of Naloxone in Suboxone is to help reverse the effects of opioids and present abuse of the medication.
What to Expect During A Medically-Supervised Suboxone Detox?
For those who have never undergone substance abuse treatment, seeking help may be scary or unnerving. Detoxing on your own has a low success rate. Following is a snapshot of what undergoing treatment for Suboxone would look like:
- 1. Between 12-24 hours the Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will begin. They resemble the flu in many ways, which can include body aches, nausea, vomiting, etc. mixed with cravings and sleep disturbances. This is when the psychological effects may begin as well, which can include depression, anxiety, and mood swings. If you’re admitted into a Suboxone detox program, staff will assess you to understand your history, and administer medications to help alleviate any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
- 2. Suboxone withdrawal symptoms may last for a few weeks to months. A detox program typically lasts between five to seven days and you receive round-the-clock care from a medical provider. Symptoms are worse and peak within 72 hours to a week. By the end of the seventh day, some of the symptoms may begin to lessen, but some psychological symptoms may persist.
- 3. A Suboxone detox plan typically includes medical interventions combined with counseling, therapy, and other support services to address both the physical and psychological effects of substance abuse. Typically, medical staff slowly tapers you off the Suboxone to help mitigate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Alternatives to Suboxone
There are several drugs that are utilized in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). They are designed to relieve or curb withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or drug addiction. The following are substitutes for Suboxone:
- 1. Methadone: historically, this has been the primary medication for people with Opioid Use Disorder. Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist which reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone also blocks the effect of short-acting opioids such as heroin and semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. By law, only SAMHSA-certified treatment programs can dispense this medication.
- 2. Buprenorphine: this is one of the two medications combined with Suboxone. It is the first medication to treat Opioid Use Disorder. Physician offices can dispense Buprenorphine. It is a partial agonist that diminishes the effects of dependence on opiates.
- 3. Naltrexone: this is an FDA-approved medication to help with both alcohol detox and opioid use disorders. Naltrexone is not an opioid and has no addictive effects. It is designed to bind and block receptors, which suppress the euphoric and sedative effects of both opiates and alcohol.
How To Handle Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
Going through Suboxone detox and withdrawal is incredibly brave. It takes courage and effort to want to start fresh. Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can be stressful, and oftentimes, you may feel like you want to give in and go back to using Suboxone. There are numerous coping skills to help you get through this including:
1. Group Therapy: Partaking in counseling services or group therapy can help you connect with like-minded people who are going through the same thing as you.
2. Staying Connected: Staying connected to family, friends, mentors, and support groups can help with encouragement and emotional support.
3. Acceptance: Acceptance is the answer to most of our problems. Accepting that withdrawal is the hardest part of the recovery process is key. Maintaining a positive outlook can help replace feelings of depression or anger.
What to Expect After Suboxone Detox?
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