How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist that is prescribed to individuals who are struggling with an addiction to opioids. Comprised of buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone is a safe and effective medication when used within a medication assisted treatment program.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that works with the brain’s opiate receptors to reduce the intense cravings and painful symptoms that accompany withdrawal. Buprenorphine utilizes the same brain receptors as opioids without creating the euphoric high that accompanies opioid abuse.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that works by offsetting the unwanted effects that opioids have on the body. When a patient is given Suboxone, they avoid the painful symptoms that take place during opioid withdrawal, while also experiencing less intense cravings for additional opioids.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Research has confirmed that Suboxone is an effective and safe way to treat an addiction to opioids. Since Suboxone does not produce the euphoric high that is associated with opioid use, patients are able to focus on treatment without experiencing the painful symptoms of withdrawal or the all-consuming cravings for additional opioids. If a patient attempts to abuse Suboxone by overdosing, they will not achieve a euphoric high as they normally would by abusing opioids, such as OxyContin or heroin.
Studies confirm that when Suboxone is used within a comprehensive treatment plan, patients are able to achieve the mental clarity required to fully focus on their recovery. By working with your treatment provider, you can determine if Suboxone is the correct route for you to take.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Overcoming an addiction to opioids can be an overwhelming task. Once addicted to an opioid, individuals will experience withdrawal symptoms if the opioid use suddenly ceases. Because of this, many individuals will continue using opioids to avoid having to go through the uncomfortable process of withdrawal. By utilizing Suboxone, however, patients can avoid experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings for additional opioids. Recovery is achievable once Suboxone is incorporated into their treatment regime.
Although Suboxone can help patients overcome their addiction to opioids, the emotional component of addiction must also be addressed in order to maximize the chances for long-term recovery. By implementing group and individual counseling into a treatment plan, patients are able to gain the skills necessary to achieve sobriety. Individual therapy provides patients with the opportunity to discuss their struggles, progress, and treatment in a one-on-one setting with a dedicated counselor. This provides the opportunity for patients’ progress to be individually tracked and monitored to ensure that steps forward are being made. Group therapy allows individuals to come together in a counselor-led session with other patients who are also struggling with addiction. Patients gain support and encouragement from others who truly understand the struggles associated with opioid addiction. Group therapy also affords patients with a safe environment in which to openly communicate any questions or concerns that they may have.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Since addiction touches all who are within its reach, it is important to seek help for yourself if someone you love is struggling with an addiction to opioids. If someone you love is taking part in a medication assisted treatment program, the following are important tips to keep in mind as they progress in their treatment:
- Learn about medication assisted treatment as a whole, as well as Suboxone as a potential medication option. This will provide you with information and understanding of what your loved one may be going through throughout the treatment process.
- Encourage your loved one to attend any appointments that are scheduled.
- Show your support by asking how your loved one’s therapy is progressing, how their medication is working, etc.
- Praise your loved one on all successes.
- Remind yourself that the road to lasting recovery may not always be a smooth one. Time and patience are required for both yourself and your loved one. Share your optimism with your loved one especially when he or she feels discouraged.
- Find support for yourself.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Partaking in a medication assisted treatment program is a great first step to take to defeat an addiction to opioids. In order for treatment to be successful, you must play an active role in the entire process. Committing to your recovery is imperative for successful long-term sobriety. Below are some things to keep in mind during treatment:
- Obey all instructions given by your treatment provider, while also adhering to any suggestions they may have regarding treatment.
- Remain consistent in showing up for appointments to receive the Suboxone.
- Follow any guidelines provided, such as avoiding alcohol and other drugs while on Suboxone.
- Actively play a role in group therapy sessions.
- Pledge to openly and honestly communicate with your counselor during individual therapy sessions. You are not being judged or criticized and your counselor is there to help you. Dishonesty will only hinder your progress.
- Openly communicate any questions or concerns that may take place while on Suboxone. By discussing your treatment openly, your healthcare provider will be able to monitor your progress, as well as make any adjustments to your dosage.
- Do not consume any type of opioid while on Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
As is true when taking any form of medication, side effects can possibly arise when taking Suboxone. Suboxone has several known side effects, which can include:
- Numb mouth
- Generalized pain
- Blurred vision
- Low blood pressure
- Painful tongue
- Runny nose
- Coordination problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Back and abdominal pain
- Attention disturbances
Please contact your physician right away to report the presence of any of these side effects. If necessary, alterations to your dosage can be made to ensure your health and safety.
The dedicated and compassionate staff at Sandhills Comprehensive Treatment Center is here to provide individualized treatment to every patient that comes through our doors. We welcome the opportunity to openly discuss our treatment methods as well as to answer any questions that you may have regarding the use of Suboxone. We look forward to speaking with you.