How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone, a prescription medication that is classified as a partial opioid agonist, is composed of two active ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is considered a partial opioid agonist, which means it triggers the same receptors in the brain that other opioids do but does so without producing cognitive impairments. When consumed, buprenorphine interacts with the brain’s opiate receptors, which allows individuals to experience relief from drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms that generally accompany the absence of opioids.
Naloxone, the other active ingredient in Suboxone, is an opioid agonist. This medication is effective in stopping the negative effects of opioids on the body. When naloxone is present in a person’s system, individuals will no longer experience painful withdrawal symptoms that come with the cessation of opioid abuse. Additionally, their cravings for continued use will be diminished.
Advanced research has proven that the use of Suboxone in a medication assisted treatment program is safe and effective in treating opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Thorough research has shown that Suboxone is a highly effective method for treating opioid addiction. Those who have consumed Suboxone as a part of a medication assisted treatment program have reported that it was successful in lessening the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, as well as stopping nagging drug cravings. Using Suboxone does not cause individuals to experience heightened levels of euphoria, which means that while it is effective in treating opioid addiction, it is unlikely to be abused. Should an individual attempt to abuse Suboxone, however, he or she will be unable to attain the same high that would have otherwise been produced by other opioids, such as Vicodin or OxyContin.
Only you and your treatment provider can determine if Suboxone is the medication for you. However, keep in mind that research has shown that when this particular medication is incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan, individuals are often successful in maintaining the mental clarity needed to achieve lasting recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Enduring through the trials and tribulations of opioid addiction can be beyond challenging. Once an individual finds him or herself addicted to an opioid, he or she will undoubtedly experience withdrawal symptoms if his or her use is stopped suddenly. Knowing that withdrawal in lurking in the shadows is often enough to keep individuals using, thus perpetuating the cycle of abuse. When taking Suboxone, however, individuals can reduce their withdrawal symptoms, which allows them to view recovery as a much more viable option. Additionally, Suboxone lessens the intensity of cravings.
Suboxone can be an extremely effective tool in aiding individuals move towards a life of recovery. However, it is not the only tool available, as the inclusion of group and individual therapy offers added benefits that make the recovery process more fruitful for individuals. Participating in group therapy allows individuals the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences, all while learning that they are not alone in their situation. This can be critical to the recovery process, as individuals slowly start to feel less isolated and more confident in their ability to get sober. Individual therapy can be incredibly beneficial as well, as participating in individual counseling sessions can offer individuals a space to work through their issues and be heard.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction does not just impact the individual who is using; rather it impacts all those around him or her. If you have a loved one who is battling an opioid addiction and has decided to participate in a medication assisted treatment program, the most supportive thing you can do for him or her is stay involved in his or her recovery. You can also do the following:
- Educate yourself on medication assisted treatment and Suboxone so that you can begin to understand what your loved one is going through.
- Offer up encouragement to your loved one when it comes to attending appointments.
- Show your support by checking in with your loved one about how his or her therapy is going, how the medication is affecting him or her, and so on.
- Congratulate your loved one when he or she achieves small successes.
- Obtain support for yourself.
- Never forget that the path to recovery is often filled with obstacles and challenges. Always stay hopeful, and share your hope with your loved one when he or she seems to need it most.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program is an excellent first step towards putting an opioid addiction in the past. It is critical that when you enroll yourself in a program like this, that you are prepared to actively participate in the entire process. You must dedicate yourself to your journey. Some of the ways that you can yield success in treatment include:
- Following the directions provided to you by your physician and sticking to the recommendations he or she offers you regarding your care.
- Consistently attending all appointments to obtain Suboxone.
- Adhering to the guidelines that you are offered, including refraining from alcohol use while on Suboxone.
- Actively engaging in group therapy sessions so that you can obtain the greatest benefit from these sessions.
- Remaining open and honest with your counselor during therapy sessions. He or she is not there to judge you, rather he or she is trying to help you reap the benefits of therapy.
- Speaking up about any problems, concerns, or questions that you might have while taking Suboxone. It is imperative that you always keep your physician in the loop so that he or she can monitor your process and make any necessary adjustments to your dosage.
- Abstaining from the use of other opioids while on Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
Like other medications, it is possible for Suboxone to cause side effects. Some examples of side effects caused by this medication include:
- Generalized pain
- Attention disturbances
- Back and abdominal pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Numb mouth
- Coordination problems
- Painful tongue
- Blurred vision
- Runny nose
If you experience any of these side effects, report them to your physician so that he or she can keep track of your progress, as well as make any alterations needed to protect your health.
At Southeastern Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our devoted and experienced staff provides understanding and personalized care for each and every patient who comes to us for help. We are pleased to discuss all of our methods of treatment, as well as answer any questions you or a loved one might have about Suboxone. Feel free to contact us today.