Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms and Addiction – Suboxone is a drug indicated for the treatment of opiate and opioid dependence that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Although Suboxone can be a very effective medication to aid in recovery from opiate dependence, it still has a potential for addiction. As a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone can result in similar withdrawal effects to other opioids if it is quit “cold turkey.”
Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can last for as long as a month, and symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches
- Insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Indigestion or digestive distress
- Drug cravings
From person to person, symptoms will vary in severity and duration, depending largely on how long users have been using Suboxone, as well as the average dosage of the medication.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms:
Usually, most physical withdrawal symptoms will abate after a month or so, although psychological dependence can still remain for much longer.
Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are the typically at their most severe in the first 72 hours after cessation, as this is when most physical symptoms are experienced. In the first week following discontinuation of Suboxone, symptoms most often subside to general body aches and pains, as well as insomnia and moodiness.
During week two, depression is often the most distressing symptom. After a month, users will probably still be experiencing strong cravings and some depression. This is the most susceptible time after discontinuing Suboxone use, as users have a high potential for relapse.
- 72 hours: Physical symptoms at their most severe
- 1 week: Body aches and pains, insomnia, and moodiness
- 2 weeks: Depression
- 1 month: Depression and intense cravings
Due to this prolonged withdrawal, it is critical for those who have stopped taking Suboxone contact a medical professional to aid in relapse prevention.
As noted, Suboxone is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid created to negate withdrawal symptoms that result from quitting use of heroin or other opioids such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist drug that as a standalone treatment is used to reverse an overdose of heroin or other opiates/opioids in progress. In Suboxone, its function is to suppress the euphoria or “high” that a user could potentially receive from Buprenorphine.
Suboxone is used as a means of weaning off opiates. When administered as directed and under the supervision of a physician or an addiction specialist, Suboxone can be an effective tool for helping a person stop using opioids without encountering severe withdrawal symptoms that result from going “cold turkey.”
Suboxone, however, like any other opioid-based drug, has some potential for abuse. Although it is available legally only by prescription, people can purchase it illicitly and those with actual prescriptions can still become addicted. While the drug does not produce the same euphoric high as other opiates, if used in large quantities, it can have a mind-altering effect.
Signs of Suboxone Addiction
When someone is addicted to Suboxone, they may not exhibit outstanding symptoms unless he or she has run out and is beginning to go through withdrawals. This may be the first clue there is a problem.
There are common behaviors that tend to coincide with substance addiction, and the following signs may indicate you or your loved one has a problem:
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Loss of interest in activities once deemed enjoyable
- Neglect of important responsibilities such as work and family
- Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
- Deception and manipulation
- Obsessive thinking regarding obtaining and using the drug
- Stealing or frequently borrowing money
- Doctor-shopping or frequent visits to the emergency department
Addiction is more than just a physical/chemical dependence on a substance – it’s also psychological. Cravings may manifest as physical symptoms while the person grapples with obsessive and compulsive thinking and behavior surrounding drug use.
Denial is extremely common, even when the user is confronted with clear evidence that there is a problem. Loved ones may become frustrated when trying to discuss it because the addict, in turn, becomes defensive and insists nothing is wrong or blames others for the problem.
Suboxone Addiction Side Effects
Suboxone addiction can result in a number of side effects, including the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Poor coordination
- Small pupils
- Poor memory
- Erratic moods and behavior
In addition, the use of Suboxone can cause significant risks to one’s health, such as central nervous system depression and overdose. Of note, most instances of overdose and respiratory distress tend to arise when the drug is used in conjunction with other depressants and psychoactive substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Important: If you are taking Suboxone as part of an opioid addiction treatment program, you should not be using any other drugs or alcohol. If you have been prescribed other medication, you should tell your physician or pharmacist that you are also taking Suboxone.
Suboxone Addiction Rehab Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with Suboxone addiction, treatment in a rehab center can help. Moreover, even after Suboxone withdrawal is complete, relapse is still a significant risk. The physical signs of withdrawal may be gone, but oftentimes, unbeknownst to the user, the psychological addiction is still very present. This failure to recognize that he or she continues to be in a very vulnerable state can trigger the person in recovery to use again, due to sheer overconfidence, if nothing else.
Residential (inpatient) rehab treatment can substantially increase the chance of success.
Rehab is effective for several reasons:
- It is a safe/secure space, and the patient is protected from drugs and the people who use them.
- When in rehab, the only responsibility a person has is to stay there and stay clean and focus on oneself.
- There are counselors available who can guide you through the many thoughts and feelings you will have – these early recovery emotions can contribute to relapse if you don’t have a supportive environment in which to turn.
- Patients will learn about addiction and its contributing factors, how to avoid triggers, and how to live life without drugs or alcohol.
- Patients meet others in recovery, build a support network, and learn to have fun while clean and sober.
- Patients often have co-existing mental health conditions that contribute to addiction such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other trauma and treatment can help you address these issues by addressing them concurrently.
Following detox, treatment typically begins with inpatient treatment that lasts for a month or longer. During this time, patients are assessed and a customized treatment plan is developed by medical and mental health care professionals. Patients receive evidence-based treatment such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.
After inpatient treatment has been completed, patients are encouraged to participate in intensive outpatient treatment, which includes many of the same therapies as inpatient rehab. Participants, however, are allowed to live off-site at a private residence or in a sober living environment while they re-adjust to the outside world free of drug abuse.
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong venture, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you get started and support you every step of the way!