How It Works and Is It Safe?
Classified as a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone is prescription medication that is composed of a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine itself is a partial opioid agonist which works on the same receptors in the brain that opioids do, yet without producing the full effects of opioid narcotics. When buprenorphine is ingested, it essentially takes over the brain’s opiate receptors, giving the individual a sense of reprieve from their cravings and symptoms of withdrawal that would typically be experienced in the absence of opioids without actually having to consume the problematic opioid that led to his or her addiction.
Naloxone is considered an opioid antagonist, otherwise referred to an as opioid blocker, and works by counteracting the negative effects that opioids have on the body. When an individual consumes Suboxone, he or she is denied the painful and uncomfortable symptoms that accompany opioid withdrawal and is free from the all-consuming cravings for the drug that typically overpower opioid addicts.
Thorough research has proven that Suboxone is both safe and effective when used properly as part of a medication assisted treatment program for opioid abuse and addiction.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Extensive research has demonstrated that Suboxone is effective in successfully treating opioid dependence. Individuals who have used Suboxone reported that the medication succeeded in suppressing withdrawal symptoms as well as minimizing the cravings for opioids. Suboxone does not elicit feelings of euphoria, which means that, in addition to being a successful treatment option, it also is less likely to be abused by clients than is methadone, which does contain euphoric-inducing effects. Additionally, if an individual should try to abuse Suboxone by taking more than is prescribed, he or she will not achieve the same desired high that he or she would when abusing opioids like Vicodin or OxyContin.
Whether or not Suboxone will work best for you can only be determined by you and your treatment provider. But studies have shown that, when this medication is an active component in an individual’s overall treatment plan, he or she is able to find the clearness of mind necessary for fully focusing on healing and recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Overcoming an addiction to opioids can be an extremely challenging feat. Once an individual has become addicted to an opioid, he or she will inevitably experience symptoms of withdrawal should use of that substance suddenly stop. The knowledge that that withdrawal period is looming ahead of them is often enough to keep abusers of this substance entrapped in the cycle of addiction. With the use of Suboxone, however, such withdrawal symptoms can be prevented, making recovery seem like a much more viable option. In addition to warding off the symptoms of withdrawal, Suboxone also helps to suppress a person’s cravings for opioids.
While the use of Suboxone itself can be an incredibly powerful tool in helping individuals overcome an addiction to opioids, the implementation of group and individual counseling as an added component works to makes the process one that is likely to be even more successful in the long-term. Engaging in group therapy affords people the benefit of learning from the experiences of others while also coming to discover that they are not alone in the struggles that they face. This can be a crucial element to the recovery process as individuals come to feel less alone and more confident in their ability to succeed in recovery. Individual therapy benefits people by providing them with time where they meet in a confidential setting to discuss any concerns that they have, while also tracking their progress in treatment. This, too, can be a highly beneficial component of the therapeutic recovery process as it affords individuals a safe environment where they can be and feel heard.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction does not just affect the person consumed by the compulsion to use the substance, but it affects his or her family members and loved ones as well. If you have a loved one who is struggling with an addiction to opioids and has chosen to take part in a medication assisted treatment program, the best thing that you can do for him or her is to be a willingly active part of his or her recovery process. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Educate yourself on Suboxone and medication assisted treatment options so that you have knowledge of what your loved one is experiencing throughout his or her treatment process.
- Encourage your loved one to be diligent in going to any appointments that he or she has.
- Demonstrate your support by consistently asking your loved one how his or her therapy is going, how the medication is affecting him or her, etc.
- Congratulate your loved one on small successes.
- Remember that the road to lasting recovery can be a long and bumpy one, ripe with setbacks along the way. Remain hopeful and share that hope with your loved one, especially in times when he or she seems frustrated or overwhelmed.
- Seek out your own support.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Taking part in a medication assisted treatment program is a wonderful first step towards overcoming an opioid addiction. However, it is imperative that, upon taking part in such a program, you play an active role in the therapeutic process as a whole. You must commit to your own recovery. Here are some tips that can assist you in being successful during this journey:
- Follow any and all directions given by your treatment provider and abide by any recommendations that he or she offers in regards to the treatment process as a whole.
- Remain consistent in showing up for appointments to receive the Suboxone.
- Adhere to any guidelines that are offered, such as refraining from consuming alcohol while taking this medication.
- Be an active part of group therapy sessions, allowing you to get the most of the experience.
- Commit to being open and honest with the counselor that you work with during individual therapy sessions. He or she is not there to judge you, but to help you. Your honesty will only serve to benefit you in the long run.
- Voice any questions, concerns, or problems that may arise while taking Suboxone. This is important in order to allow your treatment provider to properly monitor your progress. By voicing any issues that arise, appropriate adjustments to the dosage of your medication can be made.
- Refrain from using any type of opioid substance while taking Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
As is the possibility when consuming any type of medication, there are possible side effects that can arise when a person takes Suboxone. Examples of various side effects that have been known to occur as a result of the consumption of Suboxone are listed below:
- Generalized pain
- Low blood pressure
- Numb mouth
- Painful tongue
- Blurred vision
- Runny nose
- Coordination problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Back and abdominal pain
- Attention disturbances
The presence of any of these side effects should be reported to your doctor so that he or she can keep track of any alterations in your physical health and so that appropriate adjustments can be made, if necessary.
At Indiana Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our knowledgeable staff is dedicated to providing compassionate and individualized treatment to each and every client that we meet. We would be happy to discuss our methods of treatment with you and will do our best to answer any questions that you may have regarding Suboxone and the possible role that it could play in your recovery journey. Please feel to contact us today.