How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone is a prescription medication that is a partial opioid agonist. This medication is comprised of both buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist itself, and works by triggering the exact same receptors in the brain that opioids do. Unlike opioids like heroin or prescription pain medications, buprenorphine will not cause any dangerous effects after consuming it. When buprenorphine enters into a person’s system, it allows the individual to feel alleviation from symptoms and cravings that would otherwise come to fruition when the cessation of opioid abuse occurs.
Naloxone, the other primary ingredient in Suboxone, works by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. This means that the presence of this medication can reverse the damaging effects of opioids on the body. When an individual ingests this medication, he or she is no longer at risk for going through opioid withdrawal, and is able to control his or her once over-powering cravings for opioids.
Extensive research has proven that Suboxone is safe and effective when used as prescribed within a medication assisted treatment program for opioid dependency.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Thorough research shows that Suboxone is extremely successful in treating opioid dependency. Those who have included Suboxone into their medication assisted treatment have experienced a decrease in withdrawal symptoms, as well as less intense cravings for opioids. Suboxone does not bring on feelings of extreme euphoria, making it less likely to be abused by patients. Furthermore, if an individual attempts to abuse Suboxone by consuming more than prescribed, he or she will be unable to become high as he or she would through abusing opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin.
Whether or not Suboxone will be the best medication for you can only be determined by you and your physician. However, studies have shown that when Suboxone is included into an individual’s treatment plan, he or she is able to obtain the clarity of mind required to focus on recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Succeeding over an opioid addiction can be tremendously challenging. As soon as an individual has become dependent on opioids, he or she will go through withdrawal if he or she stops using. Knowing that this will occur is often enough to keep individuals using, thus continuing the dangerous cycle of substance abuse. When Suboxone is included into the picture, however, withdrawal symptoms can be avoided fully, allowing recovery to appear to be a much more viable option. Not only can Suboxone help control withdrawal symptoms, but it can also help curb cravings for opioid use.
While Suboxone can be extremely helpful in allowing individuals to defeat opioid addictions, the implementation of group and individual therapy can help individuals yield even more success during their treatment. Participating in group therapy allows individuals to learn from the experiences of others, all while seeing that they are not in this fight alone. This can be imperative to the process of recovery, as individuals begin feeling less isolated and more confident in themselves and their ability to recover. Individual therapy benefits patients in allowing them the space to work with a counselor who can help monitor their progress. This can also be beneficial to the process of recovery, as it helps individuals feel comfortable in an environment where they can be heard.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Addiction does not just impact the individual who is using; it also impacts his or her family members and friends as well. If you have a loved one who is participating in a medication assisted treatment program for an opioid addiction, the most important thing you can do for him or her is to actively engage yourself in his or her treatment. To do so, keep the following in mind:
- Obtain an education on Suboxone and medication assisted treatment so that you can understand what your loved one is going through during his or her recovery process.
- Motivate your loved one to keep going to all appointments he or she has.
- Show your support by always asking your loved one how he or she is doing in therapy, with his or her medication, and more.
- Applaud your loved one when he or she achieves small successes.
- Never forget that the journey towards establishing a lasting recovery is long and filled with obstacles and setbacks. Always remain hopeful and share that hope with your loved one, especially when he or she is struggling with frustrations or stress.
- Obtain support for yourself.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in medication assisted treatment is an excellent first step towards achieving a lasting recovery from opioid addiction. However, it is important to understand that when you begin a program such as this, you must actively partake in your therapeutic process as a whole. You must stay dedicated to your recovery. Some of the many ways in which you can do this include:
- Adhere to the directions supplied to you by your treatment provider and follow the recommendations he or she offers regarding your care.
- Consistently show up for all appointments to obtain your Suboxone.
- Stick to the guidelines that are provided to you, including steering clear from alcohol while on this medication.
- Actively engage in group therapy sessions so both you and others can get the most out of it.
- Dedicate yourself to being open and honest with your counselor so that he or she can help you to the best of his or her ability. Being honest will only allow you to obtain more benefits from your care.
- Speak up about concerns, problems, or questions that you might have while on Suboxone. Doing so can allow your provider to continually monitor your progress, as well as make any necessary adjustments to the dosage of your medication.
- Do not use other opioids while on Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
Similar to the consumption of any other medication, a number of side effects can develop when an individual takes Suboxone. Some of the many side effects that have been known to develop when Suboxone is taken can include:
- Numb mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Generalized pain
- Painful tongue
- Blurred vision
- Runny nose
- Attention disturbances
- Back and abdominal pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Coordination problems
If any of these side effects occur, report them to your physician so he or she can keep track of your progress and make any adjustments to your medication if needed.
At Northeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our skilled staff is devoted to offering compassionate and personalized treatment to each patient who seeks us out for treatment. We are happy to talk with you about the methods of care we provide, as well as answer any questions that you or someone you love might have regarding Suboxone. Please contact us right now.