How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist composed of a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine. This prescription medication is given during medication assisted treatment to lower cravings and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine works with the same brain receptors as opioids do without producing the same effects as narcotics would. When taken, buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist, works with the brain’s opiate receptors to give the patient relief from any cravings or withdrawal symptoms that would normally take place in the absence of opioids.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist (also called an “opioid blocker”) that works by offsetting any adverse effects that an opioid may have on the body. When Suboxone is taken, patients will not experience any painful cravings or withdrawal symptoms.
Research has proven that when taken under medical supervision in a medication assisted treatment program, Suboxone is an extremely safe and effective treatment option.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
Research has proven that Suboxone is a safe and effective way to treat opioid dependence. Patients who have been prescribed Suboxone have advised that it helped lessen withdrawal symptoms, while also lessening cravings for additional opioids. Since patients will not experience any euphoric feelings while on Suboxone, there is less of a chance that the medication will be abused during treatment. Furthermore, if more Suboxone is taken than is prescribed, individuals will not achieve the sought after high that they would normally experience when opioids like Vicodin or OxyContin are taken.
Studies have shown that when Suboxone is used as a main component of an individual’s treatment plan, patients are able to achieve the mental clarity required to fully focus on their recovery. By openly discussing treatment options with your treatment provider, patients are able to decide if the use of Suboxone is appropriate or not for their individual background and their specific needs.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Defeating an addiction to opioids can be extremely overwhelming. Once addicted to an opioid, individuals will eventually experience the symptoms of withdrawal if the use of the opioid suddenly ceases. These painful symptoms often force individuals back into using the opioid. By incorporating Suboxone into a treatment plan, these painful withdrawal symptoms can be avoided, which makes recovery achievable. Suboxone also works to prevent individuals from experiencing cravings for additional opioids.
Although the use of Suboxone can be extremely helpful in aiding individuals during recovery, incorporating therapeutic interventions into treatment allows patients to focus on the emotional components of addiction as well. By utilizing both group and individual therapy, patients are given a higher chance of achieving long-term sobriety. Group therapy allows individuals to come together in a counselor-led session to safely discuss their progress, setbacks, and other issues amongst other individuals who truly understand the struggles of addiction. Patients create a strong network amongst their peers gain encouragement and support from others who firsthand understand the strength of an opioid addiction. Individual therapy sessions allow patients to openly discuss their treatment in a one-on-one setting. These confidential sessions allow patient’s progress to be tracked, as well as any personal questions or concerns to be addressed.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Since opioid addiction affects more than just the individual who is physically using, it is important to understand how to support someone you love as he or she receives the treatment that is needed for recovery. If someone you love is receiving treatment, it is important to keep the following points in mind:
- Learn about Suboxone, as well as the other medication assisted treatment options, so that you can gain a better understanding of what your loved one is going through during his or her treatment process.
- Encourage your loved one to continuously attend meetings or appointments that may be scheduled.
- Show your support by asking your loved one how his or her therapy is progressing, how his or her medication is affecting him or her, etc.
- Praise your loved one on small successes.
- Remind yourself that the road to long-term recovery can be time-consuming and turbulent that can include setbacks along the way. But, during these times of frustration, you must always encourage your loved one to remain optimistic and hopeful.
- Obtain your own support.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Participating in a medication assisted treatment program is a fantastic first step towards achieving recovery. It is necessary, however, that you actively take part in the recovery process as a whole. You must be fully committed to the entire journey toward sobriety. Some key options to keep in mind during this journey include:
- Obey all directions given to you by your treatment provider, while also listening to any suggestions that may be provided regarding the treatment process as a whole.
- Consistently show up to appointments to receive your Suboxone.
- Observe any rules that are put in place, such as not using alcohol while taking Suboxone.
- Learn from the experience of group therapy by actively playing a role in sessions.
- Pledge to be truthful and open with your counselor during individual therapy sessions. You will not be judged by them, as they are there to help you, not hinder you. Honesty will benefit you in your long-term recovery.
- Openly communicate any questions, issues, or concerns that you may have while taking Suboxone. This is imperative to ensure that your progress is correctly monitored. Adjustments to your dosages can be made accordingly.
- Do not use any type of opioid while taking Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
As is a risk when taking any form of medication, there are potential side effects that can take place when a person is on Suboxone. The following have been known to occur while on Suboxone:
- Generalized pain
- Low blood pressure
- Numb mouth
- Back and abdominal pain
- Attention disturbances
- Coordination problems
- Painful tongue
- Blurred vision
- Irregular heartbeat
If any of these side effects take place, it is imperative that you report them to your physician so that he or she is able to keep track of them, as well as make the appropriate adjustments when necessary.
At Western Washington Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our compassionate and dedicated staff is here to provide individualized treatment to every patient who walks through our doors. Please contact us today to further discuss the treatment we offer, as well as to ask any questions you may have regarding the use of Suboxone in your future treatment. Help is just a phone call away.