The Truth of Suboxone Abuse
Suboxone: What is it?
Suboxone is a drug commonly used to assist opiate addicts with weaning themselves off of other substances, and is a powerful combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone, both created to combat serious effects of opioid addiction.
- Buprenorphine– a synthetic opiate created to prevent withdrawal symptoms that come from ceasing use of heroin or other opioids like Oxycontin
- Naloxone– drug that suppresses the euphoria or “high” that a user may get from Buprenorphine
When used as directed under medical supervision or through monitoring at in drug treatment program Suboxone can serve as an effective tool for helping someone get off of opiates without the severe withdrawal symptoms associated with going “cold turkey.”
But suboxone also has a high risk for being abused itself, and is less securely controlled than Methadone, another drug used to treat opiate addiction.
By law suboxone is only available by prescription, but even when legally prescribed this medication still has the potential to develop into an addiction. Ironically it is similar to how some people develop dependence for Oxycontin, which is one of the drugs it is used to taper off of.
Like any other prescription only drug, people are able to purchase suboxone illegally on the street, making it even more volatile for those taking it.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that the drug does not cause the same “high” as other opiates, but if used in large quantities it can create mind-altering effects, which contribute to their abuse.
Suboxone: Side Effects
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Suboxone abuse has a number of side effects which include but are not limited to:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Poor coordination
- Small pupils
- Poor memory
- Erratic moods and behavior
In addition to these side effects, use of Suboxone can cause risks to one’s health, including but not limited to:
- Depressed respiratory activity
Suboxone: Drug Dependence
It is important to note that opiates are physically addictive, even when used as directed, so using them for an extended length of time increases possibility of physical addiction. Suboxone is often abused in addition to other drugs such as:
- Other opiates
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax)
This makes the presence of suboxone addiction difficult to detect. People addicted to suboxone may not even show severe symptoms. Certain behaviors frequently exist with addictive using, including:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of interest
- Difficulty maintaining responsibilities
- Excessive sleepiness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lying and manipulating
- Obsessive use of suboxone
- Doctor shopping
- Frequent visits to the emergency room
Physical dependence on the drug isn’t the only part of addiction. Psychological behavior is also disrupted in active drug abuse, and cravings may manifest themselves as physical symptoms while the user struggles with obsessive and compulsive thinking.
Suboxone: Withdrawal Symptoms
Even though suboxone is marketed to help treat withdrawals of opiates, suddenly ceasing suboxone use can create its own withdrawals that can range from discomfort to intense.
For someone abusing Suboxone, or stops taking it without tapering off their dosage, withdrawal symptoms like with any other opiate can include:
- Muscle and body aches
- Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
- Intense Cravings
- Sweating and chills
- Inability to concentrate
Different people may experience these in intensity and volume differently depending on how long the drug has been taken and usual dose.
Subxone clinics of course exist for a reason, because opiate withdrawals can be very severe and unpleasant.
It is not uncommon for an addict to feel like they will die if they can’t get more of the drug, along with other aspects of mood swings and seemingly irrational emotional behavior, so healthy support is essential during suboxone detox.
It is advisable to seek medical help when choosing to cut ties with a suboxone clinic, because of the range of side-effects and the severity of the symptoms which sometimes cause an addict to relapse early in the detox phase.
Suboxone: Addiction Treatment
Residential drug addiction treatment is probably one of the best options for someone struggling with suboxone addiction. Suboxone is a drug, period. There is no arguing the effects of the dangers of suboxone, and various aspects of treatment can address some of those dangers.
Medical assistance and therapeutic resources can be central to the recovery process, as well as helping to cultivate a strategy for continued sobriety while developing support groups.
Dual diagnosis treatment can be huge for addicts trying to recover. Some may be suffering from another mental health disorder that could affect their recovery unless acknowledged and treated along with their substance abuse, such as:
- Other trauma
These are especially common among addicts. Treatment can help you address these issues, while giving an individual a safe environment to progressively combat the symptoms of their addiction.
Having access to a trained medical staff can help to ensure the safest and most comfortable detox process, while continued monitoring of health effects can keep you on the best track physically after quitting a suboxone clinic. Residential treatment programs will typically make this available to you throughout your stay in a secured environment.
Discontinuing suboxone maintenance can often mean the difference between temporarily pacifying addiction and having a fulfilled and transformative recovery. We want to be a part of that process. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588