As the drug epidemic worsens in our country and around the world, many treatment providers are turning toward other philosophies and modalities to treat drug abuse, especially that of opioid addiction. The more traditional methods of therapy and counseling are beginning to fall by the wayside and are being replaced with what is known as, “evidence-based treatment” and “medication-assisted treatment.” Although the evidence of Suboxone and other maintenance programs point toward lower death rates, the evidence also fails to showcase the horrifying toll these medications take on the individual when used for a prolonged period of time. Particularly, Suboxone withdrawal is a very real and painful aspect to medication-assisted treatment, yet is rarely spoken about. In this article, we will explain why Suboxone withdrawal happens, the signs and symptoms, and ultimately, how to prevent it.
How To Know If You Are Suffering From Suboxone Withdrawal
Believe it or not, Suboxone withdrawal can happen to anyone that is taking the medication for an extended period of time. Some may not understand this, simply based on the fact that many promote this drug as an answer to opioid addiction. How could a medication that is intended to aid in the withdrawal and dependence of opioids, create withdrawal itself? The truth of the matter is, Suboxone, although a partial opioid, is an opioid nonetheless. One of the two main ingredients found in this medicine, buprenorphine, interacts with the same opioid receptors in the brain as heroin or prescription opiates do. Although the drug does not produce the same euphoric effects (high) as those of illicit opioids, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are comparable, and sometimes last longer than heroin withdrawal.
How can you tell if you are suffering from Suboxone withdrawal? Firstly, if you are asking yourself this question it is likely you are. Have you been prescribed Suboxone for a prolonged period of time? This can range from 2 weeks to several years, depending on the person. Furthermore, have you suddenly stopped taking your medication for some reason? Whether you have weaned down from a high dose or have stopped cold turkey. And lastly, are you experiencing similar symptoms to those of heroin/opiate withdrawal and/or the flu? If your answer is yes to these questions, then you may in fact be experiencing Suboxone withdrawal.
Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal Include:
- Cold sweats
- Sleep disturbance/Insomnia
- Muscle tension/cramps/aches
- Excessive yawning
- Dilated pupils
How To Prevent Suboxone Withdrawal
Unfortunately, there is no magic recipe to prevent Suboxone withdrawal, other than to remain abstinent from the drug and to seek other forms of treatment that do not involve addictive medication. Nevertheless, we know this is not always a possibility for every opioid user in existence, especially due to the fact that many states and policymakers are turning toward this medication to assist in curbing the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, dependence is an inevitable truth for many across the country, as providers look to keep patients on Suboxone for longer periods of time. This push is a reaction to statistics revealing that medication-assisted treatment lowers the potential for overdose death.
Although it may certainly serve its purpose in regards to lowering the death rate, it does not address the underlying issues of addiction. Suboxone, and other medications, can in fact be considered useful tools for harm reduction, but they do nothing to treat the mental, emotional, spiritual, and clearly, physical aspects of addiction. Critics will argue that these medications are used in conjunction with counseling and therapy, but in reality, that portion of treatment is not always regulated as it should be. Additionally, even when it is and patients are mandated to attend therapy sessions while on Suboxone, physical dependence is still formed and in turn, the potential for withdrawal increases.
We are not naïve to the fact that many will still continue to take or be prescribed Suboxone. As this happens, more patients will find that this form of treatment has been merely a replacement for their addiction, and will need treatment and detoxification for Suboxone. We want you to know that there is no shame in finding yourself dependent on this chemical and suffering through Suboxone withdrawal. It has happened to many before you and will unfortunately continue to transpire for quite some time after you. Help and specialized treatment programming is available if you have found yourself dependent on Suboxone. Please remember that you do not have to go through this time alone, nor should you attempt to detox yourself cold turkey. If you are experiencing Suboxone withdrawal, please seek the help of medical and addictions professionals today.
Contact Clearbrook For Suboxone Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you love is currently dependent on Suboxone and wants to be free from ALL mood and mind altering substances, we can help you. At Clearbrook, we specialize in treating Suboxone withdrawal and addiction, and have crafted customized treatment programming to address the issues associated with the dependence of this drug. From specific medical and detox protocols to individualized clinical care, you will be provided with the tools necessary to achieve lasting sobriety.
If you have found yourself addicted to a drug that was promised to be your “answer” and are ready to experience sobriety, please contact our Admissions Specialists today. Freedom from addiction is possible for everyone…and it begins here!