Suboxone Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Using a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine, Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist that is prescribed in order to treat the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, works with the same receptors in the brain that are typically activated by opioids without causing individuals to experience the side effects of opioids. When taken, buprenorphine works with the brain’s opiate receptors, which allows patients to experience a reduction in withdrawal symptoms while also eliminating cravings for continued substance use. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist (“opioid blocker”) that counteracts the dangerous effects that opioids have within the body. When Suboxone is taken, patients will not experience the painful symptoms of withdrawal, which allows them to focus on their recovery.

The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment

Extensive research has confirmed the safety of Suboxone when taken as prescribed under the supervision of a trained medical professional. Patients who are prescribed Suboxone report a reduction in withdrawal symptoms while also experiencing relief from cravings for continued opioid use. Since Suboxone does not create feelings of euphoria when it is consumed, patients are less likely to abuse this medication. Unlike other medications that are prescribed in treatment, individuals will experience the symptoms of withdrawal should they attempt to abuse Suboxone during the course of treatment.

Clinical studies have confirmed that when Suboxone is used as an active component in treatment for opioid addiction, patients are able to achieve the mental clarity that is required in order to successfully progress towards lasting recovery. By consulting with a physician, you will be able to determine if Suboxone is appropriate for you based on your individual treatment needs and requirements.

The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling

Overcoming an addiction to opioids is one of the largest hurdles that an individual may be faced with in his or her lifetime. Once addicted, he or she will eventually experience the symptoms of withdrawal once the use of that substance ceases. Knowing that the period of withdrawal will inevitably take place often is enough motivation for individuals to remain trapped in the cycle of addiction. By incorporating Suboxone into a comprehensive treatment plan, patients are able to avoid the painful symptoms of withdrawal while also keeping cravings for continued opioid use at bay. Once the physical symptoms of withdrawal are taken care of, patients are able to obtain the mental clarity that is required in order to successfully progress in treatment.

While Suboxone is a powerful addition to a patient’s plan of treatment, obtaining support for the psychological aspect of addiction must be obtained as well. By taking part in individual and group counseling sessions, patients are provided with a safe and supportive atmosphere in which to address and treat the underlying emotional and behavioral events that may have contributed to their addictive behavior in the first place. Group sessions bring patients together and allow them to receive support and encouragement from individuals who understand firsthand the struggles associated with addiction. Individual sessions allow patients the opportunity to work one-on-one with a trained counselor in order to further treat their addictive behaviors on an emotional level.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Since addiction can affect the family and loved ones of an individual who is abusing opioids, it is important that everyone involved receive treatment. By playing an active role in your loved one’s journey to recovery, you are able to provide them with the support and encouragement that is necessary for lasting recovery. It is important to keep the following in mind throughout their journey:

  • Learn more about Suboxone, as well as other treatment options, in order to understand what your loved one is going through during treatment.
  • Make sure that your loved one is attending any appointments that he or she may have.
  • Show your support by asking how your loved one’s therapy is going, how the medication is affecting him or her, etc.
  • Congratulate your loved one on all successes, both big and small.
  • Never forget that the road to lasting recovery can be a long one, full of bumps along the way. Never lose hope that your loved one will be able to achieve recovery. Share your hope with him or her, especially during times where he or she may feel frustrated.
  • Obtain support of your own.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Making the decision to take part in a mediation assisted treatment program is a brave first step towards recovery. However, it is important to realize that you must play an active role in your entire therapeutic process and commit to your recovery. The following are tips on how to successfully navigate the recovery journey:

  • Adhere to any directions that are given to you by your treatment provider.
  • Consistently show up for all appointment to receive your medication.
  • Following any guidelines that are provided, such as refraining from using alcohol while taking this medication.
  • Actively play a part in group counseling sessions in order to get the most out of the experience.
  • Remain open and honest with your counselor during individual sessions. Your counselor is there to help you, not to judge you. Being honest will benefit your progress.
  • Openly communicate any questions, concerns, or issues that may arise throughout treatment. This is important so that treatment teams can properly monitor your progress, as well as make adjustments to your medication and dosage if necessary.
  • Do not use any form of opioids while taking Suboxone.

The Side Effects of Suboxone

As is the case when taking any medication, there are side effects that can take place when utilizing Suboxone. The following side effects have been noted during Suboxone treatment:

  • Headache
  • Generalized pain
  • Nausea
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sweating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Numb mouth
  • Painful tongue
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Infections
  • Chills
  • Constipation
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Coordination problems
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Back and abdominal pain
  • Fainting
  • Attention disturbances

Please make your physician aware if you experience any of these side effects so that he or she can monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments.

The dedicated, compassionate, and highly experienced team of medical professionals at Southeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers is here to help you achieve lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to opioids, please contact us today.

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