How It Works and Is It Safe?
Suboxone is classified as a partial opioid agonist and is comprised of buprenorphine and naloxone. Used to treat opioid addiction, buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that partners with the same brain receptors that opioids do. Buprenorphine, however, does not create the same euphoric high that opioid typically do. Once buprenorphine is taken, it takes over the opiate receptors in the brain that gives the individual a sense of relief from the cravings and symptoms associated with withdrawal that would normally take place once the abuse of opioids has stopped. Patients are able to experience physical relief without having to continue consumption of opioids that would otherwise continue the addiction. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist (also referred to as an “opioid blocker”) that works by offsetting the negative effects opioids normally have on the body. When a patient takes Suboxone, they no longer experience the uncomfortable symptoms that are commonly associated with withdrawal, of which provides patients with the opportunity to focus on other aspects of recovery. Extensive research has proven that Suboxone is a safe and effective medication to use within a medication assisted treatment program for those struggling with opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
When taken under the guidance of medical professionals within a medication assisted treatment program, Suboxone has been deemed safe and effective in successfully treating opioid dependence. Patients who have taken Suboxone have reported suppression in the symptoms of withdrawal, as well as a minimization of cravings for additional opioids. Since Suboxone does not create any euphoric feelings when consumed, patients are less likely to abuse the medication. Should a patient attempt to abuse Suboxone, they will not achieve the same high that they normally would experience while abusing opioids, such as OxyContin or Vicodin. Studies have confirmed that when used in treatment, patients are able to achieve the clearness of mind required to focus on long-term recovery. Only you and your medical treatment provider can determine whether or not Suboxone is the appropriate form of treatment to be added into your treatment plan based on your specific needs.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
Overcoming an opioid addiction is an extremely difficult challenge. Once addicted to opioids, individuals will most likely experience withdrawal symptoms once the use of that opioid has ceased. Knowing that these symptoms are in their near future causes many individuals to continue using in order to avoid experiencing the symptoms associated with withdrawal. By taking Suboxone, however, patients are able to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, of which makes recovery achievable. In addition to diminishing the physical symptoms of withdrawal, Suboxone also helps individuals resist cravings for additional opioids.
Although Suboxone itself is an incredibly useful medication to assist patients in the recovery process, including both group and individual therapy into comprehensive treatment allows patients the opportunity to tackle both the emotional and behavioral aspects of addiction. Taking part in group therapy provides people the chance to learn from the experiences of others, while also gaining a strong network of encouragement and support from others who truly understand the struggles associated with addiction and recovery. Individual therapy allows patients the chance to discuss their treatment and progress in a one-on-one setting with a highly qualified counselor.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Since addiction does not simply affect the individual using the substance, it is important for those close to the patient to gain support as well. The best thing that family members and loved ones can do is to play an active role in their loved one’s treatment. It is also important to keep the following tips in mind throughout the course of treatment:
- Learn about Suboxone, as well as other medication assisted treatment options, so that you are armed with the knowledge of what your loved one is experiencing throughout the treatment process.
- Urge your loved one to attend any appointments that they may have throughout the course of treatment.
- Show your support by consistently inquiring how their therapy is going, how their medication is affecting them, etc.
- Commend your loved one on successes no matter how small.
- Never forget that the road to long-term recovery can be extremely long and full of setbacks. Continue to remain hopeful and share your hope with your loved one especially during times when they may feel frustrated.
- Obtain support for yourself.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Enrolling in a medication assisted treatment program is a wonderful first step toward defeating an addiction to opioids. In order for long-term recovery to be achieved, it is important to play an active role in the entire therapeutic process. By committing to your own recovery, you will be given the highest chance possible to obtain and maintain long-term sobriety. The following are beneficial in achieving a successful treatment experience:
- Adhere to any directions given to you by your treatment provider regarding the treatment process as a whole.
- Consistently show up for appointments to receive your Suboxone.
- Follow any guidelines that are suggested throughout treatment, such as refraining from using alcohol while taking Suboxone.
- Actively play a role in group therapy sessions to allow yourself to get the most out of the experience.
- Remain constantly open and honest with your counselor during individual therapy sessions. Remember, your counselor is there to help you, not to suppress your growth throughout treatment. Your honesty will aid you during your recovery process.
- Openly communicate any questions or issues that may arise throughout the course of treatment. It is important to voice any concerns while on Suboxone in order for your provider to properly monitor your progress. Adjustments to your medication and dosage can take place should the need arise.
- Refrain from using any type of opioid while taking Suboxone.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
As is the case when taking any prescription medication, there are side effects that can take place while taking Suboxone. The following are examples of side effects that have taken place when patients take Suboxone when enrolled in a medication assisted treatment program:
- Attention disturbances
- Generalized pain
- Painful tongue
- Low blood pressure
- Numb mouth
- Blurred vision
- Runny nose
- Irregular heartbeat
- Coordination problems
- Back and abdominal pain
If any of these or other side effects take place, it is imperative that patients report them to their physician in order for adjustments to be made if necessary.
The dedicated and knowledgeable team at Western Virginia Comprehensive Treatment Centers provide individualized treatment to every patient that walks through our doors. Please contact us today to learn more about the use of Suboxone within our treatment, as well as other treatment options available.