In the treatment of drug addictions, it’s not unusual to rely on medications that can minimize withdrawal symptoms or help patients wean themselves from harmful substances like opiates. However, replacing one drug with the other also runs the risk of forming a secondary addiction. This is precisely what causes Suboxone addiction and abuse. While Suboxone use is on the rise, there are ways to break free from its addictive properties and live a sober life free from any medications of this nature.
What is Suboxone?
It’s important to note that Suboxone, while it can certainly be abused by some individuals, isn’t an illegal drug. It has a legitimate medical purpose, and it can be used for the overall health and wellness of patients in a number of cases.
Suboxone is made up of two active ingredients: Buprenorphine and Naloxone. The first, Buprenorphine, acts similarly to an opiate. Naloxone, however, blocks the euphoric side effects of Buprenorphine. By blocking receptors, the brain can’t experience a high.
The Need for Suboxone in Drug Addiction Treatment
Suboxone can be an integral part of addiction treatment for patients who are addicted to opiates. Trying to withdraw from heroin or prescription painkillers is incredibly difficult, and doing so can result in uncomfortable and even painful withdrawal symptoms. In order to combat things like extreme sweating, nausea, depression and even hallucinations, Suboxone can be used.
Suboxone isn’t just replacing one drug with another. Continuing to use something like heroin will do more than just keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. It can also lead to major health failures, the risk of a fatal overdose, criminal activity and financial stress. Suboxone, while it may be addictive, gives users back cognitive control. They can make better decisions, strengthen relationships and improve their health, highlighting the clear advantage of using Suboxone in detox and rehab facilities.
How Suboxone Can be Abused
While Suboxone clearly has some important benefits in the treatment of drug addiction, it can also lead to abuse. In a small percentage of patients, Suboxone can deliver a small high through its opiate component. If this happens, patients are supposed to report it to their medical professional immediately and seek a different course of treatment. Unfortunately, many exploit Suboxone and begin to abuse it.
Suboxone is often abused by first tampering with the drug in some way. Some individuals might crush the pills, hoping that breaking down or dissolving the medication in liquid will increase its potency. Others dissolve Suboxone into water and inject it directly into their bloodstream. Sometimes, however, the opposite effect will happen when these methods are used. Since the blocking component of Suboxone, called Naloxone, also hits the body faster, it can actually result in a painful and immediate withdrawal.
Suboxone can also be abused even if it’s taken as intended. Some patients are supposed to wean themselves off of Suboxone, but will continue to take the drug long after their prescriptions have ceased. Others combine Suboxone with other drugs, stimulants or alcohol in an attempt to increase or alter their effects.
The Rise of Suboxone Use in America
There is one clear, overarching reason behind the use of Suboxone in America and elsewhere around the world: the rise of opiate use. As prescription painkillers are administered increasingly often, individuals are becoming addicted. Sometimes, individuals develop severe addiction to the painkillers, and other times they move on to drugs like heroin to continue or even enhance the high.
As opiate use continues to grow, and opiate addiction continues to be a growing concern, Suboxone use will also increase. Remember that Suboxone can be incredibly helpful for those patients who use it properly and then wean themselves from it slowly throughout rehab. However, Suboxone use must be monitored closely, and patients as well as medical professionals should be well aware of the risks and potentially addictive properties of drugs like Suboxone.
Symptoms of Suboxone Abuse or Overdose
Some patients, even those who are prescribed Suboxone, may abuse the drug. Physically, those who are abusing Suboxone may begin to have less energy, sinking into a depression or just a feeling of extreme lethargy and a lack of desire to socialize. Abusing Suboxone can also be spotted when patients have slow, labored breathing and suffer from reaction times that are slower than normal.
Suboxone addiction and abuse can also lead to even bigger health problems. In serious overdose cases, patients may fall into a coma. Or, they could suffer from hallucinations and a lack of cognitive awareness. These severe symptoms highlight the importance of avoiding Suboxone addiction, as well as the need for medical professionals to be on the lookout for addiction among patients.
Rehab for Suboxone Addiction
Since Suboxone is often used medically in rehab and detox facilities, many individuals are surprised to learn that there are also rehab programs dedicated to ending addictions to Suboxone. Detoxing from Suboxone can be challenging, since the opiate withdrawal symptoms may be pronounced. However, without the traditional opiate high, Suboxone detoxes are considered to be far less challenging than heroin or prescription painkiller detoxes. Many patients choose to wean themselves off of Suboxone under medical supervision, instead of going cold turkey, for a more comfortable experience.
Rehab for Suboxone will be similar to any other drug rehab program. Patients can choose from outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs or residential, inpatient programs. Dual diagnosis is key in order to address any mental health issues, which may be even more common when patients are replacing one addiction with another. Group therapy, behavioral therapy and various other evidence-based treatment methods can help patients free themselves from a Suboxone addiction.
As opiate addictions rise, so too does Suboxone use. Although Suboxone can have legitimate and beneficial medical purposes, it can also become addictive. Abusing Suboxone can lead to serious health problems, which makes it important for individuals struggling with this addiction to seek help at appropriate detox or rehab facilities.