How It Works and Is It Safe?
Offered at our Roanoke location, suboxone is a prescription medication that is under the classification of a “partial opioid agonist”. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Because it is a partial opioid that works on the same receptors of the brain that opioids do, buprenorphine gives the individual a sense of reprieve by taking possession of the brain’s opiate receptors. Buprenorphine replaces the addictive opioid without the symptoms of withdrawal that would normally occur in the absence of the narcotic. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which is also commonly referred to as an “opioid blocker.” This opioid blocker works by offsetting any negative effects that the opioid may have on the body. When Suboxone is ingested, the individual is relieved from any discomfort and symptoms that accompany opioid withdrawal. Suboxone also curbs cravings for further consumption of opioid narcotics.
When appropriately used as a part of a medication assisted treatment program, research has proven that Suboxone is not only safe, but also effective for the treatment of opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment
It has been established through research that Suboxone is effective to treat opioid dependence. Patients who have used Suboxone have reported that their withdrawal symptoms were not only reduced, but the actual craving for the drug(s) were suppressed as well. Suboxone does not cause euphoric feelings with its use. A manufactured high can not be achieved by taking more than the prescribed amount of Suboxone. Those who abuse opioids such as Vicodin or OxyContin can achieve this desired high by increasing their dosage. Working together with your treatment provider is the best way to decide if Suboxone would be a beneficial addition to your treatment plan. It is important to note that studies have indicated that when Suboxone is added into a treatment plan, the individual is able to achieve a clearness of mind that is required to fully focus on their recovery.
The Benefits of Suboxone Treatment Plus Counseling
The pathway to overcoming an addiction to opioids can be a long and difficult one. Once addicted to an opioid, an individual will experience withdrawal symptoms should the use of the opioid suddenly cease. Because of this, many individuals who are abusing these substances become trapped within the cycle of addiction as they do not want to experience the symptoms that accompany withdrawal. However, individuals can avoid withdrawal symptoms with the use of Suboxone because it makes the pathway to recovery much more manageable. Not only does Suboxone avert the symptoms that accompany withdrawal, but it also suppresses an individual’s initial craving for the opioid(s). In order for there to be long-term success for each patient, it is recommended that Suboxone be used in partnership with counseling. By pairing Suboxone with therapy, individuals are more likely to see long-term success in their pathway to recovery. Group therapy has been found to be beneficial as it allows individuals to learn from the experiences of others who are also facing similar emotional and physical struggles. This is a critical component as it allows individuals to become more self-assured in their ability to succeed in recovery as they learn that they are not alone. Therapy on an individual basis is also beneficial as it allows patients to meet in a one-on-one setting where they can confidentially discuss any questions or concerns that they may have. This also allows the patient’s progress in treatment to be tracked and discussed openly in a safe environment.
Supporting Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment
Not only does addiction impact the individual who is consuming the substance, it touches everyone in his or her life as well. The most effective thing that you can do to help support a loved one who is taking part in a medication assisted treatment program is to be a readily active member in his or her recovery process.
Keep the following in mind when you are a part of the recovery process:
- Become educated about Suboxone and other medication assisted treatment options. This knowledge will allow you to understand what he or she is experiencing through his or her treatment plan.
- Encourage your loved one to stay proactive by going to all appointments that they have scheduled.
- Show your support by consistently questioning how therapy is coming along, how medication is affecting him or her, etc.
- Always celebrate the small successes achieved.
- Remind yourself that the road to a lasting recovery is a long one. This road may have bumps and delays along the way, but always remain optimistic. Share your optimism when your loved one seems overwhelmed or irritated.
- Find support for yourself as well.
Being Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program
It is necessary that patients take an active role in the entire therapeutic process when choosing the route of a medication assisted treatment program. Committing to your recovery is imperative for a successful long-term recovery. Some helpful suggestions to aid in the road to recovery:
- Follow all of the directions given to you by your qualified treatment provider. Adhere to their recommendations that they provide regarding the process of treatment as a whole.
- Consistently show up for appointments where Suboxone is distributed
- Follow guidelines that are given to you (an example of this is to avoid alcohol while taking Suboxone)
- Actively play a role in group therapy sessions
- Remember, you are not being judged during your individual therapy sessions. Your counselor is there to help you, not hinder you. Pledge to be open and truthful during these sessions.
- Openly communicate any issues, concerns, or questions that you have while taking Suboxone. Dosage adjustments can be made to your medication when you openly voice any problems that may result.
- While on Suboxone, do not consume any type of opioid substance.
The Side Effects of Suboxone
It is possible when taking any type of medication that side effects can occur. Suboxone is not immune to these side effects and the following have been reported as a result of its use:
- Generalized pain
- Low blood pressure
- Numb mouth
- Painful tongue
- Blurred vision
- Runny nose
- Attention disturbances
- Irregular heartbeat
- Coordination problems
- Back and abdominal pain
If any of these side effects occur, please report them to your physician immediately so that any alterations to your dosage can be tracked and appropriate adjustments can be made.
At Central Virginia Comprehensive Treatment Centers, our educated staff is dedicated to delivering an individualized treatment plan to every patient. Please contact us to further discuss our treatment methods as well as to address any questions that you may have concerning Suboxone and the role that it could play in your recovery.