Suboxone Withdrawal: Why You Should Choose Medical Detox

Suboxone is a medication used to treat opioid addiction, and while a number of safeguards help prevent Suboxone abuse, some people manage to abuse it anyway, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 1

What is Suboxone?

When taken as directed, Suboxone is an effective medication to treat opioid addiction and dependence. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid medication. A partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine produces effects similar to full agonists like heroin and OxyContin, but its effects are weaker and won’t become stronger with increased dosages.

Because buprenorphine does have some psychoactive effects, naloxone is added to it to help prevent people from using it to get high. Naloxone, also known as the overdose reversal drug, is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids.

When taken as directed, Suboxone is highly effective for preventing opioid withdrawal, reducing cravings and helping to restore normal brain function. But if the tablets are crushed and injected or snorted, the naloxone kicks in and blocks the psychoactive effects of the burpenorphine. This triggers withdrawal.

Suboxone Withdrawal

Whether you’ve become dependent on Suboxone as a result of abusing it or you’ve successfully used it to beat an opioid addiction, quitting Suboxone will produce withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
  • Fever and chills
  • Body aches
  • Agitation, anxiety and insomnia

While Suboxone withdrawal isn’t particularly dangerous, it can be excruciating, and most people who try to withdrawal without help will quickly turn back to using simply to end the discomfort.

How to Quit Suboxone?

Medical detox is a safe, comfortable way to quit taking Suboxone. Supervised by medical professionals, medical detox involves medications that are administered as needed to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and shorten the time it takes to detox.

A high quality medical detox program will offer a variety of complementary therapies to reduce stress, improve wellbeing and help improve retention in detox. Restorative yoga, acupuncture and massage therapy are therapies commonly used in a detox program. Nutritional therapy is also used during detox to help you regain good physical and mental health.

Medical detox ends the physical dependence on Suboxone, but it’s also the point of access for addiction treatment services. During medical detox, your team of medical and mental health providers conduct a variety of assessments to evaluate the severity of the dependence, determine the extent of the addiction and identify the problems Suboxone abuse has caused in your life. This information is used to create a comprehensive, individualized treatment program that will help you recover for the long-term.

How to Successfully Overcome Suboxone Addiction

Addiction and dependence are not the same thing. While dependence is characterized by physical withdrawal symptoms that set in when you stop using a drug, addiction is characterized by compulsive drug abuse despite the negative consequences it causes in your life.

Medical detox doesn’t treat addiction and does little to help prevent relapse. According to a study published in the Irish Medical Journal, 91 percent of detox patients who didn’t enter treatment relapsed after detox -nearly 60 percent of them within a week of leaving detox. 2Those that did enter addiction treatment either didn’t relapse at all or relapsed considerably later.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that professional help is almost always needed to end an addiction for the long-term. 3Addiction is far more complex than dependence and involves a variety of underlying issues, which commonly include a history of trauma, chronic stress or a mental illness like anxiety or depression. In order to successfully beat an addiction, these issues must be addressed through therapy. Therapy also helps you develop coping skills for dealing with stress, cravings, negative emotions and other relapse triggers, and it helps you change the dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns that keep you in the addiction.

If you’re ready to stop taking Suboxone once and for all, medical detox followed by addiction treatment can help you kick the dependence and addiction to the curb and restore function to all areas of your life. Treatment works for most people who engage with their treatment plan, and it can work for you, too.