Suboxone can protect people from more dangerous opioids and help ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms. At the same time, the drug contains an opioid itself which can still lead to physical, chemical and psychological dependence or addiction.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medication used to help treat opioid and heroin addiction. It’s comprised of two opioid-blocking ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone.
- Buprenorphine, an opioid, displaces other opioids from the receptors they occupy in the brain then activates those receptors so other opioids can’t.
Unlike the opioids it displaces, buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it doesn’t fully activate the brain’s opioid receptors. Although it satisfies the brain’s craving for an opioid, the drug doesn’t cause the disorienting high that results from opioid abuse. As a result, buprenorphine helps wean the brain off its chemical dependency and helps stop withdrawal symptoms from emerging.
- Naloxone also attaches to opioid receptors, but unlike buprenorphine, it doesn’t activate these receptors. Instead, naloxone prevents other drugs from activating the body’s opioid receptors, reversing and blocking the effects of other opioids like heroin, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and methadone.
Additionally, naloxone quickly and effectively restores normal breathing to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped because of opioid use. Unlike buprenorphine, naloxone has no potential for abuse but only works if a person already has opioids in their system.
Together, buprenorphine and naloxone make Suboxone an effective pharmaceutical component of opioid addiction treatment, reducing symptoms of opioid addiction and withdrawal. Unfortunately, though, Suboxone also has a potential for abuse and addiction.
How is Suboxone Abused?
Although anyone can become addicted to Suboxone, it is most commonly abused by people who have easy access to the drug. Often these people include:
- Clients in opioid addiction treatment programs
- Friends of patients and clients with a valid Suboxone prescription
- Family members who use the mediation without permission
- Individuals who obtain the medication illegally for non-medical reasons
Suboxone is also commonly misused by individuals battling an addiction to short-acting opioid drugs. Often, people struggling with these addictions use Suboxone in between doses to keep withdrawal symptoms from occurring.
The Dangers of Suboxone
Short term side effects of Suboxone include:
- Sleepiness and drowsiness
- Respiratory depression and breathing problems
- Muscle aches
Long-term effects of Suboxone include:
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Liver damage
- Damage to the heart and circulatory system
- Damage to the respiratory system
- Brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen from slowed breathing
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Suboxone is the myth that the drug is a cure for opioid abuse and addiction. Addiction is a complex disease and Suboxone alone cannot cure it. In fact, at best, Suboxone works as short-term salve helping to diminish withdrawal symptoms and cravings while an individual undergoes addiction treatment.
Unfortunately, many people perceive Suboxone’s ability to “eliminate” cravings as sufficient treatment and attempt to self-medicate with the drug. Misuse of the drug can reignite the cycle of abuse and can lead to Suboxone addiction. That’s why it’s critical family members and close friends are able to recognize signs and symptoms of Suboxone use, misuse, and addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Suboxone Abuse
Trying to determine whether or not a loved one is misusing and abusing Suboxone can be difficult because it’s often prescribed while an individual is undergoing withdrawal. However, two of the clearest symptoms are a preoccupation with the drug and sudden unexplained changes in behavior.
Other common behavioral symptoms associated with Suboxone addiction include:
- Loss of interest in hobbies, activities, or social activities
- Isolating oneself from family and friends in order to use Suboxone
- Defending excessive Suboxone use when family members and/or friends challenge or criticize it
- Sleeping excessively or having difficulty sleeping
- Draining financial resources to fund Suboxone addiction
- Lying and manipulating others in order to continue using Suboxone
- Stealing in order to pay for Suboxone
- Stealing or “borrowing” Suboxone prescriptions
- Being preoccupied with consuming, obtaining and thinking about Suboxone
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
People addicted to Suboxone also experience psychological symptoms, including:
- Poor memory
- Erratic behavior
- Mood swings
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the most common physical symptoms of Suboxone addiction include:
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Inability to think clearly
- Blurred vision
- Shallow breathing
- Pain in the upper part of the stomach
- Pounding heartbeat
- Itchy skin
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
Even though Suboxone helps ease opioid withdrawal, it can also trigger withdrawal. Generally, the symptoms associated with Suboxone withdrawal include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sweating and shaking
- Moodiness and depression
- Muscle aches and pain
- Problems sleeping
- Rapid heart rate
- Suboxone cravings
- Upset stomach
Although Suboxone withdrawal isn’t life-threatening, experts do recommend that anyone wanting to quit taking Suboxone do so in a rehabilitation center or under the care of a licensed physician who specializes in addiction treatment.
Suboxone Addiction Treatment
At Solution Based Treatment & Detox, we treat Suboxone addiction with expert care. We recognize that most times, people addicted to Suboxone probably began using the drug to help treat another opioid addiction. So we begin our treatment with a customized treatment plan tailored to our client’s individual and specific needs. From there, we begin the detox process.
Our alcohol and drug detox program is clinically supervised. Our clients receive support and encouragement around the clock as they rid their body of Suboxone. Once clients have successfully completed detox, they can join our inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
During inpatient treatment, clients reside at our residential facilities where they undergo therapy, counseling, and sober education while participating in peer support groups and recovery activities.
Outpatient clients receive therapy and counseling while living at home. Like inpatient clients, they’re assigned an individual therapist but meet with them weekly at an outpatient facility.
Suboxone Drug Facts & FAQs
Can Suboxone Get You High?
- People can get high from taking Suboxone. As an opioid, buprenorphine can produce a mild “high” and euphoric effect but has a ceiling effect. This means that even when people take large doses, after a certain amount, buprenorphine will no longer produce any effect.
What Are Other Names for Suboxone?
- Popular names for recreational use of Suboxone include sobos, stop signs, bupe, and oranges.
Who Can Prescribe Suboxone?
- In the United States, physicians have to obtain special qualifications to prescribe Suboxone for detox from opioids.
Living with an addiction can be all-consuming. Our treatment programs can help you get on the road to recovery. Call Solution Based Treatment today at 877-309-4311 if you or a loved one are struggling with a Suboxone addiction. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We Know From Experience
We have helped thousands of people recover using a solutions-based approach of empowerment and knowledge.
We pride ourselves on creating a warm, relaxed recovery environment where our clients can show their true selves.
On-Site Medical Detox
Medical detox is a critical first step in recovery, which is why we provide supervised medical detox in-house.
Every client benefits from a fully personalized treatment and plan of care, helping them recover and reach their unique goals.