Suboxone is a prescription medication that is usually prescribed for those who have become addicted to opioids like heroin or pain pills. It has become more popular in recent years, especially for those who have become addicted to heroin. The reason it is used so often is that Suboxone is a less potent and dangerous opioid, helping those addicted to heroin get through the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms easier.
Some people argue that using one drug to get off another drug isn’t really getting free from addiction. While there is the potential to abuse or misuse Suboxone to get “high,” those that use it as prescribed as an aid to get off heroin or pain pills are not considered to be in active addiction.
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Most of the time, addiction specialists will have a treatment plan in place to ease the person off Suboxone gradually. Suboxone can be addictive to those who misuse or abuse it. They may use it to experience a euphoric feeling and become dependent on it. As their tolerance increases, so do their cravings.
If you have become addicted to Suboxone, chances are you’ll experience some withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it.
What Are Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms?
Once the body has become dependent on a drug and you stop using that drug or go a while without using it, your body will go through a detox phase. Essentially, your body will begin producing withdrawal symptoms because it has become used to the drug and craves it.
As you refrain from using Suboxone, your body will try to get back to a balanced state without it. However, this will require you to endure some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Feeling like you have the flu
- Muscle aches
- Feeling as if bugs are under your skin
- Increased sweating
- Mood swings
What Are the Stages of Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline?
Suboxone tends to stay in your body longer than some other drugs. It has a long half-life, meaning the withdrawal symptoms may not come on as soon as some other opioids. You’ll likely feel various symptoms at different times in the withdrawal timeline. You might feel like you’re coming down with the flu the first day or two, and then feel like you have the full-blown flu at day three or four.
The intensity and timeframe it takes for you to get through Suboxone withdrawal can vary from person to person, depending on various factors such as:
- How strong the addiction is
- The dosage taken
- How often you took the drug
- The taper schedule you’re on
- Whether or not you’re using other drugs or drinking alcohol
- Your overall health
- Your mental health
- Your support network
- Your eating habits
Keep in mind due to potential complications during the detox period, you should undergo medical-assisted detox, under the care of substance abuse professionals.
Suboxone withdrawal timeframe:
Days 1 – 3 – Withdrawal symptoms may present within about 12 hours from your last dose of Suboxone. The first day might not be that bad, but typically on days two and three, symptoms will get worse. You may feel as if you have the flu, with a headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea common symptoms at this time.
Days 4 – 7 – You’ll most likely still be battling some symptoms during these days, with some psychological symptoms arising too. Anxiety, depression, and cravings may be present, as well as feeling tired. It is helpful to have a strong support network close by during this time, so you don’t fall prey to relapsing.
Week 2 and beyond – The symptoms you’ll experience after week one depends on the factors listed above. They will also depend on your taper schedule. A taper means that you gradually reduce the amount of the opioid you were taking. Each time a decrease is made, you may experience an increase in the intensity of withdrawal symptoms briefly.
For those with severe opioid addiction, withdrawal symptoms can linger on for weeks or months. However, it is mainly psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, or cravings that stick around longer. It’s tough to know precisely how your detox will unfold, but it will be helpful to have some support from medical or substance abuse professionals.
Be the best version of you – start recovery today!
Be the best version of you – start recovery today!
Stopping Suboxone Cold-Turkey
Without the assistance of professional addiction treatment, those who stop opioids, on their own, run the risk of severe complications. Quitting drugs like Suboxone cold-turkey is seldom effective, and it will not address the issues that accompany an opioid addiction. A person can have all the willpower in the world, but when it comes to Suboxone withdrawal, it can be crushed and cause the person to relapse.
For many drug users, they find stopping cold-turkey appealing because they don’t have to commit to treatment. Many feel that they can separate themselves from the world of drug use, and by doing so, push it aside and start over. Unfortunately, because of the harsh symptoms, this a risky approach.
The nervous system has adapted to your drug use, and abrupt cessation can cause seizures or heart problems. While it is less likely you’ll experience deadly symptoms during Suboxone withdrawal, it is often unpredictable and should always take place in the presence of professionals.
Why Should I Detox?
You should not try to detox from Suboxone at home cold turkey, as it can be dangerous. One dangerous thing that can occur is an overdose. This can happen if you stop taking Suboxone for a while and then cave into the cravings, taking it at the same dosage as you were before. This can cause a shock to your body and cause you to overdose.
It’s crucial to have medical supervision when you’re detoxing from an opioid. The first week or two are the toughest, so having around-the-clock care can help you get through the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and learn some great recovery tools. We understand the thought of going through withdrawal may not sound great, but it’s necessary to get free from the addiction. With professional support, it is much more manageable.
What is the Next Treatment Step?
If you become addicted to Suboxone or any other opioid, going through the detox phase is the first part of recovery. You should get through detox in about a week or two, and your body will begin to feel like its old self before the addiction started. The next treatment step is to continue your recovery under the care of substance abuse professionals. There are various paths to treatment, including residential rehab, outpatient treatment, or intensive outpatient programs (IOP).
For those battling moderate to severe addiction, heading off to residential rehab is a great option. For this type of treatment, you will live at the rehab center for the duration of your treatment. Some people choose to stay 30, 60, or 90 plus days for therapy. The length of time will depend on your unique treatment needs. You will be surrounded by substance abuse professionals that can help you get through withdrawal and learn essential recovery and coping skills for life. You will likely receive individual and group counseling, as well as attend support group meetings.
You will receive much of the same type of care at outpatient treatment. The main difference is that you will not live at the treatment center while you are there for treatment. Instead, you commute to the facility for a certain number of hours per week. This tends to be a good option for those who cannot be away from home due to family or work responsibilities.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
IOP is a step down from the residential treatment programs. Some people will commit to an IOP program after completing a residential treatment stay.
Usually, this means that you’ll attend at least 12 hours per week at the center. It’s a bit more intensive than outpatient but does not require you to live at the center as in residential treatment.
The Role of Suboxone in Treatment
While Suboxone can produce withdrawal symptoms when abused, it is highly effective in medication-assisted treatment. It is one of the most common drugs used in MAT and has been proven to lower the risk of fatal overdoses by approximately 50 percent, according to Harvard Health. Despite its chance of it being abused, advocates have pushed for easier access to the drug, so people who are addicted to other opioids can access it. Doctors, addiction experts, and advocates all agree that Suboxone saves lives.
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Stuckert, Jeffrey. (2018, October 8). Psych Central. How Is Suboxone Treatment Different than Drug Abuse? from https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-is-suboxone-treatment-different-than-drug-abuse/
Everyday Health. What is Suboxone? from http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/suboxone
SAMHSA. Buprenorphine. from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/buprenorphine