Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, is a drug that’s used to minimize withdrawal symptoms of opioid dependence. The buprenorphine component works as an opioid, activating the brain’s reward receptors on a milder scale and, therefore, eliminating cravings. Naloxone acts as an opioid antagonist by inducing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms which discourage an individual from future intravenous use. This balance generates effective withdrawal prevention making suboxone administration a common practice among those looking to recover from opioid dependency. However, this substance is not without flaws. There are positives and negatives associated with suboxone use including addiction. We’ll discuss these below.
Benefits of Long-term Suboxone Use
An important benefit of long-term suboxone use is that the addict is no longer dependent on a specific opioid. Once cravings cease, the individual will have uninterrupted focus towards alternative treatment therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, addiction counseling, and individual therapy. As treatment progresses, suboxone treatments will gradually decrease.
Many people who have struggled to free themselves of addiction find reliance on suboxone to be an acceptable alternative. However, because they have adapted to a low dose of opioids, some individuals revert to regular opioid use when they stop receiving suboxone. Since suboxone reduces tolerance to opioids, returning to that dosage can be lethal, even though cravings may not be as strong as they were before.
Disadvantages of Long-term Suboxone Use
While in a treatment program, the intention is to eradicate dependence, not foster dependence on a safer alternative. While replacing opioids with a physician-administered substance may seem less hazardous, addiction of any kind is undesirable while seeking recovery. Although suboxone is a helpful tool, relying on it can be dangerous. As a mild opioid, tolerance and addiction remain present threats. Long term use of suboxone can result in side effects including:
- Decreased tolerance for pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion or disorientation
- Social isolation
These are just some of the mental and physical effects of long-term suboxone use. As with all types of addiction, suboxone addicts can also experience:
- Financial problems
- Legal issues
- Workplace challenges
- Damaged relationships
- Reduced sense of personal responsibility
Medical professionals continue to debate the pros and cons surrounding suboxone use. When used within a short duration, addicts are more likely to relapse. When used for an extended period, suboxone addiction can develop. When suboxone use ceases, withdrawal symptoms occur, meaning an individual may need to detox from the drug that was supposed to support their initial detox. Because of these concerns, not many professionals recommend suboxone for long-term use but see it as a stepping stone to sobriety.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
People going through suboxone withdrawal may experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Digestive problems
- Fever and chills
- Muscle aches
How Suboxone Can Be Used as Part of a Recovery Journey
Suboxone can be beneficial during the initial steps of the recovery process as it diminishes withdrawal symptoms and assists in detox. However, the ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to attain sobriety by means of substance independence. By enlisting the help of professional addiction specialists, an individual’s dependence on drugs, including suboxone, is eliminated. Addiction specialists implement therapy in order to unveil factors that led up to addiction and advise on how to manage future triggers. Developing the appropriate strategies for life beyond addiction is not only how clients reach recovery, but its how they stay in recovery.
Contact Asheville Recovery Center Today to Get the Help You Need
If you’re ready to live a healthier life that’s free from addiction, reach out to the team at Asheville Recovery Center. We offer comprehensive addiction treatment options that are tailored to each individual’s needs. No matter how long you’ve been struggling with addiction, recovery is possible. Let us help you overcome your opioid addiction and take back your life.