While addiction is not always visible to the naked eye, the consequences are dire and can cause devastation to you and your relationships. The idea of turning to a prescription drug such as Suboxone to ease off opioids may seem counterproductive in light of this, but it is an option worth considering.
The opioid epidemic has wrecked countless lives and has put our country into a public health state of emergency. Treating these addictions through different therapy methods has proven to be a helpful step, but everyone is different and may need diverse ways of proceeding to sobriety. You might want to consider the benefits of Suboxone if talk therapy and other recovery methods are not enough.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a brand-name prescription drug that contains Buprenorphine and Naloxone and comes in four strength sizes. It is classified as a Schedule III drug, meaning it has less potential for abuse than substances in Schedules I or II, and abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. This drug is FDA-approved to help treat opioid dependence by reducing withdrawal symptoms.
This can be a great alternative or continuation of treatment after a detoxification program. It is essential to consider the side effects when examining if this will be the right path for you.
How does Suboxone work?
Suboxone is composed of both Buprenorphine and Naloxone. While Buprenorphine will cause some similar side effects to opioid drugs, it simultaneously blocks them, referred to as agonist-antagonist. It then reduces withdrawal symptoms and is less likely to cause a high than an opioid.
Naloxone’s role is to prevent medication abuse because it is an opioid antagonist and blocks their effects. It is preferable to use the oral film form of Suboxone since injecting it while you are still dependent on opioids can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Is it addictive?
While the long-term use of Suboxone can lead to dependence and drug-craving behavior, it can be an effective method for weaning off opioids. This prescription drug can produce similar effects to opioids, but the high tends to be less intense.
Considering this, a good option while making your decision could be looking into a medical-assisted treatment path. This option puts you in a safe environment combining the use of Suboxone and an approach that is tailored to your needs during this journey. This puts you in the secure position of being aided by a medical professional while taking Suboxone, diminishing the likelihood of continued substance abuse.
What are you searching for?
In the darkest moments of withdrawal, the deep need to get high can become overwhelming. The constant feeling of setback can often throw people off the course of recovery and cause feelings of inadequacy or failure. You have to remember that you are human, and these moments will happen. This does not indicate your worth or lack of strength. This epidemic has affected an enormous number of people, which only shows what a battle this is.
Addiction can be linked to various instances of trauma that one experiences in their life. It is human to want to push those feelings away or control them. There is, unfortunately, a lot of shame surrounding addiction and the path to recovery, and it might seem easier to continue the use of opioids rather than face yourself.
Take these thoughts into consideration when deciding if Suboxone will be a beneficial next step or a potential means of continuing drug use. Having a supportive doctor to hold you accountable and be there as a guide out of the darkness can make this path worthwhile and effective.
Finding ways of coping during this transition
A large reason why many people are apprehensive about using Suboxone or starting any detoxification program is the fear of withdrawal symptoms that can potentially accompany this process. The thought of this might be overwhelming and cause fear, but when taken correctly and with medical supervision, you do not need to worry about that happening and can find small, sustainable ways to move through this period and help you stay on track.
Using meditation or breathing techniques can create a sense of calm and focus. Certain breathwork can mimic the feeling of being high but in a natural and controlled way. Adding exercise into your routine when your body feels ready for that will produce endorphins, which can lessen the mental aspects of discomfort.
Ensure you are comfortable and have comforting things near you, such as blankets, a fan, soft pillows, and anything else that makes you feel at ease. Keeping your mind distracted is an excellent way to ride out difficult moments. Turn to movies, your favorite music, or books that will engage your mind and keep you occupied for extended periods.
When you are feeling good, remind yourself that what you are undergoing is worth it and remind yourself of how strong you have been during the most challenging moments up until this point.
Remember that going through this process alone lessens your chances of succeeding. Reach out to friends and loved ones or talk to people online who are going through it or have gone through it as well. Medical support is crucial for your journey.
The final word
You can live a fulfilling life while treating an addiction. Asking for help and seeking medical assistance does not need to be a source of embarrassment or weakness. Whether you are taking this road alone or with the support of your family, there are people who can guide you through this.
It is important and helpful to remember that you will not be the first nor the last person who has been taken hold of by opioids. This is a path that many have walked down, and there is hope on the other side of it. Recovery is not easy, but it is possible, and it is worth it.
Native of Moldova, Dr. Zhitar is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine as well as Internal Medicine and completed his training at UPMC Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA in 2000.