What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is the brand name for the drug buprenorphine. Ingredients of Suboxone are either buprenorphine alone or combined with naloxone. It can be taken either as a tablet placed under the tongue until it melts or as a film placed under the tongue. It is designed to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal from opioids and reduce dependency on them.
How Long Should You Stay on Suboxone?
While the time-frame for tapering down and detoxing from Suboxone will vary from case to case, the ultimate goal for a patient should be to work toward getting off Suboxone completely. Opioid maintenance therapy may be helpful in the process of tapering down from high dosages of opioids, but should not be considered for long-term opioid replacement.
A recent presentation by the National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed that around 30 million people worldwide and over two million people in the United States suffer from opiate addiction. The problem cuts across all socio-economic boundaries and affects people from every walk in life. In an effort to stop using opiates, many medical professionals suggest the drug Suboxone. Suboxone quells withdrawals without creating the euphoria of heroin or prescription painkillers.
How Opioids Work
Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, causing the receptors to release pleasure-inducing dopamine. As the opioids release from the receptors, the dopamine production fades, along with the feelings of euphoria. After some use – the time line varies among people – the brain begins to expect this response. When it doesn’t, withdrawals ensue. Withdrawal symptoms including muscle pain, anxiety, sweating, insomnia, vomiting, cramping, and a rapid heartbeat.
Using Suboxone for Opioid Addiction Detox
Opioid addiction withdrawals can be very serious, causing pain, anxiety and a host of physical and mental symptoms. Detox professionals can lessen these symptoms by using a tapering schedule to slowly reduce the amount of opioid-based drugs in the body. Since Suboxone works on the same opioid receptors as opioids such as heroin, oxycodone and other opioid prescription drugs, it can be used for the tapering process during detox.
Long-Term Use of Suboxone
Opioid replacement therapy is the term used for long-term Suboxone use that does not include the intent to taper or reduce dosage levels for the goal of getting off Suboxone completely. There are many medical conditions that could warrant the long-term use of opioids or Suboxone. However, in addiction recovery, the goal is to complete cessation from opioids, including Suboxone.
Goals for Ending Suboxone Use
The best-case scenario for Suboxone users would be to reach a place where they no longer need the drug to prevent opioid relapses. As with most things related to addiction, this is not merely a medical consideration, but a lifestyle.
To prepare for ending Suboxone and opioid use, you should:
- Ensure that you are ready and willing to make a full recovery.
- Be prepared to do the hard work to achieve the sobriety you envision for yourself and desire.
- Have a full addiction recovery plan created. Know your recovery plan and the treatment options you have available at every stage of the recovery journey. This implies detox, inpatient aftercare, continued outpatient therapy and transitional living (if necessary).
- Understand your recovery goals and keep them close in mind.
Finding Answers…Finding Help
There are many factors that play into the decision of how long you should stay on Suboxone:
- How long you were using opiates
- The amount you were using on a regular basis
- Lifestyle factors
- Your medical history
These all may all play a significant role in determining the best course of action in your case. The admissions team at Harmony Place can provide an assessment of your situation and prescribe a safe, effective treatment program uniquely suited to your needs.
It is understandable that you have questions about opioid detox, how to maintain a freedom from addiction after the program, and what your recovery options are. Give our admissions team a call today and find the answers and the help you need to begin your recovery at Harmony Place.