What Is Suboxone?
First, you need to understand what Suboxone is and how it works. Suboxone is a combination of two types of drugs that can fight opioid addiction. One is buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist.What this means is that it occupies the same opioid receptors in the brain that heroin and prescription opiates do, but to a lesser extent. The result is a much more subtle high than opioids give you. This can reduce your odds of addiction while easing your opioid withdrawal symptoms.The other ingredient in Suboxone is naloxone. This is an opioid antagonist that is supposed to block the opioid receptors in the brain. This means if you try to use opioids, you won’t feel the strong high that you’re trying to achieve. This result can help you overcome your opioid addiction.When you use Suboxone as part of your drug treatment plan, you don’t have to go to a clinic regularly to get it as with other drugs used in medication-assisted therapy, such as Buprenorphine/Naltrexone. You can get Suboxone as needed from a local pharmacy so you can take it once per day.This makes it convenient for people who are trying to overcome their addiction to opioids. But it can also tempt some people to abuse it or even take it recreationally. After all, though experts consider Suboxone less dangerous or addictive than opioids, it can be habit forming for some users.If this is the case for you, it’s time to get treatment from a rehab center that’s equipped to help you overcome your dependence on Suboxone. At Windward Way Recovery, we can walk you through the process of getting off Suboxone, as you may need support while you deal with the withdrawal symptoms.
What to Expect From the Suboxone Withdrawal Process
As with most drugs, quitting Suboxone will cause some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Your body will take some time to get used to being without this substance. But once it does, you will be better off in the long run. So don’t let the withdrawal symptoms stop you from getting the treatment you need. Just prepare yourself for some temporary discomfort.The most common physical symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal include:
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Trouble concentrating
If you quit Suboxone suddenly (or cold turkey) rather than stopping gradually, you might experience more severe symptoms. These can include:
- Body pain
You can usually reduce the odds of experiencing the most serious withdrawal symptoms by gradually reducing your Suboxone dosage every week or two. Being under the care of a treatment center during this time will especially help. You can come to Windward Way Recovery for help with your withdrawal symptoms if you don’t want to manage them at home.Keep in mind that Suboxone withdrawal symptoms last up to one month on average. But this can change depending on how long you’ve used this drug and what your usual dose is. The longer you’ve been on it, and the more you take at once, the longer you’ll probably notice withdrawal symptoms after you quit.The following is a timeline of the Suboxone withdrawal symptoms you might experience:
- 72 hours after quitting Suboxone: You might have physical withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea, sweating, chills, and fever.
- One week later: You might have muscle aches, mood swings, and trouble sleeping.
- Two weeks later: You might experience emotional issues, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability.
- One month later: Your emotional issues might continue, in addition to your cravings. This is when you’re most likely to relapse and take Suboxone.
Though withdrawal symptoms usually go away after about one month, they can persist in some people for a few months. This is why it’s so important to have support while you quit Suboxone.
How to Cope With Withdrawal Symptoms
Clearly, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable. They might even cause you to give in and try to get more of the drug. But it’s critical that you learn some strategies to get through the withdrawal process and beyond while staying drug free.First, look into drug treatment at a recovery center that can help you. The right center features evidence-based programs that have worked for many patients over the years. It should have highly trained staff members who use a variety of treatment options to help patients quit addictive substances. Rely on this type of resource — such as Windward Way Recovery — as you try to quit Suboxone.Another coping mechanism that can help you get through Suboxone withdrawal is social activity. Staying in touch with friends and family members — and letting them know what you’re going through — can give you the emotional support you need to stay away from drugs. Sometimes all it takes is to stay busy and keep your mind off your withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, and hanging out with friends and family can help you do that.Also consider getting involved in activities that you enjoy and are good for you. For example, reading, writing, and arts and crafts are all good ways to stay occupied as you recover from a Suboxone addiction. Regular exercise, meditation, and cooking are other activities that are healthy ways to spend your time while you work on becoming sober.In general, anything that can distract you from the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal in the first few weeks of sobriety will help. And if you happen to find that you enjoy your newfound activities, continue doing them long term. This can improve your chances of staying sober and healthy for life.
How You Can Benefit From Professional Detox Treatment
For many people, Suboxone withdrawal is too uncomfortable or downright risky to do at home. While the symptoms are not usually life threatening, they can be hard to deal with alone. Withdrawal symptoms can also increase the risk of relapse, as some people might use Suboxone again just to stop them. This is especially likely in the first few weeks of being off the drug, when cravings can be strong.This is where doing detox at a treatment center comes in. Such centers have staff that are trained to help reduce discomfort as patients get used to being without Suboxone. There are usually a variety of treatments available, from medication to therapy.Granted, Suboxone is a medication that’s used to help people quit opioids. As a result, there’s no single medication you can use to help you quit your addiction to it. But there are some medications you can use to treat the symptoms, and the drug treatment center staff can give them to you.For instance, you can take the following during detox:
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for headaches and muscle aches
- Anti-nausea medication to relieve nausea and vomiting
- Over-the-counter sleep medications to fight off insomnia during withdrawal
So if you go to a treatment center to quit Suboxone, expect the staff to monitor you in order to treat symptoms as needed. If you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental disorders during this time, the staff can prescribe medication if necessary.Typically, you’ll stay in detox to be monitored for about one week while you deal with the worst withdrawal symptoms. By the end of that week, most of them should subside. If they come back, you’ll know how to relieve them quickly so you can stay sober without dealing with unpleasant symptoms.If they see fit, the staff might extend your stay in detox. But for most people, about seven to 10 days is enough. At that point, you should be ready to start treatment for your addiction. In this way, detox is usually just the start of your treatment process — not the end of it.
What to Do After Detox Is Over
Whether you choose to go to a treatment center for detox or manage the symptoms at home, your next step should be drug treatment. After all, detox is just the process of getting Suboxone out of your body. Now you need to work on your mind, as this can make a difference in how long you stay sober.It’s common to relapse after this point, unless you learn coping mechanisms to resist your cravings for the drug. In fact, one study found that the relapse rate within the first three years after detox was between 72% and 88%. And one of the main predictors of relapse is failure to enter treatment after detox is over.Fortunately, you have access to treatment programs that can create a custom plan just for you. To start, when you enter treatment, you’ll talk to a recovery specialist to determine if you should choose inpatient or outpatient treatment.With inpatient treatment, you’ll live at the treatment center for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It all depends on what the center’s staff thinks would be right for you. During this time, you probably won’t be able to work or go to school, so keep this in mind before you choose.The other option is outpatient treatment. With this choice, you can keep living at home, and you’ll drive to therapy several times per week. This lets you continue your normal work or school schedule as you get treatment for Suboxone dependence.No matter which one you choose, you’ll have access to several types of therapy. Behavioral therapy is among the most common treatment options. Some other types you might see include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- The matrix model
- Family behavioral therapy
- A 12-step program
Whether you engage in these or other types of therapy — such as art or nature therapy — the rehab team will monitor your progress. This will ensure you’re attending the right therapy sessions for your situation. Note that some of your sessions will be individual therapy, while others will be group therapy.Another treatment option you might get in rehab is dual diagnosis. This means you’re getting treatment for your drug addiction and any underlying mental conditions, too. About half of the people who face drug addiction also battle a mental disorder, such as:
To reduce your chances of relapsing, you’ll need to get any underlying disorders treated. You should look into a dual diagnosis program if a healthcare practitioner has diagnosed you with a mental disorder or you suspect you have one.
Life After Rehab
Once you’re done with rehab for Suboxone addiction, you’ll continue with treatment through an aftercare program. This might mean going to outpatient therapy a few times per week as you return to your life activities, such as work or school.It could even mean that you move into a sober living house. There, you’ll have more independence than in rehab. But you’ll be living with other people who are overcoming drug addiction, giving you the support you need to stay sober.Whether you move back home or into sober living, it’s very important to keep going to therapy. For most people, support groups — such as a 12-step program — are essential to staying sober. During each meeting, you’ll reinforce the coping skills you learned in rehab. You’ll also hear the stories of other people who are struggling with drug addiction.When you’re not at therapy or support group meetings, you can increase your odds of staying sober with some lifestyle changes. Staying busy with work or school is a good way to be productive and work toward long-term goals. Talking to sober, supportive friends and family can also help you succeed after rehab.But you should also take up a new, healthy hobby that keeps you busy and makes you feel good. Exercise is a great option, for example. The endorphins released with exercise can boost your mood and self-worth, helping you feel better and healthier after rehab.If you’re ready to quit Suboxone, it’s time to contact a treatment center that can help. Whether you want to enter detox now or will need drug treatment once withdrawal is over in a few weeks, we can provide resources to help. Contact Windward Way Recovery today to discuss your treatment options after Suboxone withdrawal.