Suboxone is a drug designed for the treatment of opioid dependence that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Although Suboxone can be an effective medication to assist in recovery from opiate addiction, it is also a substance that is sometimes used for an extended period, and despite its effectiveness, still has some potential for abuse and addiction. A Suboxone detox timeline looks like, in general:
- 72 hours: Physical symptoms are the most severe
- Week 1: Body aches and pains, sleep disturbances, and moodiness
- Week 2: Depression
- One month: Depression and severe cravings
As a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone use can lead to withdrawal effects similar to other opioids if a person quits abruptly, or “cold turkey.” Just Believe Recovery does not offer Suboxone itself, but we do provide treatment services for those who have become dependent on Suboxone or other opioids.
Suboxone detox and withdrawal symptoms can include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Indigestion or digestive distress
- Anxiety and depression
- Impaired Concentration
Symptoms will vary between individuals in intensity and duration, and depend largely on how long a person has been using Suboxone, as well as the average dosage and method of administration.
Timeline of Withdrawal
Usually, most physical withdrawal symptoms will subside after a month or so, some amount of psychological dependence can persist.
Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are typically at their most severe in the first 72 hours after cessation, and this is when most physical symptoms are encountered. In the first week following termination of Suboxone use, symptoms most often subside and are limited to mostly body aches and pains.
During the second week, depression is often the most disturbing symptom. After a month, users will probably still face strong cravings in addition to depression. This is the most vulnerable time after discontinuing Suboxone use, as users are at high risk for relapse.
Due to this protracted withdrawal, it is essential for those who wish to stop using Suboxone to contact a medical provider to assist with relapse prevention.
As noted, Suboxone includes a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. The former is a synthetic opioid designed to lessen unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that result from quitting the use of heroin or other opioids. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that, as a standalone device, is used to reverse overdoses related to the use of heroin or other opiates/opioids. In Suboxone, its primary function is to suppress the euphoria or the “high” that a user could potentially receive by overtaking buprenorphine.
Suboxone is used as a tapering method of weaning people off of stronger, more dangerous opioids. When administered as prescribed and under the supervision of a physician or an addiction specialist, Suboxone can be a useful tool for facilitating the recovery process without encountering intense withdrawal symptoms that are the result of going “cold turkey.”
Suboxone, however, like any other opioid-based drug, still holds some potential for abuse. Although it is available lawfully by prescription, people can purchase it illicitly, and those with actual prescriptions may become addicted. While the drug does not induce the same euphoric high as other opiates, if used in excessive amounts, it can have a mind-altering effect.
Signs of Suboxone Addiction
When an individual is addicted to Suboxone, they may not exhibit significant symptoms unless he or she has exhausted their supply and is beginning to undergo withdrawal. This may be the first clue there is a problem.
There are common behaviors that tend to coincide with substance addiction, and the following signs may indicate you or your loved one has a problem:
- Isolation from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities once considered important or enjoyable
- Neglect of obligations related to work, school, or family
- Excessive sleepiness and sleep disturbances
- Deception and manipulation
- Obsessive thinking regarding attainment and using the drug
- Stealing or frequently borrowing money from others
- Doctor-shopping or making repeated visits to the emergency department
It’s important to keep in mind that addiction is more than just a dependence on a substance—it is also psychological and emotional. Cravings may manifest while the individual grapples with obsessive thinking and behavior surrounding drug use.
Denial is extremely common, even in the face of increasing evidence that a problem exists. Loved ones may become frustrated when attempting to discuss it because the addict becomes defensive and insists nothing is wrong or, even worse, tries to blame them for the problem.
Suboxone Addiction Side Effects
Suboxone addiction can lead to a number of side effects, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor memory
- Unusual moods and behaviors
Also, the use of Suboxone can cause significant risks to one’s health, such as profound central nervous system depression and overdose. Of note, most cases of overdose and respiratory distress or other complications tend to occur when the drug is used in combination with other depressants and psychoactive substances, such as alcohol.
Important: If you are using Suboxone as part of an opioid addiction treatment program, you should not be taking any other drugs or using alcohol.
Suboxone Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you are close to is struggling with Suboxone addiction, treatment in a rehab center can help. After Suboxone detox and withdrawal is complete, relapse remains a major risk. The physical signs of withdrawal may have subsided, but often, the psychological addiction is still very present, flying under the radar, so to speak. A failure to recognize that he or she is still in a weakened state can trigger a return to use due to overconfidence, as they may believe they can use substances casually as the addiction is longer front-and-center.
Following detox, treatment typically begins with residential rehat that lasts for several weeks or months. During this time, patients are evaluated, and medical and mental health care providers work together to develop a unique treatment plan. During comprehensive treatment, persons receive evidence-based services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, and group support.
After detox and residential treatment has been completed, patients are encouraged to enroll in an intensive outpatient treatment program that includes many of the same therapies and services as inpatient rehab.
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong endeavor, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you get started on your recovery and support you every step of the way!