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Suboxone Addiction: Is Suboxone Addictive?

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Suboxone Addiction Chattanooga, TN
Picture of Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Dr. Mohsin Ali MD is board certified in Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Trained in Syracuse NY, he has worked in Tennessee for the last sixteen years.

Table of Contents

Suboxone, widely used in opioid addiction treatment, combines buprenorphine, a mild opioid, and naloxone, an agent that reverses opioid effects. Although effective, Suboxone carries the risk of dependence and addiction due to its buprenorphine component.

Identifying signs of Suboxone addiction early is vital for timely intervention. Recognizing these symptoms allows healthcare providers to deliver targeted treatment and support, crucial for successful recovery.

By understanding and communicating the signs of Suboxone addiction, we can enhance awareness and strengthen the support networks available, providing crucial help to those in need. This understanding is key to developing effective recovery plans and promoting healing across communities.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a critical medication used in the management of opioid addiction. It is classified as an opioid but functions differently from typical opioid painkillers that are prone to abuse. Unlike full opioid agonists, which produce significant euphoria by fully activating the brain’s opioid receptors, Suboxone contains buprenorphine—a partial agonist that provides relief from pain and withdrawal symptoms with less risk of euphoria. It also includes naloxone, an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids, making it particularly effective at preventing misuse, especially in injection form.

This dual-action formula is designed to reduce cravings for more potent opioids and lower the potential for abuse. However, there is still a risk of dependency, especially when used improperly. As a result, Suboxone is among the most prescribed medications for opioid addiction, helping countless individuals in their recovery journeys.

Known colloquially as Boxes, Oranges, Sobos, Stops, and Bupes, Suboxone remains a vital component in the fight against opioid addiction, providing a safer alternative to manage dependence.

What is Suboxone Addiction?

Suboxone addiction emerges when someone becomes reliant on this medication designed to manage opioid dependency. Comprising buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms and blocks opioid effects, aiming to deter misuse. However, addiction can develop if it’s used in ways not prescribed, such as in higher doses or more frequently.

Physical dependence may manifest, with individuals experiencing intense cravings, emotional instability, and difficulty managing daily tasks. Recognizing these signs early is key to seeking the necessary professional intervention for effective recovery from Suboxone addiction.

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Suboxone does present a risk of addiction, though it’s generally lower than other opioids. Its active component, buprenorphine, possesses a unique pharmacological property that curtails the intense cravings often induced by more potent opioids. However, buprenorphine can still lead to moderate withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, muscle pains, and nausea. To counter these effects, clinicians typically recommend a gradual tapering of the dose.

A notable feature of buprenorphine is its “ceiling effect,” which limits the high experienced beyond a certain dosage, thereby reducing its abuse potential. Despite these measures, Suboxone abuse persists, often when individuals acquire it illegally to self-treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal without medical oversight, which can dangerously bypass the primary addiction.

Such misuse highlights the need for holistic treatment approaches that address the full spectrum of addiction—not merely through medication but also through comprehensive strategies that tackle both physiological dependencies and underlying psychological factors. Effective recovery requires more than just symptom management; it demands a thorough, structured treatment program to ensure sustainable healing and recovery.

How Addictive is Suboxone?

Suboxone is recognized for its relatively mild effects compared to stronger opioids like heroin or morphine. It features a slow onset and sustained action, factors that contribute to its lower addictive potential. According to the National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment, the addiction risk from Suboxone is notably low, and any developing dependency can generally be managed with a carefully monitored dosage reduction.

Despite this, individuals treated with buprenorphine remain at risk for opioid addiction. Although compulsive use of Suboxone is rare, its potential for addiction mirrors that of any pleasure-inducing substance.

Suboxone’s therapeutic benefits are sometimes overshadowed by its potential for misuse. Occasionally, it’s obtained illicitly to alleviate or postpone withdrawal symptoms from stronger opioids, potentially enabling ongoing opioid misuse. Initially underestimated, its abuse potential has become more evident, with reports indicating that Suboxone can produce euphoria if misused.

Signs of a Suboxone Addiction

Signs and Symptoms of Suboxone Addiction or Abuse

Suboxone, commonly prescribed for opioid detoxification, may lead to misuse if not strictly monitored, especially if prescribed long-term by providers less experienced in addiction treatment.

Behaviors indicating Suboxone addiction include discrepancies in medication quantities, secretive behavior concerning drug use, and “doctor shopping” to secure multiple prescriptions.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Constipation, diarrhea
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite or weight

Emotional and Psychological Symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Increased secrecy
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Cravings for Suboxone
  • Memory issues

Illicit acquisition of Suboxone often involves diverting prescriptions to self-treat withdrawal, sustain other drug habits, or seek euphoria. This can lead to behaviors outlined in the DSM-5 for substance use disorders, including uncontrollable use, neglect of responsibilities, and use despite known harms.

Moreover, mixing Suboxone with depressants like benzodiazepines or alcohol heightens the risk of severe complications, including potentially fatal overdose. This danger underscores the necessity of vigilance and prompt action if Suboxone abuse is suspected, particularly in combination with other depressants.

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

The duration that Suboxone lingers in the body varies significantly based on individual factors like age, gender, body weight, and metabolic rate. Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, has a half-life of approximately 25 to 70 hours. Generally, a drug is considered eliminated from the body after four to five half-lives, meaning Suboxone can remain in the system for roughly 100 to 350 hours, or about four to fourteen days. This timeframe is useful for medical professionals and patients in determining how long the effects of the drug may persist.

What Causes a Suboxone Addiction?

Suboxone is a crucial tool in treating opioid addiction, but it’s not without its risks, including the potential for addiction.

Factors that contribute to Suboxone addiction include:

  • Prolonged Use: Long-term use of Suboxone can lead to physical dependence, where users may require higher doses to achieve the same effects, indicating tolerance.
  • Misconceptions About Safety: Believing that Suboxone is completely safe because it’s prescribed can lead to misuse, such as taking higher doses or using it without medical supervision.
  • Peer Influence: The influence of social circles using Suboxone recreationally can encourage similar behavior, potentially leading to misuse.
  • Psychological Factors: Individuals might use Suboxone to self-medicate for issues like stress or trauma, increasing the risk of dependence.
  • Genetic Predisposition: A family history of substance abuse can heighten the risk of developing an addiction to medications like Suboxone.
  • Environmental Influences: Factors such as the accessibility of Suboxone, socio-economic conditions, and community drug use norms can affect usage patterns. Stressful or unstable environments might prompt individuals to seek relief through substances.
  • Lack of Monitoring and Regulation: Inadequate oversight of Suboxone prescriptions can lead to its misuse and addiction. Proper medical monitoring is essential to mitigate the risk of abuse.

Recognizing these risk factors is vital in preventing Suboxone addiction and ensuring that treatment for opioid dependence is conducted safely and effectively.

What are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

Suboxone can cause side effects, which are generally non-life-threatening and tend to subside after a few days. Here are common side effects associated with its active ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone:

Buprenorphine Side Effects:

  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fever
  • Irritability

Naloxone Side Effects:

  • Nervousness and irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fever and chills
  • Sneezing or runny nose

While these effects usually aren’t severe, they should be monitored closely. Persistent or worsening symptoms should prompt consultation with a healthcare provider to adjust the treatment plan if necessary.

Why Do People Abuse Suboxone?

Suboxone abuse often arises as a substitute for opioid painkillers, particularly when they are unavailable. Its misuse is typically driven by attempts to manage withdrawal symptoms from stronger opioids or to avoid positive results in drug tests while continuing some opioid use. Although Suboxone doesn’t produce the same euphoric high as other opioids, it can still reduce cravings associated with opioid addiction, leading to misuse as a temporary solution. Some users stop using it upon realizing it lacks other opioids’ euphoric effects. However, continued misuse can lead to physical dependence on Suboxone, creating a cycle of addiction.

Can You Overdose on Suboxone?

Overdosing on Suboxone is possible, especially if taken in excessive amounts or combined with other depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. While naloxone in Suboxone is designed to counteract overdose effects when injected, overdoses can still occur, particularly when Suboxone is used with other opioid agonists. This combination can significantly increase the risk of a potentially fatal overdose.

Suboxone Overdose Symptoms

Overdosing on Suboxone presents a grave danger, particularly when consumed in large amounts or combined with other drugs. Immediate medical intervention is crucial in such cases due to the risk of fatality.

Symptoms of a Suboxone overdose include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Constricted pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating

In extreme scenarios, an overdose may lead to respiratory depression—severely impaired breathing, potentially causing brain damage, coma, or death if not treated urgently.

Suboxone Addiction Treatment Chattanooga, TN

Can Suboxone Addiction be Treated?

Yes, Suboxone addiction can be effectively managed using a blend of medications and therapeutic interventions, similar to approaches used for other opioid addictions.

Key components of Suboxone treatment include:

  • Detox: Medically supervised detox helps safely eliminate Suboxone from the body.
  • Trigger Identification: Identifying and managing triggers that might lead to substance use.
  • Skill Development: Cultivating vital life skills to bolster recovery, such as stress management, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
  • Mental Health Support: Addressing concurrent mental health conditions that may compound addiction.
  • Building Support Networks: Creating strong personal support systems through peer groups and community resources.
  • Sustaining Recovery: Ongoing support to maintain long-term sobriety, fostering a lasting recovery.

Integrating these strategies, treatment plans focus on not only resolving physical dependency but also equipping individuals with lifelong recovery tools.

Suboxone Addiction Treatment

For many, outpatient treatment programs provide the necessary support to combat Suboxone addiction. More intensive options like outpatient programs or trauma-informed care may be appropriate for those needing additional resources. Choosing a treatment approach that aligns with individual needs is essential for achieving successful outcomes.

Therapies for Suboxone Addiction

Suboxone addiction treatment incorporates various therapeutic approaches designed to foster recovery and prevent relapse. Techniques such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are particularly effective. These therapies enhance problem-solving abilities and develop coping strategies that don’t rely on substance use. Additionally, holistic practices like hypnotherapy, yoga, and art therapy contribute positively to the healing process, offering diverse methods to support recovery.

Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorders

It’s common for those struggling with Suboxone addiction to have a history of opioid abuse and concurrent mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Addressing these co-occurring disorders is essential, as they often play a significant role in both the onset and perpetuation of addiction. Effective treatment plans integrate strategies to manage the addiction alongside these mental health challenges, ensuring a comprehensive approach to recovery.

If you or someone close is facing challenges with Suboxone addiction in Chattanooga, TN, Iris Wellness Group is here to help. We offer specialized treatment tailored to address both addiction and any accompanying mental health issues. Contact us today at 423-541-0656 or through our online form to begin your journey to recovery with our dedicated support in Chattanooga, TN.

Suboxone Addiction Treatment in Chattanooga, TN at Iris Wellness Group

At Iris Wellness Group we specialize in providing targeted and compassionate treatment for individuals struggling with Suboxone addiction in Chattanooga, TN. Recognizing the unique journey of each person affected by Suboxone addiction, our dedicated team offers personalized care plans designed to address the specific needs and challenges of our clients. Our goal is to support individuals on their path to recovery, helping them achieve a healthier, substance-free lifestyle through a comprehensive approach to treatment.

Treatment Options for Suboxone Addiction

  • Outpatient Detox: Offers medically supervised detoxification services to safely manage withdrawal symptoms in an outpatient setting.
  • Outpatient Treatment: Designed for those who require flexible treatment schedules without intensive daily commitments.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Ideal for individuals needing more support than standard outpatient care, providing a structured therapy schedule while allowing patients to live at home.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Serves as a bridge between inpatient care and outpatient treatment, offering comprehensive day-long therapy sessions for more intensive care without an overnight stay.

To complement our range of treatment options, Iris Wellness Group integrates a holistic approach to therapy, targeting the multifaceted aspects of anabolic steroid addiction. Understanding that recovery is not one-size-fits-all, we tailor our therapy programs to meet the individual needs of our clients, focusing on not just overcoming addiction but also on fostering long-term wellness and resilience.

Therapies Offered for Suboxone Addiction:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Aims to identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors related to cannabis use.
  • Individual Therapy: Offers a private setting for patients to explore personal issues and challenges related to their addiction.
  • Group Therapy: Provides a supportive environment where individuals can share experiences and strategies for coping with addiction.
  • Family Therapy: Engages family members in the treatment process to heal relationships and build a supportive home environment for recovery.

If you or someone you care about be grappling with Suboxone addiction, it’s crucial to act now. Contact our drug rehab in Chattanooga, TN at 423-401-9630, to embark on the path towards a life free from drug dependence.

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