What to Expect Detoxing from Suboxone

Friday, August 24, 2018 | By Michelle Rosenker


For decades, there has been debate regarding whether or not treating opioid use disorder by prescribing an opioid-based substance like Suboxone is a good idea or not. Countless Americans do not agree with utilizing medication-assisted treatment for those addicted to opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers, while others champion it for its proven effectiveness. Regardless of the controversy surrounding this practice, medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is one of the most widely-used treatments for those dependent on opioids.

When someone is ending his or her opioid use, he or she can experience several physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that make riding out this period of time seemingly impossible. In fact, many former opioid users will go right back to using just to avoid symptoms such as abdominal pain, chills, vomiting, and other severe flu-like effects. Unfortunately, this only causes those addicted to opioids to continue to experience a dangerous cycle of abuse that can, in the end, cost them their lives. To avoid this, the majority of opioid use disorder treatment programs offer medication-assisted treatment, which includes the administration of Suboxone.

Suboxone is a medication that works to decrease cravings and lessen the intensity of withdrawal symptoms in those who are coming off of opioids. It contains buprenorphine, a semi-synthetic opioid that produces the same effects in the brain that opioids do without causing an individual to get high. Suboxone also contains naloxone, which completely blocks any and all effects of opioids on the brain. Together, Suboxone is utilized as one of the most trustworthy medications to help those addicted to opioids to get sober once and for all.

However, Suboxone, even though it is not nearly as potent as other opioids, can be addictive when used outside of how its intended. For many, their Suboxone dependence begins in a professional treatment center, while several others start abusing it on the streets. Regardless, abusing Suboxone for any period of time can be highly dangerous to one’s physical, mental, and emotional health, making it imperative for those who are addicted to this prescription medication to seek treatment so they can safely detox from it.

What Can I Expect During Suboxone Detox?

If you are dependent on Suboxone, your body is relying on the presence of this medication in your system. So, when you stop abusing Suboxone, you will experience several different symptoms that can range from being slightly uncomfortable to crippling, depending on how much Suboxone you were abusing, at what frequency, and in what dose. Even though Suboxone is a medication that is used to treat opioid use disorder, it still produces very similar withdrawal symptoms to opioids like heroin, fentanyl, and other substances in this family.

man detoxing from suboxone

Physical symptoms

The physical symptoms associated with Suboxone detox are often the reasons why people go back to using. Due to the continuous discomfort that they can experience, it can start to seem easier to just keep using. If you are dependent on Suboxone, then you are probably familiar with feeling some level of withdrawal symptoms, however, when you decide to detox, these symptoms can increase in their intensity.

When you are detoxing from Suboxone, you may feel as though you are experiencing a severe case of the flu. This means that you can have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, body aches, chills, sweats, fever, headaches, and a runny nose. You may also experience a loss of appetite, diarrhea, and lethargy during this time.

You can expect to see the peak of these physical symptoms around 72 hours after your last use. These symptoms can persist for a week on average, however, might be longer depending on the severity of your use.

Psychological symptoms

It is a common misconception that when you stop using opioids like Suboxone, you will go right back to what is considered a “normal” state. While you will certainly begin resembling yourself prior to your active addiction in many ways, you will not snap back a perfect mental state. This is because while under the influence of Suboxone and for long periods of time, your brain changes.

For example, when you are abusing Suboxone, you are manually working to release neurotransmitters like dopamine in your brain, rather than letting your brain naturally produce them. Therefore, when you stop abusing Suboxone, your brain becomes confused as to how it should release these neurotransmitters, as it relied so heavily on Suboxone to do it. As a result, you can start to experience symptoms associated with depression, including apathy, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, problems sleeping, excessive hunger or loss of appetite, and an overall sense of sadness. These symptoms can come on quickly and can take anywhere from weeks to years to course correct.

Detoxing from Suboxone can also cause you to experience anxiety, which is usually only temporary. Additionally, throughout this process, you can become irritable and easily agitated.

It is important to note that for some, the process of detox does not just last a few weeks, but rather much longer. Known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms, or PAWS, symptoms can continue for lengthier periods of time, including up to years. It is imperative that should you notice your symptoms persisting, you reach out for professional help so that you can better navigate your recovery.

Get Help

If you are addicted to Suboxone, there is no better choice than to contact a professional facility that offers detox services. Ending a Suboxone addiction is not as simple as just stopping the physical act of using, as it takes much more effort and determination to get sober. Luckily, professional treatment is available to help you get sober once and for all.

Do not allow your Suboxone addiction to continue for one more day. Reach out for the help you deserve by contacting us right now. We can help you detox safely and guide you through the steps you need to take to build a strong foundation for your recovery.

You owe it to yourself. Call us today.

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