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Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox Process

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Suboxone is a medication approved for the treatment of opioid addiction and dependence. As part of a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) regimen, Suboxone can help return the recovering individual to a life free of the intense highs and lows associated with opioid intoxication and withdrawal.

Suboxone is comprised of two substances:

  • Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist that interacts with the same opioid receptors with which drugs like heroin and OxyContin act, but is incapable of eliciting the same intense high that these drugs are able to. In this way, it can help to ease the withdrawal process and minimize the risk for a secondary Buprenorphine addiction.
  • Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that blocks opioid receptors, discouraging continued abuse of strong opioid drugs because it mutes the highs that would otherwise be experienced.

Like all opioids, Suboxone carries a risk of addiction and dependence—this is mainly true when the drug is abused (taking too much or administering it via alternate methods like injection). If you’ve begun to misuse Suboxone, or you fear that you’ve become addicted to Suboxone, there are options to help you rid your body of the drug and get off opioids for good.

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Suboxone’s speed of onset and total duration of action are comparatively longer than those of many types of abused opioid drugs. These characteristics help to decrease the drug’s addictive potential but, additionally, influence the time course of the associated opioid withdrawal syndrome. The long-acting quality of Suboxone will delay the onset of withdrawal symptoms and extend them somewhat longer than many other opioids do.

The symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal commonly begin between 24 and 72 hours after the last dose and last for approximately 10 days, according to one study. During Suboxone withdrawal, the following symptoms are common:

  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Body aches and cramping.
  • Insomnia.
  • Sweating.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Intense opioid cravings.

The full extent of the symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal will be influenced by factors like:

How Does Suboxone Detox Work?

Studies, research, and general practice have shown that there is no one path regarding how to detox from Suboxone. Instead, there seem to be many variations of detox options with differing levels of long-term success—as indicated by levels of comfort throughout the detox process and continued abstinence for periods following tapering.

At the onset of detox treatment, you will go through an intake process in which the severity of your substance use and your general health will be evaluated. Using the information you’ve given them, the staff will determine an appropriate addiction treatment option for you. It is important that you disclose any physical or mental health issues prior to treatment, as this could affect your care. Also, be honest about how much of the drug you’ve been taking.

Detoxing from Suboxone usually involves a taper off the drug, which means that the staff will sequentially reduce your dose of Suboxone over a predetermined amount of time until your body is completely rid of the substance. During this process, you may be given medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine—a medication used to reduce high blood pressure—has shown success in the management of certain troublesome opioid withdrawal effects like anxiety, as well as more flu-like symptoms such as sweating and aches.

Learn about 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day detox programs.

What Is Rapid Detox?

Rapid detox procedures were developed in an attempt to limit the duration of uncomfortable withdrawal and expedite the detoxification process from start to finish. Some of these programs promise detox completion in 3 days or less and employ techniques such as general anesthesia to sedate the withdrawing individual. Despite these claims, however, there is little evidence to show that rapid detox eases withdrawal more than other methods, and it may even be dangerous.

Why Should I Enter a Suboxone Detox Program?

Supervised detox can help with Suboxone withdrawal. It is a helpful tool for Suboxone-addicted individuals for many reasons. Perhaps the most noteworthy among these is that a supervised detox program will tailor your treatment to your unique needs so that you get the appropriate care for you.

Qualified staff members at detox centers will offer comfort by advising you of what will happen when you begin withdrawal and holding your hand through the process. When detoxing alone, you have to go through a difficult withdrawal period without the benefit of the expert guidance you’d find in a structured program.

When it comes to detoxing from any substance, one of the key features is safety. A detox center will follow a progression that is safe and comfortable for the individual now, which will lead to increased success in the future (there are links to low discomfort during withdrawal and increased periods of recovery in the long term). Detox centers can improve your chances of continued abstinence from Suboxone by:

  • Adjusting the treatment plan when needed.
  • Adding other medications when deemed appropriate.
  • Providing mental health services to manage the psychological impact of addiction.
  • Creating a supportive environment that is free from triggers and stress.

How to Find a Suboxone Detox Center

Like with any treatment, Suboxone programs vary. Some people will benefit more from inpatient detox, while others will find more value in completing detox on an outpatient basis. Others will utilize a blend of services. This is often preferred because detox alone will not treat addiction, as it is purely medical. Continued treatment in a longer-term inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab program will help you understand the thoughts and behaviors fueling your addiction and teach you new skills to avoid relapse and find success in your recovery.

Group Therapy session

When seeking treatment, make sure you know what you’re looking for. Consider if you want to:

  • Completely detox in an inpatient setting.
  • Stay close to home or travel far for treatment.
  • Continue working while in treatment.
  • Find a program that incorporates other medications.
  • Use health insurance or pay out-of-pocket for treatment.
  • Transfer to another addiction treatment program upon completion of detox. (Often, you can get a referral to another center or program for continued care.)

You don’t have to continue living with opioid addiction. Rehab facilities are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted facilities across the country. If you’re ready to begin your new life free from Suboxone, call us free at today. A treatment admissions advisor will help you sort through your options to find a program that is best tailored to your specific needs.

American Addiction Centers maintains a strong partnership with a large group of insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities. Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies.

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Eric Patterson, MSCP, NCC, LPC, is a professional counselor who has been working for over a decade to help children, adolescents, and adults in western Pennsylvania reach their goals and improve their well-being.

Along the way, Eric worked as a collaborating investigator for the field trials of the DSM-5 and completed an agreement to provide mental health treatment to underserved communities with the National Health Service Corp.

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