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What Is Suboxone? Does It Help or Hurt? 

Suboxone is a drug prescribed by doctors as a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). As the opioid epidemic has raged throughout the U.S., doctors and scientists have needed to develop creative solutions to opioid abuse for certain populations. While suboxone has good intentions behind it, suboxone can take the form of an addictive substance on its own. 

Use of Suboxone

Suboxone is a soluble film form of a prescription that a client or patient will place under their tongue and allow to dissolve. This works as a medicine to help a patient slowly “step down” from using opioids. Many doctors agree that this can help a patient, but suboxone is not a one-size-fits-all drug. Careful consideration of a patient’s medical history and addiction history is needed to determine if suboxone can help or hurt a person. Suboxone is not safe for frequent use for those who struggle with addiction. 

Myths Versus Facts

There are several myths about suboxone that should be discussed. According to “Suboxone: Rationale, Science, Misconceptions,” there is misinformation about suboxone both in the public and within the medical community. 

  • Myth #1: Suboxone is safe for all opioid addiction treatment. Unfortunately, suboxone does not help all people recover from addiction issues. Suboxone use can develop into addiction on its own and should be prescribed carefully. 
  • Myth #2: Suboxone just substitutes one drug for another. Suboxone, when used correctly, is meant to be medicine to treat addiction. Suboxone can also help with a patient’s mental health and help prevent HIV, hepatitis C, and other diseases. 
  • Myth #3: Using suboxone is a sign of “giving up” or a “failure of willpower.” Suboxone does not mean anyone has given up, and there is no shame in using this substance if it is prescribed. What is important is that a person is working through treatment as recommended, aware of the possible negative effects, and aware of the possibility of addiction that can occur with suboxone. 
  • Myth #4: Suboxone is incompatible with 12-Step groups. 12-Step groups emphasize abstinence from substances, but they often differentiate between prescription medications that are part of treatment. Again, there is no shame in using medications as prescribed. Talk to your doctor about methods to ensure you are staying on track during your treatment and eventual recovery. 
  • Myth #5: Patients will get high or experience euphoria on suboxone. Because patients are often coming off harder opiates when they are prescribed suboxone, suboxone may not provide enough of a high for further addiction. Many people who are prescribed suboxone will still feel the effects of opioid withdrawal in treatment. However, if a person is taking suboxone incorrectly or with other substances, the combination can produce a euphoric effect. It is not impossible to get high on suboxone, but it is unlikely to happen when used correctly. 
  • Myth #6: Patients sell suboxone to others. Most people prescribed suboxone are engaged in their treatment and ready to change their life. If a patient is selling suboxone, it may not last long. Other treatment specialists, like a doctor or therapist, should be able to catch this behavior early and change the course of a patient’s treatment. 

Further Caution With Suboxone

Although many of the myths surrounding suboxone have been addressed above, there are dangers associated with using suboxone. Suboxone is still an opioid and can be addictive. A few signs of suboxone addiction may include: 

  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Itching
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Lying to doctors or going from doctor to doctor to get suboxone

Many of these symptoms and behaviors are similar to typical opioid use. If you feel that you or a loved one are not experiencing the positive benefits of suboxone, but might be developing addiction instead, tell your doctor right away.

For patients who are worried about opioid withdrawal and how their bodies will be affected by this substance, suboxone does not lessen these withdrawal symptoms enough to not to feel them at all. Those who have been prescribed suboxone for legitimate treatment purposes will still feel withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids and should know the risks of taking suboxone during treatment. Withdrawal symptoms from opioid and suboxone addiction include:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headache, muscle aches, and body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Lethargy
  • Poor sleep
  • Digestive and stomach issues
  • Anxiety issues
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, and sweating)
  • Difficulty concentrating

For those suffering from suboxone addiction, it may feel particularly hopeless or upsetting when suboxone does not work for initial opioid addiction treatment. It is okay, and there is no need to feel shame for a failed treatment. All people are unique in their abilities, shortfalls, and medical needs when it comes to addiction treatment. The important thing is to continue to try and get better. 

Using suboxone as a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) shouldn’t carry any shame, but there are risks associated with suboxone prescription. Treatments are not a one-size-fits-all and each person needs a unique approach for effective treatment. The treatment specialists at RECO Intensive will help to reach you where you are. We’ll guide you through your treatment, recovery strategies, and teach you about your brain and body as you go. At RECO Intensive, our professional staff and experienced alumni can guide you through a treatment plan that is personally catered to your needs. If you fear your suboxone prescription is not working, or if you notice a loved one may be experiencing suboxone addiction, trust us at RECO Intensive to help you treat suboxone addiction. As a RECO Intensive client, you’ll have full access to addiction treatment and our myriad of therapies offered at our Florida facilities. Call us today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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