Suboxone Treatment for Opioid Dependence
When you’re in pain, you want relief. Period. And fast.
Your doctor may prescribe a pain medicine that’s an opioid, such as morphine, or a combination like Tylenol #3. Tylenol #3 is a combination of acetaminophen and codeine. Codeine is an opiate, which means it’s derived from opium from the poppy flower. When it’s combined with acetaminophen, it’s an effective pain reliever for short-term pain, such as the pain following surgery.
But, if you take an opiate medication longer than a few days or a week, it’s effectiveness for pain begins to diminish and your feeling that you need more and more of it grows.
There’s another tricky side effect of opium and it’s derivatives. You get a euphoric feeling as it blocks your pain, and that euphoric feeling can makes you want to take it even when you aren’t in pain.
Opiate or Opioid?
Another type of medication used to treat pain is not from the poppy flower, but rather a compound created in the lab to work in a similar way that opium does. That type of medicine is an opioid. In fact, opioids include all opium-type medications, whether they’re derived from the natural plant, or synthesized in a laboratory, or bought on the street.
If you take any of these medications too long, you may find you’ve begun to depend on them and wish for more. The longer you continue to take them, the stronger that dependence becomes.
And the longer you take them, the less effective they are. So it can drive you to want higher and higher doses.
It gets expensive.
Many people turn to heroin. Four out of every five new heroine user started out by using prescription pain medication.
To make matters worse, if you take too much of an opioid, it can cause your breathing to become slower and slower, until you can eventually go into a coma…and finally stop breathing altogether.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine published statistics in 2015 that over 2.5 million Americans battled with prescription opioid addiction that year. That figure continues to rise. Another perspective is that 6 out of every 10 deaths is caused by opioid overdose. This includes prescription opioids as well as illegal opioids like heroin.
Opioid dependence is dangerous. It interferes with everything in the life of someone who’s dependent. Job performance, missing work, financial disaster, relationship failures. Divorce, foreclosures, evictions, repossessions… can all be consequences of this condition.
That euphoric feeling that was so appealing initially can turn into a cruel master if an opioid is taken too long. The euphoric feeling reduces, the pain relief disappears, and what’s left is a futile drive to find enough, and take enough, to just help you feel like you can function at all. And so that you don’t get sick when it wears off. You need more and more because your tolerance grows. As that daily grind continues, depression, shame, and futility become overwhelming.
But there’s hope…and a way out.
Suboxone Treatment for Opioid Dependence
Suboxone treatment for opioid dependence is a safe, manageable medical treatment to relieve opioid dependence. Since “cold turkey” methods are so painful and cause excruciating withdrawal symptoms, the chances of successfully overcoming dependence with stopping cold-turkey are low at best.
The beauty of Suboxone is that it’s a partial opioid agonist, in contrast to opioids — which are full opioid agonists. This means that the euphoric feelings you get when you take opioids like morphine or oxycontin, don’t happen with Suboxone.
So what does happen with it?
You have opioid receptors in your brain in the area where you experience pleasure. When you take Suboxone, it fills those receptors for 24 hours — it “satisfies” them without creating euphoria…and those receptors can’t receive any other opioids for that period of time. So, for 24 hours after a dose of Suboxone, even if you do take a full-on opioid like oxycontin or fentanyl, or heroin, you’ll be unable to feel any pleasure from it. You can’t get high.
At the same time, Suboxone pulls a fast one on your body, making it think you’re NOT withdrawing from opioids. So–you don’t have the severe withdrawal symptoms you’d have with the “cold turkey” method.
Suboxone and Naloxone – The Best Treatment Path to Freedom
When you receive Suboxone treatment, you actually receive two medicines. One of them is buprenorphine, which blocks the opioid receptors in your brain, and the other is Naloxone. Naloxone is an antidote for opioid overdose used to reverse the often fatal effects of opioid overdose, and prevents respirations from becoming too shallow and slow…or stopping…
In Suboxone, it’s used to help prevent Suboxone from being misused and injected IV. If you were to try to inject it, the naloxone in it would immediately precipitate opioid withdrawl.
Daily doses of Suboxone help you to be safe, to adjust to living without the euphoric experiences of opioid dependence while helping your body make the adjustment safely.
The goal of Suboxone treatment at Innovative Psychiatry is to buy time for you … so that you can stop abusing opioids, stop the cycle of tolerance and escalating doses, and get your life back on track. Change your habits. Stop lying. Repair your relationships. Become productive. Get out of debt. Stay clean.
We know that counselling, support, 12-step programs and other relapse-prevention programs can help you stay clean, think more productively, and set goals. They’re an important part of Suboxone treatment and we will coordinate your treatment with us with outside therapists covered under your insurance plan. Over time, as you stabilize, we can reduce Suboxone doses slowly so that you can continue a life free of opioid dependence after your treatment is complete.
If you believe you may be dependent on an opioid medicine, or substance, Suboxone treatment for opioid dependence is designed to help you live a life free of dependence. Productive and fulfilling.