What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a brand name prescription medication used to treat opioid addiction. It is made up of buprenorphine – a partial opioid agonist and naxolone, which is designed to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. This drug can be prescribed by a doctor and is used in many rehab centers as part of detox protocols to reduce cravings and stave off the effects of addictive opiates. This being said, Suboxone also has the potential for abuse. As it is part of the opioid family of drugs that act on the reward centers of the brain, it can be misused to give the user a feeling of euphoria.
What are the Side Effects of Suboxone Abuse?
Suboxone, which is intended as a medication opiate withdrawal symptoms is often abused. It can come in a tablet form or sublingual film that dissolves on the tongue. This medication is meant to be beneficial in the treatment of opioid addiction, but it can also be misused as a means to get “high”. Those who abuse this drug may buy it from others, take Suboxone that was not prescribed to them or take larger doses than necessary. Those who take pleasure in abusing this medication may experience a feeling of euphoria, feelings of calmness, and reduced physical pain.
Side effects of Suboxone abuse include:
- Blurred vision
- Problems concentrating
- Low blood pressure
- Problems breathing
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How does an Addiction to Suboxone Form?
Opioids alter the area of the brain associated with pain and reward. They are used for pain relief as they block pain receptors in the brain and release dopamine and serotonin. This makes the user feel a sense of euphoria, especially when high doses are taken. As the abuse continues, the natural supply of these “feel good” chemicals diminishes, and the user finds that without more of the drug, it is hard or even impossible to feel good. This situation can lead to a severe addiction as people continue to take increasing doses of Suboxone to attain a sense of euphoria.
This addiction can be psychological too as drugs that give a user a sense of pleasure often are. When a person has a bad day, they easily turn to the drug as a source of relief, building a reward based recognition of the drug’s effect.
What Should I look for in a Suboxone Addiction Treatment Program?
All effective treatment methods for the abuse of drugs and alcohol share similarities. A treatment plan will begin with an assessment of the patient to establish the key areas that therapy should focus on, the scope of the addiction and the risks involved, such as withdrawal symptoms, among other things. For addictions to drugs such as Suboxone, a detoxification period is required. It is advised that the detox be done under professional supervision as the withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Medication can be used to help the patient deal with the more severe symptoms.
Rehabilitation is the next step in a treatment program. Behavioral therapies are used to adjust the user’s behavior with regards to how they deal with stress, peer pressure and other triggers to their drug use. Healthy alternative methods of coping are given to the patient to provide them with a way to deal with their current and future cravings. Alternative methods of treatment such as art or music therapy can be very effective at treating patients that have low self-esteem or have difficulty expressing their feelings.
The time after a patient leaves rehab is crucial. Sober living environments are available to help with the transition from rehab to normal every-day life. These environments are usually houses where several recovering addicts live together and help each other stay sober. Many of the same benefits of inpatient rehab programs can be gained through sober living communities, with the freedom to leave the house to go to school or work.