Is Suboxone Addictive?
Yes, Suboxone can be addictive. Suboxone – a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone – is classified as a Schedule III drug and is used in the treatment of addiction to heroin, morphine, and other opiate drugs.
Q: But how can a medication used for the treatment of one addiction lead to another?
A: Suboxone is rarely addictive for people who use it for medical reasons. However, if you abuse Suboxone recreationally or outside of prescribed parameters you can risk becoming addicted to it.
Although Suboxone is used to help people become and remain sober, it does contain buprenorphine as one of its active ingredients…which is an opiate drug itself. It acting directly on the brain and the central nervous system, and attaches to the same receptors as other opiate drugs. This is how Suboxone can become an addiction-causing substance.
Read more about the signs of Suboxone addiction and how they are treated here. At the end, we welcome your comments and questions . We value your feedback and do our best to get back to all legitimate inquiries with a personal and prompt response.
What is Suboxone Addiction…Really?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) created by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), drug addiction is a mental health disorder. Experts describe addiction as a brain disease that is characterized by an inability to stop or stay off the drug caused by an inexplicable desire or compulsion to use Suboxone.
Usually, addiction comes as a result of a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors in life, which may include:
- A family history of drug abuse or addiction.
- A personal drug abuse history.
- Traumatic events in the past, especially in early-childhood.
- Presence of drug use in the home or in the community.
- Lack of parental support and communication in early childhood and adolescence.
- Co-occuring mental health disorders.
All these factors can fuel a person’s addictive behavior. In such cases, drugs like Suboxone help people self-medicate emotional, physical, and psychological pain. This is why addiction treatment programs first explore your individual root causes for addiction, and then help you resolve these issues by building the necessary coping mechanisms for a sober life.
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Addiction to Suboxone: What’s it like?
Who else could better tell the story of what addiction to Suboxone is like than a person who has faced it? Here is the personal experience one person decided to share with others:
“I suppose I tried it out of curiosity more than anything else. I was, after all, somewhat familiar with the basic facts of Suboxone – or buprenorphine, the drug’s medical name. After just 5 or 10 minutes of placing only 1mg or 2mg under my tongue and then waiting for it to dissolve, I was totally transformed.
For starters, my social inhibitions disappeared completely, which is a pretty incredible effect for someone who is socially anxious by nature, as I’ve always been. But it was the physical sensation – a warming sense of overall calm and confidence – that really grabbed me. It was the first time I’d ever tried buprenorphine, and already I couldn’t get enough.
In fact, I’m told the effect of buprenorphine on someone who, like me, had never been a user of narcotics, is not entirely unlike the effect of heroin: The entire body is enveloped in a sort of blissful, tingling warmth – a sensation that an old friend of mine who had once used heroin regularly described as “a full-body orgasm.” To me, that sounded like a pretty accurate description of the physical effects I was soon beginning to experience more and more from Suboxone, which I’d begun sheepishly asking for almost every time we got together [with a friend who was supplying].
It didn’t take very long, though, for me to discover that two milligrams of Suboxone were no longer doing the trick, and that I would need to up my dose considerably if I wanted to really enjoy myself. When I close my eyes and think about that time now, the single memory that seems to pop up over and over again is an evening I spent alone in my apartment, rubbing the carpet fibers in my living room for maybe an hour or two with a drunken grin plastered on my face, and then blissfully organizing and rearranging the contents of my Ikea bookshelf until the physical effects of the buprenorphine eventually faded away. I have literally no memory of what I did with myself after the high disappeared…”
Signs of Suboxone Addiction
Some of the common signs that a person addicted to Suboxone is likely to display include:
- apathetic mood
- increased blood pressure
- poor memory
- slurred speech
- small pupils
In addition to these, some of the other key signs associated with Suboxone addiction include:
Taking more Suboxone and for longer than you intended.
Wanting to cut down or quit use, but not succeeding.
Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of Suboxone.
Feeling intense urges (cravings) for Suboxone use.
Failing to meet obligations and responsibilities because of Suboxone use.
Giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities due to Suboxone use.
Taking Suboxone in situations that may be unsafe.
Using Suboxone even though you know it’s causing you physical or psychological harm.
Experiencing physical or psychological Suboxone withdrawal symptoms when you lower or discontinue use.
Continuing to take Suboxone in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Do you recognize these signs?
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Treatment of Suboxone addiction
There are many successfully treatments programs that deal with Suboxone addiction. Usually, it is treated with a combination of behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies. However, not every treatment is suitable for everyone. Rehabs need to be flexible to modify their therapy program and customize it to fit your personal goals and needs. Below are two evidence-based treatment methods used during Suboxone addiction treatment:
1. Pharmaceutical treatment for Suboxone withdrawal and cravings.
Suboxone is used in replacement opioid therapy to treat addiction. But, when a person becomes psychologically dependent on Suboxone, other medications are used to end Suboxone dependence. Antidepressants and short acting benzodiazepines are only few of the medications that can initially assist your Suboxone withdrawal, and help you stay on the right track in recovery. Additionally, detox staff may recommend that you gradually taper off Suboxone over the course of days or weeks. Tapering can significantly reduce the intensity and severity of withdrawal symptoms.
2. Behavioral and psychological treatment.
Behavioral treatments help you regaining control over your life and learning new skills, and develop coping mechanisms (that don’t include drug use) for dealing with stress and conflict. Furthermore, most treatments are delivered in individual session that last about 45-60 minutes with an addiction psychotherapist. Additionally, group and family therapies are also available during recovery.
Got Any Questions?
In the article we only point out some of the key points about Suboxone addiction. If you still have concerns and/or questions, please do not hesitate to ask us in the comments section below. We try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.