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Suboxone Detox

Life Without Suboxone

Suboxone affects the central nervous system (or CNS) by blocking brain receptors that produce euphoric feelings. As a combination of buprenorphine and nalaxone, it is mainly used in addiction treatment. Still, regualr use of Suboxone can lead you to physical dependence, or even addiction.

But, what can you expect if you’d like to quit Suboxone? What’s detox like? We explore here and invite your questions about Suboxone in the comments section at the end of the page.


Why Does Withdrawal Occur?

Even when taking Suboxone as directed, the brain still changes after several weeks of use. Every psychoactive drug disrupts the natural chemical balance in the brainto some extent. For example, chronic Suboxone use leads to physical dependence. This means that the brain is used to the chemical effects from Suboxone and begins to adapt.

Suboxone is a depressant drug. The brain adapts by creating stimulant effects – or “speeding up” specific processes and functions. Take away the drug, and it takes some time for the stimulant effects to even out. This is why muscle cramps, sweating, or problems sleeping occur. Buprenorphine withdrawal tends to resolve within a week or so after discontinuation…and is rarely life-threatening.

However, relapse is common. Since the mind and the body are connected, a physical dependence is usually accompanied by a psychological dependence as well. This can be translated as: ‘My mind and my body signal a need for Suboxone each day’.


Withdrawal symptoms occur when a psychoactive drug is removed or leaves the bloodstream after a period of drug dependence. This is the way the brain attempts to restore balance after the chemical interference is no longer present. Common symptoms that manifest during Suboxone withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

The Process of Detox

Suboxone detox is a cluster of interventions created to manage drug effect and withdrawal symptoms. Note that detox can be used to treat dependence OR addiction. It is only the first step in treating Suboxone addiction.

In order to minimize risk of side effects, the process of detoxification is best arranged in special detox clinics that are supervised by addiction professionals and medical staff. In general, Suboxone detox consists of three main stages of treatment.

STAGE 1. The Evaluation Process.

The first stage of any reputable medical detox chouls consist of diagnosis, assessment, and observation of a patient’s physical as well as psychological state. In fact, an assessment is necessary to manage Suboxone withdrawal treatment correctly.

In a medical detox, you can expect to undergo a variety of blood tests and urinalyses for establishing levels of Suboxone tolerance in the body to address dependence. Additionally, you may be asked to fill out insurance forms, a medical history, or questionnaires. Finally, you may meet with a doctor or psychologist in a brief interview.

STAGE 2. The Stabilization Process.

Stabilization entails numerous medical, pharmacological, and psychological therapies for addressing buprenorphine-specific withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, this stage of detox may include use of medications such as antidepressants or short acting benzodiazepines. Still, to avoid replacement from one to other dependence, use if over-the-counter medications and gradually reducing doses is usually preferred to this process.

STAGE 3. The Bridge to Long-Term Recovery.

The last process of detox from prepares people for entry into addiction treatment, if needed. Some people just need extra help to quit buprenorphine. In cases like this, inpatient or outpatient rehab programs can help. Staff can help encourage your psychological state by emphasizing the importance of completing treatment and offers referral to local resources.

Suboxone Detox Methods

During Suboxone detox, Suboxone leaves the system and activates symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal. Experts suggest that the safest way to detox from Suboxone is to enter a specialized clinic monitored by trained medical professionals. Still, you can Suboxone from detox at home… with medical clearance.

Below is a list of several popular Suboxone detox methods people try:

1. Cold turkey detox is a harsh method for quitting Suboxone. Cases of abrupt drug discontinuation are a shock to the body, intensifying the withdrawal symptoms even more. Quitting Suboxone all at once is dangerous, due to the fact that it creates even stronger drug cravings and what’s worse, cold turkey method comes with high relapse rates.

2. Medically supervised detox is the safest way to stop using Suboxone. With the help of professionals, people have the chance to spend a few days or even a week at a controlled and drug free environment, where they will be guided on their way to achieving sobriety.

3. Self-guided Suboxone detox is risky and can be dangerous. People usually try to quit a drug or a medication first by themselves. But lacking the expertise, they usually fail to do so. The same way you were prescribed with Suboxone by a doctor and advised to follow his/her directions, coming down off Suboxone should not be done without doctor’s advice.


Tapered Suboxone detox is considered as the safest method, while cold turkey detox is the least recommended quitting method with highest relapse rates. Moreover, slowly cutting down Suboxone doses doesn’t causes a great shock to the human system and it may lessen the symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal.

Nevertheless, you’ll need an individualized tapered plan for reducing daily Suboxone doses. Generally, tapered detox plan for Suboxone include:

  1. First, reduce the intake by 20-50% per day until you come to 30mg on daily use.
  2. Second, reduce the intake by 5mg per day every 3-5 days to reach 10 mg daily use.
  3. And finally, reduce the dose by 2.5 mg per day every 3-5 days.


The duration of detox can vary, depending on how long you have been using Suboxone, as well as the dosage you’ve been taking. Generally, most withdrawal symptoms subside after 3-4 weeks. Some protracted or post-acute symptoms related to sleep and mood can persist for months or years after last dose.

Tips For Managing Withdrawal

Suboxone detox is not life-threatening. However, it can feel like an endlessly journey.  If you want to manage Suboxone withdrawal symptoms successfully the following tips may help you:

TIP #1: Eat organic food and have balanced meals.
TIP #2: Go to bed early and get enough sleep.
TIP #3: Exercise regularly.
TIP #4: Maintain positive connections with peers and family.
TIP #5: Educate yourself about detoxification.
TIP #6: Be patient and stay the course.
TIP #7: Ask for help when you need it.
TIP #8: Practice yoga or meditation.

Your Questions

If you or someone is dealing with Suboxone addiction treatment, please share your experience in the comments section below. Also, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. We will do our best to respond as soon as possible.

Reference sources: NIH: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A research-based guide
SAMHSA: Quick Guide for Clinicians: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
State of Iowa: Talking about prescription drug misuse
NIH: Drug of abuse- opiates

Suboxone Detox

The Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline Chart (INFOGRAPHIC)

The Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline Chart (INFOGRAPHIC)

July 14th, 2018

An easy-to-follow VISUAL GUIDE to Suboxone withdrawal symptoms and when they peak. See what you can expect…or DOWNLOAD for your office or medical clinic. Then, feel free to SHARE!

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