Suboxone Treatment: Is it Helpful or Harmful?

Like any disease-specific epidemic, opioid abuse has left a lot of devastation in its wake. Though not literally contagious, the effects of opiate addiction seem to spread like a virus – one person’s addiction hurts not only themselves, but also their family and friends.

Millions of people are struggling today – according to the latest reports from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, opioid abuse affects 2.5 million people around the country. Overdose deaths from heroin and prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and drug overdoses now claim more lives than car accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers substance abuse of comparable significance to cancer and obesity.

Public health agencies are pouring a wealth of resources into effective treatment options to give those who struggle with opioid addiction a new lease on life. At The Treatment Center, we’ve seen so many of these people – simply trying to get their lives back on track in the wake of addiction. As a way to tackle addiction and withdrawal, many people have used Suboxone. As with any chemical, there are some benefits and drawbacks. We’d like to untangle some unclear information about Suboxone treatment.

What Is Suboxone Treatment?

Prescription Suboxone Sales Statistic InfographicOpioids alleviate pain, particularly after surgery. Millions of Americans take them as their doctors intend, but millions more take them non-medically. The temporary rush of euphoria associated with opioids makes people want more, and, over time, they develop a tolerance to the drug. When someone at this stage stops taking the opiate, painful withdrawal ensues. Instead of offering relief, the drug becomes a need. To achieve the original state of euphoria, people need higher dosages of the drug. For some people addicted to opioids, tolerance is so high that medical providers use medication to treat addiction. One of the most common of these medications is Suboxone.

Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) is used as a replacement to dangerous opioids, effectively reducing cravings and curbing withdrawal. If it sounds like a magic drug to cure addiction, consider that it’s not without controversy. Researchers have pinpointed a number of bad side effects, so medical providers must assess the benefits and the risks before prescribing it for any patient.

Why Would A Patient Need Suboxone?

Opioid addiction is one of the most difficult substance abuse problems to overcome because of the physical pain associated with withdrawal. People might begin taking opioids to deal with chronic pain and weaning off opioids not only requires patients to deal with withdrawal symptoms, but the pain they experienced previously. Suboxone is a viable option for these patients, providing an easier path to recovery.

What is Suboxone treatment? Physicians may prescribe Suboxone as a form of harm reduction in people who are addicted to opiates, including heroin. Suboxone treatment centers are popping up around the country to provide people with addiction and chronic pain a way to treat both effectively. However, the side effects of long-term Suboxone use are still unknown.

How Bad Is Suboxone For You?

Like any medication, Suboxone has benefits and risks. According to a recent report published by the National Study on Drug Abuse, patients who fought prescription painkiller addiction with a Suboxone regimen were more likely to cut back or quit abusing painkillers compared to those who didn’t. Suboxone helps treat the physiological aspects of opioid addiction, which is why physicians prescribe it, even in primary care settings.

However, people who quit taking Suboxone experience a high rate of relapse. It has not been on the market very long, and more research is needed to determine how to sustain a healthy recovery.

Pharmaceutical Side Effects Of Suboxone

Suboxone comes with some documented side effects, including dizziness, headache, nausea, and mood changes. Others have reported issues of urinary retention and decreased libido. When taken with central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or tranquilizers, it can be dangerous – even deadly.

Suboxone is linked to depression, although there is no conclusive evidence that suggests Suboxone causes depression – anyone in recovery is likely facing challenges that might exacerbate feelings of sadness. There is some concern about Suboxone and anxiety, but these, too, need more evidence to be conclusive. Suboxone depression treatment may involve taking antidepressants or completing therapy under the guidance of an addiction medicine specialist.

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Suboxone is a mild synthetic opioid analgesic, so it has some addictive qualities. Though it is not as strong as other opioids, it requires professional oversight. When a patient takes Suboxone more frequently or in higher doses than prescribed, it’s possible to overdose. Since Suboxone is part naloxone, the drug used to treat opioid overdose, Suboxone overdose treatment requires professional care at an emergency center.

Talk With A Specialist At The Treatment Center For Suboxone Questions

You should discuss these benefits and risks with a doctor. We suggest overseeing Suboxone treatment with an addiction specialist, like those at The Treatment Center. While primary care physicians can prescribe Suboxone for addiction, a specialist is more likely to spot signs of adverse side effects or the potential for overdose.

While Suboxone has its share of controversy, it may be the best option for some people, especially those with chronic pain. There is no perfect answer, which is why it’s important to find answers from a professional facility like The Treatment Center.

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