Suboxone is a medication commonly used to treat opioid addiction, dependency, and withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, Suboxone has a high risk of misuse, and developing an addiction to Suboxone is not as uncommon as you may think. To begin treating Suboxone addiction as well as any other substance addiction, detox is the first step.
Having the proper knowledge and information about Suboxone detox and Suboxone withdrawal symptoms beforehand can better prepare you for what addiction treatment will be like. Questions like “What are some withdrawal symptoms?” and “What is detox like?” are common among people that are considering seeking suboxone addiction treatment, and rightfully so. As the first step in treatment, Suboxone detox is also the most important.
Withdrawals are common among those who engage in detox, and they occur as a result of attempting to stop intake of a drug, either via cold turkey or tapering. It is important to note that both of these methods can cause withdrawal symptoms, but quitting cold turkey almost always results in more uncomfortable and severe withdrawal symptoms. Many withdrawal symptoms, physical and psychological, are experienced throughout detox, and many people that have been dual diagnosed find difficulty in treating both of their disorders.
Thankfully, treatment centers are the perfect answer to these problems. In the detox stage, doctors use medications and methods to help treat the withdrawals you may experience. By ignoring professional treatment, someone refuses themselves the help that they truly need to treat their withdrawals, often resulting in relapse and the development of addiction again.
Many of the withdrawal symptoms associated with Suboxone withdrawal are physical, such as:
Nausea is common throughout opioid withdrawals, however, it is more common in Suboxone withdrawal due to the fact that Suboxone also affects opioid receptors.
Fairly self-explanatory, cravings are common throughout drug withdrawals, and professional supervision is advised to avoid relapse
The excessive sweating of Suboxone withdrawal is caused by the fact that Suboxone naturally dehydrates the body, and removing it from your system will cause irregularities in bodily fluid production.
Other physical symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal can include diarrhea, loss of appetite, insomnia, fatigue, hot/cold flashes, small convulsions such as shivering, and muscle discomforts such as cramps or other acute pains.
The psychological symptoms of suboxone withdrawal can include the following:
Seeing as your sober brain is no longer receiving constant surges of dopamine, you may find yourself enjoying things much less and becoming agitated quicker.
Going hand-in-hand with irritability, losing interest in previously enjoyable activities is common for the same reason; your brain is now at a sober state, and due to the chronic dopamine surges, your brain’s expectation for “enjoyable” is significantly higher, being sated only by drug use.
Other psychological withdrawal symptoms can include the development of anxiety, depression, or a number of other mental health disorders. In the case that a patient is already dual diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, such as depression, the effects of their mental health disorder may be significantly amplified. Whereas a patient with Suboxone addiction and depression may simply feel sad or isolated, withdrawals can amplify the depression into potential feelings of self-harm. This is why it is extremely important to partake in medical detox as opposed to at-home detox; the help of an expert can easily mean the difference between relapse and recovery.
To prepare yourself for Suboxone addiction treatment, the addict should be aware of the potential withdrawal symptoms they will encounter, and when they begin/wear off. We have constructed a timeline to better show what exactly an addict will experience as they begin their Suboxone detox. Because suboxone generally takes longer to affect the user than other opioids, the withdrawal symptoms tend to start slowly and last a bit longer than usual, making Suboxone detox a bit more difficult.
It is important to note that this timeline refers to the general withdrawal symptoms associated with Suboxone detox. As mentioned before, all cases are different, and some of these may not apply to you or any other individual.
The first three days of Suboxone detox are commonly viewed as the most physically strenuous and unpleasant. Within six to 12 hours of complete Suboxone detox, withdrawals such cramps, nausea, and diarrhea begin to affect the user. Thankfully, there are many medications that treatment centers commonly use to treat these withdrawal symptoms.
By day four, it is likely that the insomnia withdrawal symptom has begun to affect the patient. With insomnia comes other psychological symptoms, generally starting on days five, six, or seven, such as anxiety and agitation.
After the first week of Suboxone detox, a patient will become susceptible to the depression symptoms associated with suboxone withdrawal. This is also when cravings are commonly viewed as the most intense, causing people to relapse. During Suboxone withdrawal in a medically-supervised environment, doctors and therapists provide any resource or medication (such as antidepressants) you may need to endure these uncomfortable psychological withdrawal symptoms while also preventing relapse.
By the start of the second month of Suboxone withdrawal, relapse prevention becomes a key asset. While Suboxone will now be out of your system, drug cravings are still very real and very apparent. Suboxone, a long-acting drug, can actually cause cravings years after detoxing, though this is uncommon.
It is also important to note that the greatest chance for relapse when it comes to Suboxone detox happens after the first month, further strengthening the need to engage in medically-supervised detox.
Despite the dangers of Suboxone withdrawal, many of the unpleasant side effects associated with Suboxone detox can be balanced out by simply engaging in positive activities. By distracting yourself from the many psychological effects of suboxone withdrawal, you can greatly lower your risk of relapsing.
Engaging in healthy habits is among the easiest and most effective ways to help free your mind from Suboxone withdrawals during detox. Exercising is a great way to exert any stress you may have built up from constant Suboxone cravings, and exercise is a healthy, natural way for your brain to start producing more dopamine by itself, completely independent from Suboxone. A healthy diet is also key to maintaining a positive outlook during detox. There have been many studies conducted that prove that eating healthy fruits and vegetables not only improve your body health but your mental health and happiness as well.
Another thing you can do to help you get through Suboxone detox is socially engaging with people when you get the chance. Although “medical detox” only lasts generally between three to five days, detoxing from Suboxone can cause withdrawal symptoms months after detox is completed. After detox is complete, many people will withdraw and isolate themselves from social interaction as to avoid the stigma surrounding drug addiction. Fortunately, as the opioid crisis rages around us, the negative feelings toward addiction and people that suffer from it is going away slowly. Post-detox treatment, you will more than likely be interacting with other patients who have similar addictions. Talk to them; they will more than likely have some useful advice that could help you complete treatment successfully.
While engaging in positive activities will greatly aid in relapse prevention, there are some withdrawal symptoms that can simply not be treated by healthy habits. Symptoms of muscle pain/cramps, diarrhea, and nausea are all uncomfortable for the patient and can, fortunately, be treated with common medications you can find at your local drugstore.
Common non-prescription painkillers that can aid in the physical symptom of cramps can include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. These are generally safe to use, and rarely cause complications during detox.
Medications such as antacids, laxatives, and antidiarrheals can aid in treating any bowel irregularities that you may experience throughout your Suboxone detox.
Pepto-Bismol works wonders for treating nausea. Nausea can also lead to vomiting and a series of other uncomfortable symptoms, so taking care of it as soon as possible can make suboxone detox significantly easier for you.
Here at Delphi Behavioral Health Group, no one understands addiction better than we do. Our team of experienced nurses, doctors, medical professionals, therapists, and case managers make it their mission to treat your addiction. If you or anyone you know may be suffering from drug addiction, dependency, withdrawals, or anything else relating to drug abuse, our team is on standby ready to answer any and every question you may have.
Begin your journey down the path to sobriety today. Our specialists will listen to everything you have to say about your case, and will gladly help you choose a treatment center specifically tailored to your addiction. There is no time better than now to seek treatment, and we are ready to help.
Addiction Blog (September, 2013) “How long does buprenorphine withdrawal last?” Retrieved (May, 2018) from http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/how-long-does-buprenorphine-withdrawal-last/
Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Robert Segal, M.A. (February, 2018) “Stress Management” from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm
Agata Blaszczak-Boxe (July, 2016) “Eating More Fruits & Veggies May Make You Happier” from https://www.livescience.com/55407-eating-more-fruits-veggies-linked-with-life-satisfaction.html