Is Suboxone Addictive?
Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone and is used to treat opioid addicts during the detox and as part of treatment, which is referred to as medication-assisted treatment. Buprenorphine reduces the withdrawal symptoms and naloxone reverses the effects caused by opioids. The effects of buprenorphine are similar to other opioids, yet they are more mild and long-lasting. Suboxone is less addictive than heroin and morphine, and the risk of becoming addicted to it is not as high. However, the user can develop a dependency for suboxone, if they remain on it longer then needed. Addiction and dependency are two different things. An addiction can certainly develop from a dependency on drugs, and its common with people who are dependent on prescription drugs. An addiction would be anything that is compulsive leading to dangerous and uncontrollable actions. The brain has a natural reward system, and when it receives opioids, it releases dopamine and causes the body to feel good. The potential for becoming addicted to suboxone is low, yet it is still possible. The buprenorphine in suboxone can lead to dependency, and dependency can create addiction. However, the naloxone within suboxone also decreases the chances of misuse, and addicts are more likely to turn to pure buprenorphine.
There are some signs to look for if you feel someone may be addicted to suboxone. This would include nausea, unpredictable mood swings, muscle aches, fever, headaches, and insomnia. Excessive use of suboxone can lead to respiratory depression, because of the buprenorphine within the drug. Severe breathing problems can lead to coma and even death. These effects are more likely to occur when suboxone is abused, or used in combination with other drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. Liver damage has also been documented among people who have used suboxone, and this would be monitored by the prescribing doctor. Suboxone is prescribed to addicts who are abusing short-acting opioids. This would include heroin, codeine, morphine and oxycodone for example. The user is still at risk for experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms because of the naloxone within the suboxone. If someone is choosing to abuse buprenorphine, they would choose pure buprenorphine. Suboxone was developed to help prevent the abuse of buprenorphine.
The long-term use of suboxone creates physical dependency and does cause withdrawal symptoms. When suboxone is abruptly stopped, the user will experience these withdrawal symptoms. If you are being prescribed suboxone within a residential drug rehab center, the program will typically detox you off the drug. Within an outpatient center, the patient is often tapered off the suboxone to ensure they can make a full recovery. Suboxone withdrawal symptoms would include nausea, diarrhea, headaches, muscle aches, insomnia, anxiety, drug cravings, and depression. These withdrawal symptoms are effectively treated within a detox program, such as medical detox. Medication-assisted treatment can work for some opioid addicts. However, the goal should be to become completely drug and alcohol-free when treatment is complete.