The disease of addiction is very complicated and all-consuming, causing both physical and psychological deterioration to men and women of all ages, from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, and from all over the world.
When a person begins abusing alcohol or drugs, the self-destructive habit quickly begins taking over the individual’s life. As he or she develops a tolerance to the substance of abuse, the individual must consume more and more of the substance to achieve the desired effects.
The escalating severity of substance abuse results in the individual becoming both physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol or drugs, which means that he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms after only a few hours without one’s substance of choice.
Fortunately, those who become addicted to opiates have many resources available with which they can earn their health and independence back. Although addiction is a progressive and incurable disease, it can surely be treated, allowing individuals to live their lives without being in the throes of chemical dependency. However, addiction recovery can be complicated.
What works for one person may not be optimal for another, which is why it’s important for rehabs and treatment centers to offer a variety of treatments and services to accommodate diverse needs. One common offering is the use of Suboxone as part of the addiction treatment process, but this has proven to be controversial.
As such, the following will define Suboxone, explaining what it is and how it’s used, and describe how it’s used in addiction treatment programs as well as the advantages and disadvantages of Suboxone use in rehab programs.
What Is Suboxone?
After realizing that addiction was a disease rather than a moral affliction, we have continued to research better and more effective ways of treating the disease. One area of research has been in medication. Arguably the most well-known medication used in addiction treatment programs is methadone, which is most commonly used in replacement therapies.
Suboxone is another medication that’s become increasingly popular with users that extend beyond just replacement therapies, including as part of actual rehabilitation programs. Since it was first made available in 2002, Suboxone has been hailed as being the most effective medication for the treatment of addiction, particularly opiate addiction. However, it’s not without its detractors as well.
Suboxone is the brand name of a medication that consists of two substances: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an incredibly powerful, semi-synthetic opiate that binds to the brain’s opiate receptors more readily than just about any other opiate.
While that might give the impression that buprenorphine would offer an intense high, buprenorphine is actually designed to readily bind with opiate receptors without actually stimulating them. The effect is that an individual’s opiate receptors are all occupied, which causes the individual to feel as though his or her cravings are satisfied while preventing him or her from feeling withdrawal symptoms.
Without causing euphoria or intoxication, the buprenorphine makes it possible for opiate addicts to cease using heroin and painkillers as the buprenorphine that has bound with their receptors causes them to feel as though their cravings have been satisfied.
Meanwhile, the naloxone—an opioid antagonist that’s well-known for being effective in treating opiate overdoses—blocks the effects of other opioids, rendering them ineffective if the individual were to try to use heroin or painkillers while taking buprenorphine. As a whole, Suboxone allows an opioid addict to stop using opioids without experiencing strong cravings and withdrawals. In fact, retention rates have been between 40 and 60 percent for individuals on Suboxone maintenance for a one-year period.
Are There Disadvantages to Suboxone Use in Rehabs?
The primary argument against the use of Suboxone in any long-term addiction treatment revolves around the idea that if an opioid addict is simply replacing his or her drug of choice with Suboxone, the individual is still technically dependent on a chemical substance and, therefore, can’t really be considered abstinent.
Moreover, there have been instances of Suboxone abuse reported despite the safety measures that have been applied to the substance in order to make it more difficult to abuse.
Advantages of Using Suboxone in Addiction Treatment Programs
Despite the arguments against Suboxone, the available evidence suggests that the benefits of using Suboxone as part of an alcohol or drug addiction treatment program far outweigh the potential drawbacks. For instance, one of the best uses for Suboxone for those in recovery programs is to use the medication during the detoxification process. When an addict begins detoxification, the individual can begin taking Suboxone as a means of alleviating withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
As he or she progresses through the detox, the Suboxone can be tapered until the individual no longer needs the medication as he or she will no longer be experiencing withdrawals. Moreover, since Suboxone is always managed by providers, individuals won’t be able to divert the medication to those who might abuse it and patients won’t be able to abuse the medication themselves.
In effect, the use of Suboxone in addiction treatment programs ensures that Suboxone is used appropriately and to maximum effect while also preventing its abuse by making sure that it’s not sold on the street to those who would intentionally misuse it.
Perhaps most importantly, the medication has shown tremendous efficacy when utilized as a detoxification tool, allowing opioid addicts to cease their intake of heroin and painkillers free from the pain and discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.
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Although Suboxone can be incredibly effective for some individuals, the use of Suboxone as part of an addiction treatment program isn’t the most effective form of treatment for everyone. It’s important for a program to be tailored to the needs of each individual, ensuring that every addict gets the effective treatments he or she needs to achieve lasting sobriety.
If you or someone you love would benefit from a free consultation and assessment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today at 855-619-8070. Our specialists are available day and night, ready to help anyone suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction to begin the journey to a life of lasting health and happiness.