Dosing Guide: How to Manage Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

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There are more than 80,000 opioid overdose deaths in the United States every year. That amounts to more than 75 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the country.

The good news is that there are effective treatments for opioid abuse. These include medications like Suboxone that help curb cravings.

Despite being a helpful aid to opioid addiction, Suboxone can itself be addictive. This can result in serious withdrawal symptoms. Overcoming these can be a vital step for continued recovery.

Below is a guide to managing Suboxone withdrawal symptoms. It will help you understand their nature and what you can expect going forward. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medication that is commonly used in the treatment of opioid addiction. The overall goal is to lessen withdrawal symptoms associated with ceasing opioid use.

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It causes mild euphoria and respiratory depression.

One of the benefits of buprenorphine is that it is a much weaker drug than many full opioid agonists, like methadone. It also has a lengthy half-life, which can help prevent withdrawal symptoms long after being administered.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking or even reversing the effects of other opioids. This makes it a valuable tool in treating opioid overdoses as well as addiction.

Together, as Suboxone, these two medications interact to help reduce cravings for opioids. Buprenorphine tricks the brain into thinking it has received a dose of opioids. Naloxone blocks the activation of opioid receptors so that there is no euphoric high.

This encapsulates why Suboxone is so effective. Since there is no temptation to reproduce a high, it minimizes the potential to become habit-forming. However, it can cause withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking the medication.

What Are Common Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms?

Suboxone does have a mild risk of addiction. As indicated, this does not come in the form of a psychological dependence on its effects (since there are no noticeable ones).

Rather, it arises from withdrawal symptoms when one stops taking the drug. In short, the desire to assuage these unpleasant symptoms through continued use of Suboxone can lead to addiction.

Common Suboxone withdrawal symptoms include nausea and vomiting. People experience headaches as well as muscle and body pangs. In some cases, numbness or tingling in extremities can occur.

Insomnia and lethargy are common symptoms as well. In some cases, people have experienced extreme anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and depression.

Suboxone cravings can also occur. Fever, chills, sweating, and difficulty concentrating can accompany severe craving periods.

How Long Do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

In general, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will subside anywhere from several days up to a month. In most cases, symptoms (especially physical ones) will be at their worst in the first 72 hours. Then, withdrawal signs begin to dissipate or completely disappear after that.

How fast this occurs can vary widely. After about one week, the most common symptoms are psychological. This includes depression and anxiety, which are the most typical.

After one month, depression and cravings could persist, depending on the individual. In most cases, these are mild, if they do occur at all.

The severity of symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal relates directly to how long someone has been on the medication. This can also be impacted by their current dosage. Like with other drugs, the longer someone has used Suboxone and the more they regularly take it will mean a lengthier recovery period.

Other factors can play a part as well. This includes the age and general health of the individual.

How to Manage Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms?

There are several effective approaches to managing Suboxone withdrawal symptoms. These can be employed individually, although a combination may be most beneficial. Here are the main ones to consider.

Find a Dependable Treatment Program

The first tool to combat Suboxone withdrawal is to ensure that you are in a recovery program. This should already be the case if you are using Suboxone to overcome opioid addiction.

This ensures that you are addressing any co-existing mental health conditions related to drug abuse. It can also help you work through the physiological effects of withdrawal.

There are many convenient options for treatment. This includes in- and out-patient services. You can also find online Suboxone programs, many of which offer medical-assisted treatment.

Taper Dosage

Another way to address psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms associated with Suboxone is to gradually decrease dosage. Going “cold turkey” can make both the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms much greater. Since Suboxone is a safe, effective medication, tapering dosage may be the best way to come off of it.

Lifestyle Changes

There are also some very simple and easy personal choices you can make to keep Suboxone withdrawal symptoms at bay. One is to stay hydrated. Doing so can help flush remnants of the medication out of your body and can combat effects related to dehydration and nausea.

Next, be sure to get plenty of rest and exercise, when possible. This will help your body become stronger, prevent depression, and allow you to better deal with the psychological effects of Suboxone withdrawal.

Finally, eating a healthy diet can be an effective way to combat withdrawal symptoms. This can improve digestive health and make your gastrointestinal system more resilient against the effects of nausea. You may also find that altering your diet away from spicy or strong foods can help in this regard.

Learn More About Suboxone Withdrawal and How to Treat It

Now that you know how to manage Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, you can take steps to continue in recovery. Remember that rehab is a process, not an end goal. Continuing to move in the right direction is the most important thing you can do.

At Recovery Delivered, our goal is to address the two main barriers to recovery: lack of access to care and time burdens that keep people from pursuing help. We provide convenient online services, including medication-assisted treatment. Contact us today to learn more about Suboxone and other recovery aids.

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