When a person develops an addiction to opioid drugs and then stops taking them, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. When they enter a formal drug rehab, they have options to help relieve some of these withdrawal symptoms. Many people in treatment centers use Suboxone as part of their initial detox plan and well into their next steps for staying sober. But is Suboxone an opiate itself? If so, how can it help people who are already addicted to this particular type of narcotic? Buckhead Behavioral Health explores the topic of Suboxone and its place in the world of addiction treatment.
What is Suboxone?
One of the most difficult challenges to overcome when someone attempts to stop abusing opioids is the withdrawal symptoms. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the usage of a medication called Suboxone. It is prescribed by medical personnel as part of an overall plan to help people who are addicted to opioid drugs. Its usage is monitored to understand how it affects the person and the impact it has on their ability to stay sober.
Suboxone minimizes the withdrawal symptoms a person experiences when they stop taking opioids. It proves helpful in reducing their cravings to use opioids again, which are particularly strong during the early days of sobriety. Suboxone is composed of buprenorphine and naloxone and is classified as an opioid agonist. It is produced as both a pill and a dissolvable film.
Using Suboxone on its own with no professional support from an addiction treatment center does not work. It should be taken as part of an overall supervised program such as residential or outpatient care. The use of medications like Suboxone is classified as Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT, which is a combination of traditional talk therapies and FDA-approved medications.
Is Suboxone an Opiate?
The answer to “Is Suboxone an opiate?” is yes, it technically is one, but not in the way someone might expect. It is vital to understand that this drug is in a different category than opiate drugs that commonly cause addiction. Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist that affects the brain’s opioid receptors. When taken, Suboxone does not cause a person to feel high the way other opioids do, such as heroin or fentanyl. Instead, the person’s brain is tricked into thinking the individual has ingested an opioid drug. In turn, this reduces their desire to use other opioid narcotics. When those cravings are reduced, it makes it easier for the person to focus on their treatment program therapies and remain sober.
Can Someone Overdose on Suboxone?
Knowing that Suboxone is an opiate, someone may wonder if it can cause an overdose. Similar to many other medications, if someone takes too much Suboxone, they put themselves at physical risk. While not common, a person might make an ill-fated attempt to take an excessive amount of Suboxone in an attempt to feel the high they used to get from using opioids. Alternatively, if they do not keep track of their dosages, they might take more than recommended.
Additionally, taking Suboxone with other substances such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and alcohol can put a person at risk of overdosing. Any use of those substances in conjunction with Suboxone should be discussed with the prescribing physician.
Common signs a person who has overdosed on Suboxone may experience include:
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Losing consciousness
- Shallow breathing
- Extremely tired
- Blue lips or fingernails
- Slow heart rate
- Blurred vision
- Appearing to be high or drunk
Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should seek immediate medical help.
Is Suboxone Addictive?
Someone who has become addicted to opioid drugs will want to know if taking Suboxone presents a risk of becoming overly reliant on it and may ask, “Is Suboxone an opiate?” After all, no one wants to trade one addiction for another. Fortunately, the risk of becoming addicted to Suboxone is minimal. A common trigger for this is if a person uses the drug long past the point they should’ve stopped taking it or they use a higher dosage than prescribed. This is another reason it’s important to take Suboxone only as prescribed and under the supervision of a medical professional. Also, the person should use the drug while attending a structured treatment program that includes therapy and other support to help the person move comfortably into a drug-free life.
Begin Treatment for Addiction in Atlanta
Are you struggling with addiction to opioids and want to find professional help in the Atlanta area? Buckhead Behavioral Health understands how challenging withdrawal symptoms are for people who have chosen to commit to a substance-free life. For this reason, we provide access to Suboxone to help control and minimize many of the symptoms at our Opioid rehab in Atlanta. You can take Suboxone as part of one of our many outpatient rehab programs that teach you to overcome addiction. We also offer multiple types of addiction-related therapies to help you discover your strength and ability to avoid relapse.
Visit our admissions page now and find out how easy it is to get started on hitting the reset button on your life. Our staff can answer your questions and show you how to enroll in our program.