Anyone who is an addict to opioids will want to know how to escape from this punishing addiction that can be really difficult to quit. Most rehab treatment facilities will put you on a detox program that includes gradually substituting Suboxone in for the prescription painkillers. The next question will be: how long can you then stay on this substituting maintenance dose of Suboxone which takes the place of your former addiction? This varies from one individual to the next. We will look at the substitution process and how long it needs to last in this article.
The Way That Opioids Actually Work
It helps to understand how opioids work first. They bind on to opioid receptors within your brain. This causes the receptors to release dopamine, a pleasure inducer. Once the opioids become released from your brain’s receptors, this production of dopamine simply fades away, which removes the euphoria feelings as well.
The problem is that once this use has become habitual, the brain starts anticipating this response. If the brain does not get what it is expecting here, the troubling withdrawal symptoms begin. What are these particular symptoms? They can include all of the following unpleasant sensations:
- Muscle pain
- Rapid heartbeat
These opiate addictions actually cause lasting (and it can be permanent if not treated) changes to the brain. For starters, opiate addictions alter the method in which your brain’s reward and memory systems function in meaningful and long lasting ways. Without medications like methadone or Suboxone (that reduce the influence of the addiction on the person’s behavior and thoughts), relapse back on to the opiate becomes frustratingly high, and honestly, even likely.
Given that this is the case and the Suboxone becomes a necessary substitute to the opiates, how long will you need to stay on the maintenance dose of Suboxone? It could be for longer than you originally plan given the high likelihood of relapse that stopping the Suboxone leads to unfortunately.
What Actually Is Suboxone?
Suboxone turns out to be a brand name for generic drug buprenorphine. This is often combined with naloxone to make Suboxone. The method of taking it is one of two. You can put a tablet beneath your tongue until it is fully dissolved, or place a film alternatively under your tongue to get the same effect. The medication was intentionally created to reduce the withdrawal symptoms from the opioids so as to lessen dependency and addiction to them.
But How Long Ought You To Remain on Maintenance Suboxone Doses?
The exact time span for detoxing and then tapering off of Suboxone varies widely from one person to another. Yet in every case, the primary goal should be to work away from using the Suboxone completely. Opioid maintenance therapy is one way that this can be accomplished slowly, but the idea is ultimately not to long term substitute in Suboxone for the opioids.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse made a presentation that uncovered some interesting statistics in this regard. More than 30 million individuals around the globe and more than two million in the U.S. alone experience opiate addiction. This runs the gamut of socio-economic backgrounds and impacts all types of individuals.
A huge number of medical professionals recommend turning to Suboxone in the quest to quit taking the opiates. The good thing about Suboxone is that it reduces withdrawals without stirring up the brain euphoria that the prescription painkillers and heroin do. This substitution could take from weeks to months depending on the case of the individual.
In general, the medical professionals in detox will reduce the symptoms through a tapering schedule that gradually decreases the quantity of opioid drugs throughout the body. It is best if a medical professional supervises the full scheduled use of the Suboxone in order to optimally determine how long the addict needs to remain on the maintenance dosage.
What About Long Term Use of Suboxone?
The concept behind Opioid replacement therapy is that it entails longer-term usage of Suboxone. In this treatment, the intention is not to completely taper off or reduce the dose levels of the Suboxone entirely. It is true that a number of significant medication conditions could justify the longer term usage of Suboxone.
Ultimately though, the goal of addiction recovery is to completely stop taking all opioids, which includes Suboxone as well. The truth is that there is no simple universal answer to how long it may take to get off the Suboxone. The person to determine this ideally is the experienced doctor who is handling your case as the recovering drug addict.
Being Sure You Are Ready to Completely Stop the Suboxone Dosage
There are some signs that you are most optimally ready to taper your Suboxone dose completely. These include the following:
- Stable job employment
- Being in a stable relationship
- Abandonment of opiate using friends
- Finishing relapse prevention course
- Reduction of Suboxone to a single consistent dose per day
- Remaining on a comfortably low daily dose of 8 mg for a number of months
A Warning of Things to Avoid While Taking Suboxone
Individuals who are taking Suboxone are at their best when they are not mixing these strong medications with certain other items that can interfere. It is critical to not drink alcohol or not take other drugs like Marijuana, Benzodiazepines, and others while using Suboxone.
The treatment also goes best and most successfully as the recovering drug addicts are holding down steady employment, getting an education, engaging in hobbies and other personal interests, engaging in at least minimal exercise, and creating and maintaining healthy and happy relationships. Those former addicts who change from taking the opiates to often utilizing another mind altering substitution at the same time as they take Suboxone are far less likely to enjoy the progress they hope to see.
If you are ready to seek help, we are here to assist you. Call us today at (866) 840-6411. We are here for you 24 hours per day.