Suboxone Treatment Typically Involves Several Stages
Suboxone treatment typically involves several stages:
- Induction: This is the initial phase, where the medication is first introduced. It's usually started when a person is in the early stages of opioid withdrawal. This timing is crucial to reduce the risk of precipitated withdrawal (a rapid and uncomfortable onset of withdrawal symptoms).
- Stabilization: After a person has discontinued or greatly reduced the use of their opioid of abuse and no longer has cravings, the dose of Suboxone can be adjusted to a stable level.
- Maintenance: The patient continues to take Suboxone long-term, with the dose adjusted as needed. This phase can last for months or even years, depending on the individual's needs.
- Tapering: Eventually, some patients may choose to stop taking Suboxone. This should be done gradually and under medical supervision to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone treatment is most effective when combined with counseling and other support services, as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. It's important to follow the guidance of healthcare professionals throughout the treatment process.
Suboxone Treatment in a Nutshell
When an individual stops taking opioids, the once-full receptors in the brain become empty. The lack of opioids produces strong craving effects and intense withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, panic attacks, insomnia, and more.
Suboxone acts as a partial agonist (receptor-filling agent). In other words, when an individual takes Suboxone, the opioid receptors in their brain are partial filled, enough to mitigate cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms. At the same time, there is no “high” that comes along with taking the medication. This balance means that the individual can take Suboxone regularly and go about a productive day-to-day life.
To prevent relapse and increase the chances of long-term recovery, doctors can prescribe Suboxone to certain patients. Because Suboxone strips are easy to take, patients can incorporate the medication into their daily lives.
The medications used in MAT are powerful tools in treating substance use disorders. They work by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings. For example, buprenorphine (the active ingredient in Suboxone, Sublocade & Brixadi) acts on the same receptors in the brain as opioids. For alcohol use disorder, medications like naltrexone and acamprosate help reduce alcohol cravings, while disulfiram causes unpleasant effects when alcohol is consumed, discouraging further use.
The medication part of MAT includes Suboxone or another Buprenorphine-based medication, which works by relieving the physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
The therapy part of MAT works by allowing patients to address their addiction’s mental health and behavioral issues. Patients can:
- Improve insights into behaviors that led to addiction and the problems that addiction caused
- Learn to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthier ones
- Work to repair relationships
- Receive encouragement and motivation to stick to the recovery plan
- Learn to recognize and avoid craving triggers
- Learn how to better manage stress
- Learn how to avoid relapse—strategies
- Find a community that is struggling with similar issues