People who struggle with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) often feel that they can’t beat the habit because the withdrawals seem impossible to overcome. Indeed, dealing with symptoms such as nausea, insomnia, body aches, and vomiting, to name a few, is more than most of us would want to endure.
What’s more, detoxification is only part of your recovery. There’s no one cure for opioid addiction. Instead, it requires ongoing monitoring and treatment.
One study indicates that therapy and abstinence without medication-assisted treatment (MAT) resulted in 90% or higher relapse rates among heroin and prescription opioids abusers. And, if a user remains abstinent for a while and starts using again, there’s a high risk they’ll overdose.1
Studies show that medically assisted treatment with Suboxone, combined with behavioral therapies, proves useful in better treatment retention.2 Northbound Addiction Treatment Center in Orange County offers combined therapies, including MAT.
Here are a few things you should know about medically assisted treatment in general, and specifically with suboxone.
How Does MAT Work?
Medically assisted treatment uses another drug, such as Suboxone, that works on the same receptors in the brain to block opioids and other synthetics that a user abuses. Suboxone minimizes cravings and prevents withdrawal while stabilizing opioid receptors by providing smaller, regulated bursts of the same reinforcers as heroin and other opioids.
Narcotic Replacement Therapy (NRT), or MAT, is an evidence-based addiction treatment for opiate dependency, using prescription drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The most common replacement prescriptions are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.5 Methadone has been a treatment for heroin addiction since the 1960s.1
In addition to replacement drugs,MAT should be part of a comprehensive treatment program starting with detoxification, a medical and mental health screening, and a maintenance plan.5
There are phases in MAT treatment. The first of which is detoxification in which you gradually reduce doses of medication to ease withdrawal. This phase can be short-term, lasting up to 21 days. It can also go long-term, up to 180 days.5
Both physical and psychological effects of withdrawal are easier to handle using MAT to control nausea and other symptoms, making relapse at this stage less likely. MAT also can help people stabilize long-term with a regulated dosage of a prescription such as Suboxone to maintain recovery while they are in treatment.5
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a brand-name of prescription drugs to treat opioid dependence. It does so by reducing withdrawal symptoms, preventing cravings, and facilitating recovery.3,4 It enables you to wean off opioids as it works on the same receptors in the brain.
There are two ingredients in Suboxone. Buprenorphine and naloxone combine in various doses to produce the prescription. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that delivers diminished opioid doses that only partially trigger the high created by full agonists. The other component in Suboxone is naloxone.6
Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist. Whereas an agonist excites an opioid receptor, antagonists block agonists from reaching the receptor. In effect, naloxone reverses the effect of opioid agonists.6
Suboxone is safe and effective when taken as prescribed under medical supervision.6 You can get professional care from Northbound Addiction Treatment Center in Orange County throughout your recovery process to ensure that you don’t misuse a prescription. Misusing suboxone can be life-threatening.
Injecting it or mixing it with depressants or medications such as lorazepam, diazepam, or alprazolam, or alcohol can have side-effects including:
- Unusual dizziness
- Extreme sleepiness
- Slowed or difficulty breathing
Additionally, you should never use Suboxone for pain relief.6
Substance Use Disorder and Recovery
Once you’ve gone through the initial withdrawals, it’s hard to imagine that you’d ever start using opioids again. The truth about addiction is that, much like other chronic illnesses, you must think in terms of management.
A comparison of relapse rates of substance use disorders and other chronic illnesses by the National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed that 40 to 60 percent of users relapse. Those numbers fall between the relapse rates for hypertension and asthma, which both run between 50 to 70 percent.7
The good news is that you can manage your addiction through a variety of programs. Research shows that medication is the first line of treatment. It helps through detox and can also prevent relapse long-term when managed correctly.3,4,6,7
Detoxification is only the first step, and continued treatment is essential to prevent relapse.7
Suboxone is a medically assisted treatment for maintaining recovery. If you take it too soon after detox, it can trigger withdrawals including:
- Body aches
- Runny nose
Likewise, you might have withdrawals if you stop taking it suddenly and may increase the risk of relapse.6
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, recovery is a sustained action addressing the whole person physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Ultimately long-term recovery means that you have a plan to deal with cravings, practice behavior control, and take steps that reverse negative internal processes.3
Suboxone is only one component on your path to recovery.
Addiction often causes problems in all aspects of life, with family and friends, at work, and in the community. Treating the whole person means providing assistance and access to services that address medical, mental health, family, legal issues, and more.7
Themost effective treatment addresses a person’s patterns, medical, mental, and social history.7 Learning how to deal with stress and modify your behavior and attitudes in the face of things that trigger relapse is vital to recovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you recognize behaviors that lead to using and develop tools to deal with those situations.7
Dialectical behavioral therapy is a standard treatment for personality disorders. It is helpful for addiction treatment, as well. This therapy assists people with tools to regulate their emotions, including mindfulness, boundary setting, and learning to self-soothe.
Setting goals and using positive reinforcement, such as in 12-Step programs and counseling sessions, help keep you on track and taking medications, such as Suboxone, as prescribed. Family therapy sessions help address underlying relationship issues. The bottom line is that treatment must address a person from a holistic perspective.7
Reclaim Your Life
You can reclaim your life with a treatment program at Northbound. From options including our Residential Treatment Center with separate facilities for men and women to our faith-based LINKS Christian Program, we customize a treatment plan to align with your needs and goals.
Recovery is a long-term proposition, but you can’t live life in a bubble. It’s essential to begin your journey in a supportive environment. When even the cure, like Suboxone, can turn into an addiction, structured treatment will prepare you to handle the temptations once you leave.
There’s no doubt that a person will need monitoring after detoxification. Using medically assisted treatment such as Suboxone doesn’t come without its potential hazards. A residential treatment program means that you’ll have a team to help you with counseling, therapy, and treatment for co-existing conditions. You’ll learn tools to aid your long-term recovery. Northbound incorporates evidence-based therapies within a trauma-informed environment to reveal the source of addiction.
People with substance abuse disorders are also twice as likely to have another mental health issue. In fact, these underlying issues are the cause of substance abuse. Integrated dual diagnosis simultaneously manages mental health and substance addiction.
Once you’ve completed detox and are ready to leave residential treatment, Northbound’s Intensive Outpatient Program in Orange County provides programs to address mental health concerns, assist in transitions, and share successes. The progress through phases of treatment from Residential to Outpatient and Addiction Support Services helps you gain more independence and confidence.
Evidence-Based Treatment Plans
Gender-specific treatment allows men and women to share their experiences with similar struggles with a community to establish strong peer bonds to help recovery. Individual therapy and case management offer specialists to work with you every step of the way, addressing emotional, psychological, and family issue that underlies addiction.
Take the First Step Northbound
Addiction isn’t about willpower. It is a chronic, potentially fatal disease compounded by mental health disorders. At Northbound Treatment, you can get the help you need to progress through each phase of recovery, with programs rooted in the 12 Step program and other evidence-based therapies.
We work with you to treat addiction and co-occurring mental health issues with flexible, adaptive, and integrated treatment plans that are both to your individual needs.
Are you ready to take that first step? Maybe you are worried about withdrawals. We offer detox help and medically assisted treatment with Suboxone. You’ll get the support you need to learn how to live a life free from addiction. With many options available, it’s up to you to make a move to be drug-free. Recovery starts here, at Northbound Addiction Treatment Center in Orange County.
1The Ochsner Journal (2018). Suboxone: Rationale, Science, Misconceptions.
2 Bryant Ranch Prepack (2018). SUBOXONE – buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride tablet.
3 American Society of Addiction Medicine (2015). National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use.
4U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2019). Information about Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
5Substance Use Disorder (SUD) – Compliance Division (2018). Narcotic Treatment Programs (NTP).
6National Alliance on Mental Illness (2019). Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone).
7National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction Treatment and Recovery.