Can You Form an Addiction to Suboxone?

While Suboxone can be a helpful tool for many, it is important to also understand its addictive nature. Because it is an opioid, wondering if you can form an addiction to Suboxone can be answered simply: Yes. Although the rates of addiction are much smaller than those of other opioids, it is still important to take their addictive properties seriously and get help if you start to notice the signs and symptoms of addiction to Suboxone.

What is Suboxone?

According to their own website, Suboxone is a prescription medicine that contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used to treat adults who are dependent on (addicted to) opioids (either prescription or illegal). In addition, it is indicated for the treatment of opioid dependence and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support.

How Does Suboxone Work?

Suboxone is a blend of two other medications: buprenorphine and naloxone. It is a man-made drug and is used to replace much more harmful opioid drugs. Since it is milder, people are able to more safely wean off of opioids to the point of eventually becoming sober. This helps the patient experience minimal withdrawal symptoms and have a more pleasant detox experience as opposed to quitting “cold turkey”. According to their own website, these two ingredients work together by:

  • Buprenorphine is a partial agonist, and it can attach to the same receptors as other opioids and reduce their effects by blocking them from the same receptors.
  • Naloxone blocks receptors that are activated by opioids. If you are dependent on a full opioid agonist and attempt to use Suboxone, the naloxone is likely to cause withdrawal signs and symptoms.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Suboxone is most commonly used in medication-assisted treatment situations. When people have been addicted to an opioid for a long period of time, their body becomes dependent on it. They stop producing their own opioids (such as dopamine) and rely completely on the substance being provided to it. When that supply is suddenly cut off, this can cause debilitating withdrawal symptoms. That is why it is recommended for all prescription opioid users to slowly taper off of use instead of stopping cold turkey.

This same thinking applies to addiction treatment, allowing the patient to slowly wean off of opioids with the help of Suboxone as their body replenishes itself with minimal withdrawal symptoms. This can also be performed in the short-term with medication-assisted detox, both of which are available at Cliffside Malibu with the help of our on-staff Addictionologist.

Understanding Opioid Addiction and Addiction to Suboxone

While Suboxone is a helpful tool for many people to slowly wean off of a major opioid dependency and addiction, it is important to understand that it is still an opioid itself and an addiction can still form. Opioids bind to pain receptors, essentially cutting off communication between the pain point and the brain, tricking the brain into not knowing there is an injury. This is especially helpful for surgery and injury recovery, and is also how prescription pain killer addiction has become such a growing epidemic.

Taking too many opioids can cause a euphoric high, which can make using opioids even more irresistible to its users. Heroin is another opioid that is found on the black market and, because it is much less expensive than prescription painkillers but produces the same effect, many people can become addicted to it. Since Suboxone is a treatment that is often covered under insurance or the cost is justified for ongoing care, many people can abuse it.

Can You Overdose on Suboxone?

Suboxone is largely used for people to avoid an overdose when they are in addiction treatment. However, since it is an opioid, if it is misused there is still a chance that an overdose can occur. Opioids are a system depressant, and signs of an overdose can include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Fainting
  • Death

Opioid overdoses occur when too many opioids are in the system and the body cannot metabolize it all quickly enough. This can cause the brain to be affected in such a way that it “forgets” how to do its essential functions, such as breathing and maintaining a heart rate. Everything is slowed down until eventual death, unless an antagonist – such as Narcan – is administered.

About Cliffside Malibu

Even though Suboxone is extremely helpful in the addiction recovery process, there is still a small chance that a person can become addicted to it. The only way to safely detox from opioids and maintain medication-assisted treatment is by doing so under medical supervision. Our on-staff Addictionologist will administer these medications, and our round-the-clock medical staff ensures all clients are comfortable and weaning off their medications safely. It is our goal to make sure that all clients experience as little withdrawal symptoms as possible so that they can begin the behavioral treatment they so desperately need to return to regular life with.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for each and every client. We are committed to providing the best care possible through.a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes not only evidence-based behavioral therapy but family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are designed and structured to be a supportive environment in order to maintain sobriety.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, to meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

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