More About Suboxone Treatment
Suboxone Treatment Saves Lives
If you’ve been looking for treatment for opioid addiction then you’ve no doubt encountered information about Suboxone treatment. The opioid epidemic in this country is no secret by now. Over the past three decades in particular it has exploded out of control. Prior to that time heroin was the primary opioid that was abused. Prescription painkiller abuse has always been an issue but it never reached epidemic proportions until the 1990s. This was in large part due to the advent of OxyContin, but also the accompanying push to encourage doctors to prescribe more opioid painkillers in general.
The positive news is that the explosion in opioid addiction has led to a corresponding revolution in opioid addiction treatment. Suboxone treatment uses a medication that is a compound. It’s made up of two medications. One called buprenorphine and the other naloxone. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid, but unlike most prescription opioids and semi-synthetic or natural opioids such as morphine, it does not produce the intense euphoric effects that often lead to addiction. Buprenorphine also has a much longer period of effect. This avoids the peaks and valleys of opioid concentration in the blood that create unwanted symptoms. Buprenorphine also has a high affinity for opioid receptors in the brain. Put another way it’s very “sticky” and persistent in binding to opioid receptors. It will occupy these receptors and tends stay there for days rather than hours.
How Suboxone Treatment Works
The long action of buprenorphine helps make suboxone treatment effective because not only does the occupying of these receptors relieve the craving for opioids but the stickiness prevents other opioids from occupying the same receptors. So, for example if someone is on Suboxone and they happen to slip and use heroin or a prescription opioid such as oxycodone the effects of the second opioid they take will be significantly blunted because the buprenorphine is already occupying those receptors in the brain. Suboxone treatment is helpful in this way because not only are the recovering persons cravings dramatically reduced by the buprenorphine but if they do happen to use, they will get very little euphoric effect from the second opioid that they take. In this way, suboxone treatment can not only discourage future slips, but it can also prevent a potential overdose.
The second component in Suboxone is naloxone. You may have heard of naloxone under the brand name Narcan before. It is an opioid antagonist. Taken alone in the Narcan form it can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose almost instantly. It has undoubtedly saved thousands, perhaps even millions of lives by doing just that when used in a clinically appropriate way. The presence of naloxone in Suboxone is for the purpose of preventing any potential abuse of suboxone. One of the reasons Suboxone has been so successful is because buprenorphine lacks the euphoric effect that leads people to abuse other opioids, it has a very long duration of effect which avoids peaks and valleys which can cause craving, end because it blunts the effect of other opioids that might be used in concert with it which do have the fork effect.
How Suboxone Treatment Supplanted Methadone
Prior to Suboxone treatment entering the picture methadone was the drug that was most commonly used for opioid dependence. Methadone is still sometimes used for this but Suboxone has steadily supplanted it because it is far easier to manage and doesn’t have the negative side effects that methadone can. Methadone treatment has been a problem in some cases because methadone users may attempt to combine it with benzodiazepines like Xanax which can cause dangerous respiratory arrest.
Methadone doses had to be more controlled for a number of reasons which meant daily visits to a clinic for most patients. These clinics can and have sometimes become a gathering place for people who don’t have recovery in mind. They may be looking to trade for or buy methadone or to sell drugs to people outside the clinics. Methadone is also very powerful and has a high affinity for opioid receptors and that can make detoxing from methadone very difficult. So, while methadone is still sometimes used in certain cases for most patients with opioid dependence now Suboxone treatment is the preferred option.
Suboxone Treatment in a Detox Setting
Suboxone may be used in a number of ways. Often it is used as part of an opioid detox protocol. When a person comes into opioid detox for treatment, they can be given Suboxone after they reach a certain level of initial withdrawal symptoms so that it is safe to begin Suboxone treatment without initiating precipitating withdrawal. This is measured using a system called the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale or COWS developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) which is responsible for developing many of the protocols and standards used in Suboxone treatment and addiction treatment in general. For example, ASAM developed the criteria and levels of care that accredited addiction treatment programs in the United States use.
In a detox protocol, Suboxone may be administered for a few days to about a week in that setting. The exact protocol depends on the patients history and needs, however. Used this way, Suboxone not only mitigates the opioid withdrawal symptoms it also greatly reduces cravings during this time which is very helpful for someone in early recovery who maybe beginning treatment so they can focus on their therapy. As long as Suboxone treatment is done for a short period of time it is relatively easy to step it down and for a person to leave treatment without remaining on Suboxone.
Maintenance Suboxone Treatment or MAT
In other cases, Suboxone treatment may be used as a maintenance or harm reduction measure. Again, this really depends on the patient and their needs and their history with opioid use. Someone who’s had a more severe history with opioid dependence and many attempts at treatment and recovery might be recommended Suboxone for a longer period of months or even a year or more. For example, someone who has had multiple near-fatal opioid overdoses and has relapsed many times despite treatment efforts. A person with that profile might be clinically recommended to remain on suboxone treatment for longer period of time as a maintenance measure.
It’s very important to understand that this does not act as an obstacle to recovery. A person who is on Suboxone treatment in a maintenance form as prescribed is not “getting high” That person is entitled to all of the rewards of recovery that anyone else is. Shaming people for being on Suboxone maintenance is frowned upon in the clinical addiction treatment community. At best, it’s counterproductive and doesn’t help people. At worst, it kills people. That person who refuses a recommendation of maintenance Suboxone treatment because they are worried about being shamed, who then relapses and has a fatal overdose will have no future opportunities for recovery.
Straight Talk on Suboxone Treatment
This doesn’t mean everyone should be on MAT with Suboxone. What it means is that guilt and shame have no place in a program of recovery and we should clinical decisions to clinicians. Some people call Suboxone maintenance “a crutch”. While we agree that no medicine is a substitute for a program of recovery, there is absolutely no reason a person on Medication Assisted Treatment with Suboxone cannot work a program of recovery in a 12-step fellowship or anywhere else. We wouldn’t shame someone with a broken foot using a “crutch”. This is no different.
As a harm reduction measure, Suboxone treatment has been nothing short of a miracle. People in the past who may have been doomed to keep picking up heroin until a fatal overdose have found that Suboxone treatment whether through detox or maintenance over a period of time is a life saving measure that allows them to put together more clean time than they would have in any other way. Controlling and mitigating cravings for opioids is critical to successful recovery from opioid addiction. There are a lot of myths about Suboxone that need to be continually busted. Clinicians have found that Suboxone is an invaluable tool for helping people with opioid use disorders. The data is in. There is no question at all that Suboxone is highly effective for treating opioid addiction, whether used in detox protocols or as part of an MAT program.
Outpatient Treatment and Aftercare Support
Remember how we said recovery is a way of living? That’s not just some saying, it’s the truth. You really can have an amazing life without getting high or drinking. The key is understanding that it requires maintenance. You have got to keep it green. When you finish drug addiction treatment with us, you are going to feel amazing for the first time in a long while. The healthy, sober, clear-headed kind of amazing. That’s not the time to rest though. Keep going! We REALLY care about your success here. Reading our reviews will convince you of that if you aren’t already.
We are invested and we take outpatient treatment and aftercare support very, very seriously. We know they are essential to your success. Transformations Care gives every client we have the privilege to treat a total aftercare plan to guide them in recovery after they finish here. Every plan is hand built for each client’s specific set of needs. Outpatient counseling and referrals, aftercare support and alumni services are all part of the deal. We also have 12-step meetings we host that you’re welcome to attend if you’re local and we have cool alumni events too. Stay plugged in to Transformations Care and you’ll be glad you did, we guarantee it.
Our Drug Addiction Outpatient and Aftercare in Los Angeles features:
- Joint Commission Gold Seal Approved counseling and support.
- Sensible, real-world recovery support, structure and accountability.
- Meaningful connections to alumni for fellowship activities and support.
Health Insurance Covers Suboxone Treatment
Health insurance will usually cover medical detox and suboxone treatment for a substance use disorder. If you want to be sure, start with the insurance benefits check with your us. After that, a brief phone evaluation chat to find out what you’re using and how much will give you a clear picture how we can best be of service to you.
An insurance benefits check at Transformations Care is easy and usually takes less than an hour. Checking your insurance doesn’t commit you to treatment at Transformations Care. What it will do is give you a clearer picture of your choices for alcohol treatment for yourself or your loved one. That can help you make the right decision for yourself.
All we need for insurance verification is:
- A health/medical insurance card
- Your (or the patients) full legal name, date of birth and social security number (or last 4 digits)
- A phone number to call you back at once we have some answers.
Some Words About Medical Detox from Opioids
Look, we have been through opioid withdrawal ourselves. We know how ugly it can get. That’s why Transformations Care has a top-notch medical detox of our own set up in a quiet, comfortable residential area in the L.A. suburbs. We give you the kind of care we would want ourselves. A careful, clinically monitored opioid detox protocol. Your discomfort will be contained, controlled and treatment.
We will head off as much discomfort as possible before you even have a chance to experience it. We are opioid addiction experts and we know opioid medical detox inside and out. We will keep you as comfortable as possible and treat any peripheral discomfort too, like aches and pains, cramps, anxiety or insomnia.