Suboxone Withdrawal and Detox

Modified: 4th Jul 2019

Last updated on July 4th, 2019 at 02:10 pm

A common misconception many people believe is that all prescription drugs are safe. If your doctor says it’s safe, then it must be, right?

Every single day more than 115 people die from an opioid overdose. And no, those overdoses are not restricted to heroin.

The CDC estimates more than $78.5 billion dollars are spent yearly on prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. alone. To combat the opioid misuse crisis, Suboxone was created. This synthetic opioid replacer is used to help soften withdrawal symptoms and ease patients off of their opioid dependence.

Suboxone has a dark side, though. This drug is safe only when taken as prescribed.

Learn more about Suboxone withdrawal and medical detox below.

What Causes Suboxone Withdrawal?

Suboxone is a drug prescribed to reduce withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction. How does it do this?

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. This medication is considered an opioid antagonist, meaning it acts on one or more opioid receptor.

Suboxone works by binding with the body’s natural opioid receptors, thus, preventing the misused opioid from binding.

But how does this cause addiction and withdrawal? In short, Suboxone binds with your brain in the same way that opioids do, causing your brain to react similarly to the way it does under the use of opioids.

Typically, Suboxone is prescribed as a sublingual tablet, usually prescribed once daily. This thin film dissolves under the tongue in two to 10 minutes. Since Suboxone is so similar to opioids, it can have some desirable effects.

Some desirable effects that Suboxone has on the body are as follows:

  • Pain relief
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced opioid cravings

When a person begins to misuse or overuse these tablets, addiction can occur.

What might put a person addicted to Suboxone into withdrawal?

Withdrawal occurs when a person has become so dependant on a drug that they lack the ability to function without it. Once the drug is removed, the body goes into a “shock” state.

Suboxone is an especially scary drug when abused, as it is very easy to overdose. When abused, suboxone slows down the respiratory system and can dangerously lower blood pressure and cause difficulty breathing.

Signs of addiction include:

  • Irritability
  • Sleepiness
  • Improved alertness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

While withdrawal symptoms may vary from person to person, a few common ones can be expected. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Lethargy
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Drug cravings
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Rash or itchy skin
  • Respiratory depression 

Duration of Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms often take a long time to subside. Withdrawal symptoms can last for longer than a month. 

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

The first symptoms begin after 12 hours of the last dose. 72 hours of the withdrawal process are when symptoms are at their worst.

After about a week symptoms of bodily aches, insomnia, and mood swingers are more pronounced. In two weeks, depression is expected, and after about a month cravings can increase drastically.

Detoxing from Suboxone on Your Own

Detoxing on your own can be very scary, and even dangerous. While it’s recommended to detox in a medical facility, that may not be a reality for everyone. It’s important to know what to expect during the detoxing process, and when to head to seek medical help.

The first step to detoxing on your own is to familiarize yourself with the detox timeline mentioned above. Knowing what’s to come is a critical step in self-detoxing.

Next, you’ll want to stock up on some OTC, over the counter, help. Medications such as Dramamine, Immodium, or Advil can help with nausea, diarrhea, and aches. You can also try Benadryl for help with insomnia symptoms.

Be sure to speak with a local pharmacist about your withdrawal symptoms before trying any new medications.

Finally, stay comfortable and safe. It may be helpful to stay with a family member or friend for the few 72 hours.

Medical Detox from Suboxone

It’s possible to detox from Suboxone on your own, however, due to the length of the withdrawal process, professional medical guidance is recommended.

Medical detox can be performed as inpatient or outpatient treatment. There are several steps involved in medical detox, including cognitive behavioral therapy, mental health assessments, recovery, and most importantly, aftercare.

How Medical Detox Works and What to Expect

Seeking medical care during detox is typically recommended, as the chances of relapse drastically decrease with medical care. There are two different types of medical detox methods: inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation.

Inpatient rehabilitation is an intensive program intended for those dealing with a serious addiction. Inpatient rehabilitation includes intense therapy and constant monitoring. During inpatient rehabilitation, a patient may not be allowed to leave until the program is complete.

Outpatient rehabilitation is a less intensive program, intended for those in need of minimal monitoring. Outpatient rehabilitation allows patients to continue going to work, school, or other special programs.

Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation lengths may vary depending on the severity of addiction, as well as mental illness, past abuse, additional drug addiction, and even body chemistry.

It may be an extremely difficult task to suggest treatment to a suffering loved one, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that rehab does not equal defeat. Attending a rehab facility, as well as returning to sober living, shows extreme strength and courage.

Medications Available for Suboxone Detox

As Suboxone is a detox medication itself, there are no drugs that can help specifically with the Suboxone detox process. What an addict can take is over-the-counter medicine to help with nausea, diarrhea, aches, and fever. This OTC medication would be like those you would take for the flu.

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor about antidepressants. 

Get Help Today

If Suboxone has infiltrated the life of someone you know, getting help today may be the only way to save them. Deciding to step in and help a loved one begin to heal can be an extremely hard decision to make.

Hosting an intervention can be an even harder arrangement. Ease the tension with the help of an intervention specialist. Our specialists are trained to guide your family through this incredibly tough time.

Don’t wait. Contact us today before it’s too late.