The Pros and Cons of Long-Term Suboxone Use

Suboxone is a drug that’s used to minimize withdrawal symptoms when an individual quits opioids cold turkey. It satisfies the brain’s reward receptors and starts the healing process. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid. It activates the brain’s reward receptors but not as strongly as heroin does. Rather, the response is diminished, and this lessens withdrawal symptoms while the addict gets treatment.

Meanwhile, naloxone blocks the receptors that respond to opioids. It can also reverse some of the effects of opioid abuse. While naloxone is very effective, it can cause severe withdrawal symptoms when used alone, especially for people in the early stages of recovery. Suboxone combines the best of both drugs and improves the lives of many people dealing with addiction. However, it’s not a perfect drug and it has both pros and cons, including suboxone addiction. We’ll discuss these below.

Benefits of Long-term Suboxone Use

The biggest benefit of long-term suboxone use is that the addict is no longer taking the initial opioid. If that opioid is presumed to be more harmful than suboxone, this is a successful outcome. Addicts begin to feel more normal and getting strong opioids out of their system feels like an accomplishment. They begin to take control of their lives again. Comparatively, long-term suboxone use is better than having a full-blown opioid addiction.  Furthermore, the likelihood of suboxone abuse is lower than for other opioids.

Many people who have struggled to free themselves of addiction find reliance on suboxone to be an acceptable alternative. Quitting drugs entirely can seem too difficult. In fact, many individuals go back to opioids when they stop using suboxone. Often, they go back to their pre-recovery dose to get high. That’s because their bodies get used to a low dose of opioids. Since suboxone reduces tolerance to opioids, returning to that dosage can lead to a fatal overdose. Suboxone can also still be addictive even though the cravings aren’t as strong as they are for heroin or OxyContin.

Disadvantages of Long-term Suboxone Use

Recovery from opioid abuse isn’t about swapping one addiction for another less-dangerous drug. Many people find themselves replacing opioids with another substance or activity which may seem less serious. However, addiction of any kind is unhealthy. Even though suboxone is helpful, developing a reliance on it should not be the ultimate solution. Since it is technically an opioid, you can build up tolerance and develop an addiction. Long term use of suboxone can result in side effects including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased tolerance for pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Social isolation
  • Constipation

These are just some of the mental and physical effects of using suboxone for a long time. As with all types of addiction, suboxone addicts can also experience:

  • Financial problems
  • Legal issues
  • Workplace challenges
  • Damaged relationships
  • Reduced sense of personal responsibility

Medical professionals continue to debate the pros and cons surrounding suboxone use. When it is used for short periods, addicts are more likely to relapse. When it is used for an extended period, it can be addictive on its own. When the addict stops taking it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. This means they may need to detox from the drug that was supposed to help them detox. This process can be more difficult to handle than the initial opioid detox. That’s why many professionals don’t recommend suboxone for long-term use but see it as a stepping stone to sobriety.

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

People going through suboxone withdrawal may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Digestive problems
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Fever and chills
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle aches
  • Lethargy

How Suboxone Can Be Used as Part of a Recovery Journey

Suboxone can be used to start the recovery process and help addicts detox. However, the ultimate goal is to reach the point where you don’t need any drugs to live normally. With professional addiction treatment, you can reduce your reliance on drugs, including suboxone. You’ll need help in uncovering the reason behind your initial addiction and learning to manage your triggers. Developing the appropriate strategies for avoiding compulsive behaviors will go a long way in helping you to overcome addiction.

Contact Asheville Recovery Center Today to Get the Help You Need

If you’re ready to live a healthier life that’s free from addiction, reach out to the team at Asheville Recovery Center. We offer comprehensive addiction treatment options that are tailored to each individual’s needs. No matter how long you’ve been struggling with addiction, recovery is possible. Let us help you overcome your opioid addiction and get your life back on the right track.

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