Opiate dependence and abuse affects nearly 24.6 million people in the US alone and it impacts various socio-economic and ethnic groups. Opioids are powerful painkillers that are highly addictive due to their various compounds that target sensory neurons in the body. These compounds have the effect of blocking pain and can cause feelings of euphoria. The most common opiate drugs that individuals get addicted to are prescription medications like codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or illicit substances that can be purchased on the black market like heroin. If a patient develops a dependence to opiates, doctors can prescribe a medication-assisted treatment like Suboxone, buprenorphine and naloxone that can safely detoxify the body when used along with counseling and psychological support.
Opiate Dependence Symptoms
Because opiates can be prescribed to patients for particular medical conditions, the risk of abuse increases as individuals may not take the medication as directed by their physician. Among some of the symptoms that indicate opiate addiction are mood and psychological effects like increased anxiety, euphoria, psychosis, improved self-esteem, depression, irritability, and lowered motivation. There are also physical symptoms that can serve as red flags for opiate addiction like improved alertness, increase sensitivity to sensory stimuli, constricted blood vessels, increase heart rate, high blood pressure, increased energy, decreased appetite, increased sexual arousal, physical agitation and difficulty sleeping.
Treating Opiate Addiction with Suboxone
Since opiates are usually prescribed for short-term use, patients who experience opiate dependence symptoms should attempt to gradually reduce the intake of the medication towards the end of their prescription course to allow the body to adjust. For individuals who are addicted to heroin, medical assistance is needed to avoid possible life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. If patients who are taking prescription opiates cannot stop taking them because of dependence, detoxifying the body with Suboxone can safely manage dependence symptoms. The active ingredients in Suboxone, buprenorphine and naloxone, work by attaching to the same receptors as opiates in the body and can help suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
Available in a film formulation, Suboxone is placed directly under tongue and should be left in place until it dissolves completely. To help the medication dissolve completely, doctors recommend drinking water to moisten the mouth. While the medication is dissolving, do not talk or chew or swallow the film as this will affect how Suboxone is absorbed in the body. It is very important to take your Suboxone as directed, and patients should not change dosage or take it more often than prescribed.
Suboxone can be prescribed by a physician that is qualified under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan that includes mental counseling and psychosocial support to reduce the chances of a relapse. It is important to disclose all medical history and details about opiate use to determine if Suboxone is right for your clinical profile and addiction. Since Suboxone should be used a part of a complete treatment, a doctor can refer patients to counseling and other resources that can help deal with the psychological effects of opiate addiction. For more information about addiction treatments and medications, view our Substance Abuse and Addiction Page.