Suboxone Detox : What Is It?
Detoxification from a drug involves slowly reducing the amount of a drug in an attempt of avoid severe or dangerous symptoms. Alcohol, benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin for example), and narcotics are drugs that people will seek medical assistance with detoxification. Physical dependence is when an individual experiences withdrawal symptoms when suddenly stopping a medication. Theses symptoms may include tremors, high blood pressure, seizures, and even death. When a person has taken a narcotic for a long enough period of time, suddenly stopping the narcotic will lead to severe cravings, goosebumps, runny nose, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and sweating. The point in narcotic detoxification is to help limit these symptoms and, more importantly, avoid relapse.
Methadone, Suboxone (buprenorphine/Naloxone) are two primary drugs used for detoxification from narcotic drugs. They are used if the person has been unable to reduce the drug they are taking on their own or with the supervision of their doctor. Typically, one is switched from the current drug (Oxycontin, Vicodin, or heroin) to Methadone or Suboxone and then the dose of the medication is slowly lowered.
Who should consider Suboxone detox?
- If you can’t stop using heroin in any form.
- If you have become addicted to pain medications.
- If you are experiencing dangerous side effects from narcotic pain medications.
- If you are injecting narcotics in any form.
- If you are snorting narcotics in any form.
It used to be that people addicted to heroin were the main people needing detox. However, over the last decade, we have seen a number of younger and older patients seeking treatment because of being dependent on their pain medications.
Remember, Everyone will eventually become physically dependent to narcotics if they are taken long enough and at a high enough dose. However, not everyone becomes a true addict. The people who are physically dependent but not “addicts” do quiet well once they are detoxed from narcotics.
Suboxone Detox: An Alternative to Methadone?
The nice thing about a suboxone detox is that it can be done from your doctor’s office. Previously, one had the choice of having a narcotic detox in the hospital or going to a methadone clinic for detox. A Suboxone detox is generally easier on the patient than methadone and takes less time. Many people prefer going to a doctor of their choice, rather than a methadone clinic. If the patient and doctor decide to do a slow detox over many months, there are less office visits with a suboxone doctor. Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) detox is considered a good alternative to methadone detox.
Narcotic Detox: How Fast To Reduce
How fast the Methadone or the Suboxone is reduced depends on the what is best for each individual. The detox can be as short as five days to longer than six months.
The more stable a person is in their personal, work, and social life, the faster the detox can be done. Has the patient relapsed numerous times in the past during or after detox? How long have they been using narcotics? Are they on other drugs of addiction? Do they have other psychiatric problems like depression? How much legal trouble are they have? Theses factors need to be considered by the patient and discussed with their doctor before undergoing methadone detox or Suboxone detox.
Suboxone Detox: What to expect
The amount of opiate withdrawal symptoms that people experience during Suboxone detox varies from individual to individual. Generally, the higher the dose you are starting from and the faster one reduces the medications, the more withdrawal symptoms that will be experienced.
Even with the aid of Suboxone or Methadone, most people will experience significant withdrawal symptoms. During narcotic withdrawal, my experience is people have the most problems with the insomnia, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and cravings. TheNational Pain Foundation has a nice pdf summary regarding the sympoms and ways to help deal with them. This document can be found Here.
There are a number of medications that can be used to help deal with the withdrawal symptoms that accompany detox. They can be particularly helpful in getting sleep while going through detox in addition to reducing the diarrhea. Simply using methadone or Suboxone during the detox with a slow reduction will help reduce the cravings and cramping.
Suboxone Detox: Where Can I find One?
Any traditional psychiatric center can provide a suboxone detox. This can be done in an inpatient setting, a partial hospitalization setting, or in an outpatient setting. There are several Suboxone (buprenorphine) treatment directories available on the we that will help you find a center or doctor in your area.
Suboxone Detox Summary:
Methadone and Suboxone are medications that are used for detoxification in those people wanting to get off their narcotic medications or illicit narcotic drug use. The narcotic withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated with a variety of medications and vary depending on the speed of detox. Suboxone doctors and Methadone treatment centers are readily available and can be found through one of the many doctor and treatment center directories online.
Find Suboxone Doctors:
If you feel you need help and are looking for a doctor who prescribes Suboxone, click here for our buprenophine physician registry. If you think you may need more intensive treatment such a methadone detox, other opioid detox, or getting started on buprenorphine inpatient, click here for our state opioid treatment center registry. Dr. Senyszyn is a Maui Mental Health Psychiatrist.