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Subutex Addiction

What Is Subutex?

Subutex is a brand name drug for an opioid (narcotic) used for treating opioid dependence. Subutex was approved for use in addiction treatment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2002. Usually making up part of a narcotic dependence treatment plan, your physician may prescribe it for other conditions at their discretion.

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subutex addiction

As it prevents drug cravings, Subutex enables many people to lead positive and productive lives. What they might not realize, however, is that this “miracle drug” has a dark side. Subutex is addictive in its own right. Subutex addiction could be a problem for you if you’ve been using it in ways that haven’t been directed by your physician or if you’ve been abusing the drug.

Is Subutex an Opioid?

Subutex is in a drug class known as mixed opioid agonist-antagonists. These drugs help prevent withdrawal symptoms you might suffer if you’re taking other opioids. Technically, it is a semi-synthetic opioid, and as such, you should only use it in the manner directed by your physician.

The active ingredient in Subutex, buprenorphine, won’t give you an intense “high” and doesn’t have the same dangerous side effects of drugs such as heroin. Physicians and rehab specialists often prescribe it if you’re trying to get off opiate painkillers.

What Is Subutex Used to Treat?

Subutex helps you to wean yourself off opioids if you’re addicted. It may also be used to relieve pain in non-opioid-tolerant patients.

subutex for treating addiction

How Does the Subutex Drug Work?

The buprenorphine in Subutex provides you with much the same qualities of other opioids, although at a far milder level. The unique properties of Subutex help:

  • Increase your safety if you overdose.
  • Lessen your cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Lower the likelihood of misuse.

Opioids, such as morphine and codeine, mimic the action of naturally occurring pain-reducing endorphins in your brain and spinal cord. These endorphins reduce discomfort by combining with opioid receptors. You should know that opioids can also give you hallucinations, feelings of well-being and euphoria. Because of this, long-term use can make you dependent.

Subutex acts on the same opioid receptors as other opioids and prevents you from having physical cravings as you’re weaning yourself off other similar drugs. Over time, your Subutex use is gradually reduced until you’re completely drug-free.

What Are the Side Effects of Subutex?

As with all drugs, when you take Subutex, you run the risk of experiencing some unpleasant side effects. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin changes
  • Yellowing of the eyes
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pains
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite

Also, you should never drink alcohol or take sedatives or tranquilizers while using Subutex as this can cause a fatal reaction.

subutex abuse

What’s the Difference Between Subutex and Suboxone?

Many people ask about the difference between Subutex vs. Suboxone. To clarify, both drugs are used to treat opiate addiction. Doctors prefer to prescribe one of these two drugs as they’re Schedule III. Methadone, which used to be the substance of choice to help wean people off opioids, is a Schedule II drug. This means Subutex and Suboxone have a lower potential for abuse than Methadone. However, even abusing these drugs can lead to low or moderate physical dependence or potentially high psychological dependence.

Although both Subutex and Suboxone contain buprenorphine, Subutex does not contain other active ingredients. Suboxone, however, is made up of both buprenorphine and naloxone. You generally take these drugs under the tongue as a sublingual tablet. When you take it as prescribed, you shouldn’t feel the same level of euphoria, central nervous system suppression and drowsiness as you would if you were taking street narcotics.

A big issue with Subutex is that abusers sometimes crush the tablets to snort or inject them. When it’s taken in these manners, it is highly dangerous, as the drug can kill you by suppressing your breathing.

subutex addiction risk

Suboxone was specifically developed to stop users from abusing buprenorphine by snorting or injecting it. The addition of naloxone inhibits you from feeling any “high” if you inject, crush or snort Suboxone. The medication is also available as a film, reducing the likelihood of abuse even further.

Key Statistics About Abuse and Addiction to Subutex

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) reports that although the maximum effects of buprenorphine are less than those of other opioids, there are still issues facing you if you have an unhealthy relationship with the drug. For example, there were:

  • 30,135 buprenorphine-related visits to the emergency room (ER) in 2010 as drug availability increased, compared to just 3,161 in 2005.
  • 15,778 ER visits in 2010 versus 4,440 in 2006 (a 255 percent increase), as a result of a nonmedical use of buprenorphine.
  • 15,778 people or 52 percent (a majority) of buprenorphine-related ER visits in 2010 that were due to nonmedical use. This was followed by individuals looking for substance abuse treatment or detox — 7,372 visits or 24 percent.
  • 4,017 ER visits, or 13 percent, as a result of adverse reactions to the drug

If you feel that you or someone close to you is suffering from an addiction to Subutex, help is available. Call 12 Keys Rehab today for a confidential conversation.

What Are the Typical Demographics of a Person Addicted to Subutex?

Generally speaking, you’ll be prescribed Subutex if you have an opioid addiction and you’re trying to quit. Some people may abuse Subutex to get an increased high by injecting the drug rather than taking it under the tongue as prescribed. In fact, if you’re abusing the drug, you may also be either snorting or crushing it.

Is Subutex Addictive?

Because Subutex is an opioid, it is possible to become addicted. You have a heightened addiction potential if you take the drug in higher doses or more often than prescribed. Abusing Subutex is just like abusing other opioid drugs. It may lead to compulsive drug use over time. With this in mind, you should always take it as directed by your doctor.

As Subutex interrupts your brain chemistry, it creates a dependence and then a physical addiction. When you’re physically addicted, your body needs the drug to function. If you then try to stop taking Subutex, your withdrawal symptoms can be very intense and painful.

One way to curb any addictive tendencies when taking Subutex is to attend addiction treatment. Here, at 12 Keys Rehab, we know this is crucial to your long-term recovery as the drug only manages and treats your withdrawal symptoms. It’s in no way a cure for your addiction.

Through attending our therapy sessions, you learn not to fall into the trap of replacing one opioid addiction for another. Thus, you achieve a thorough and stable recovery.

recover from subutex addiction

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Subutex Addiction?

To determine if you’re addicted to the drug, or if you want to know how to tell if someone is on Subutex, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Subutex addiction. These Subutex side effects can be long-term or short-term depending on how long you’ve been taking the drug.

Signs of Subutex Addiction

Signs of Subutex addiction include:

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Taking the drug more often than prescribed
  • Doctor shopping
  • Forging or stealing prescriptions
  • Falling out of contact with old friends and family
  • Spending time with a group of new associates
  • Procuring the drug illegally
  • Reacting with hostility when questioned about your drug use
  • Persistently failing to fulfill your obligations at home, school or work
  • Wearing long-sleeves even in summer (a sign of injecting)
  • Losing interest in sex
  • Experiencing financial difficulties
  • Stealing from people close to you to fund your habit

Symptoms of Subutex Addiction

Symptoms of Subutex addiction include:

  • Pronounced mood swings
  • Flushing
  • Constricted pupils
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nasal damage/nosebleeds
  • Signs of injecting such as bruising
  • Body aches
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe stomach pains
  • Darkened urine
  • Light-colored bowel movements

If you’re suffering from some of the symptoms above and you can’t stop taking Subutex despite attempting to, it’s time to seek support.

How Do People Become Addicted to Subutex?

If you take Subutex in ways other than directed by your doctor, you can become addicted. Even if you do take Subutex according to the instructions of your physician, there is still a risk of addiction. If you’re knowingly abusing Subutex, particularly if you’re crushing, snorting or injecting it, addiction is generally present.

What Is an Addiction to Subutex Like?

If you’ve been going through an addiction to another opiate, such as heroin, the prospect of being prescribed Subutex is like a light in the darkness. However, when you begin to abuse it on top of your existing problem or substitute one for the other, it can be very disheartening. Your one method of getting out of the mire of addiction has been a failure. Where do you turn to next?

Perhaps you feel you’re sinking deeper and deeper into your addiction. Your family and good friends have drawn back from you as you’ve changed completely. Subutex is making all your decisions for you now. It’s like you have no choice but to submit to it. You feel like everyone who once cared has given up on you anyway, so what’s the point?

While in the throes of this, here is what you need to know. There is help in getting yourself free of your addiction. At 12 Keys Rehab, many of us are recovering addicts ourselves. Therefore, we feel we’re in a unique place to help because we know firsthand how difficult life has become for you.

Together we can formulate a personalized treatment plan that involves your family and friends, helping you all to learn the life and coping skills you need to get through this challenging time. Contact us for more information day or night at 844-334-7190.

Does an Addiction to Subutex Cause Any Permanent Damage?

An addiction to Subutex is particularly dangerous if you’re taking other substances including alcohol, illicit drugs, tranquilizers, sedatives and other drugs that slow breathing. When combining Subutex — which can also slow your breathing — with these other substances, it can lead to a fatal overdose.

damage from subutex addiction

If you’re currently pregnant or breastfeeding, there is limited information on the safety of Subutex, so your baby could be affected by your addiction. Contact us at 12 Keys Rehab to take the first steps toward a drug-free new life if you’re concerned about the long-term health implications of your addiction.

How Is an Addiction to Subutex Treated?

When you’re thinking of quitting Subutex, it’s vital to seek professional help. You either still have an addiction to another opiate to deal with or you’ve replaced one for another. Under these circumstances, it’s incredibly tough to give up on your own. Consequently, ditching Subutex under supervised treatment is always advised.

Subutex treatment is always begun with a period of detoxification here at 12 Keys Rehab. Throughout this time, your body clears itself from the drug’s toxins under the supervision of a qualified team.

After this, a program of tailored treatment begins. This includes therapies and focuses on learning positive coping mechanisms to help you move forward. Individual, group and family therapy is immensely helpful throughout this time.

How Long Does It Take to Withdraw From Subutex?

Withdrawal from Subutex varies in duration and severity dependent on factors including:

  • Dosage
  • Length of drug use
  • Emotional stability
  • Health status

Cold-turkey Subutex withdrawal usually lasts for up to a month, although intense cravings can remain for far longer.

What Are the Stages of Subutex Withdrawal?

Subutex withdrawal symptoms can be severe, often including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Bone pains
  • Drowsiness
  • Restless legs
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-type symptoms such as tremors, chills, sneezing, sweating and runny nose

Your physical symptoms tend to be most pronounced throughout your initial week of withdrawal, but withdrawing from Subutex can remain intense for up to a month. This is another reason why you should seek professional help to avoid the risk of a relapse.

You can expect:

  • Week one. Your physical symptoms as listed above will be at their worst.
  • Weeks two and three. You may begin to suffer from further anxiety, insomnia, irritability and hypertension.
  • Week four. Week four presents you with depression, low energy and intense cravings.

Although withdrawal sounds frightening, remember that getting through the detox phase is the most vital step toward your recovery. With the right support and treatment, you can do it!

damage from subutex addiction

How Can I Help My Loved One Recover From a Subutex Addiction?

If you believe someone close to you is addicted to the drug, you’re probably wondering how you can help. It’s entirely natural for you to feel worried, depressed, angry, helpless and overwhelmed when it comes to understanding what’s led to their Subutex addiction. Thankfully, there are many ways you can help them:

  • Understand that your loved one may be in denial. As a result, they’re likely to be irritable, angry and uncommunicative.
  • Communicate your feelings in a gentle and nonjudgmental manner. Being kind helps you both far more than shouting and getting upset. Showing you’re genuinely concerned for their health and well-being helps your friend or relative to open up more.
  • Suggest therapy and counseling to your loved one. Take a look at their options together with them, and show your family member or friend you’re in it for the long haul. They’re far more likely to get into rehab when they know they have your unwavering support.
  • Support yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Addiction takes its toll on everyone involved. Bear that in mind and keep yourself healthy. Eat well, exercise and make time for fun. Don’t get so bogged down in your loved one’s issues that you can’t see a way forward for yourself. You need to be in peak condition for both your journeys ahead.

If you’re worried about how to approach someone close to you and don’t know how to speak to them about their Subutex addiction, call us here at 12 Keys Rehab any time of the day or night for advice.

How Do You Safely Detox from Subutex?

Due to the risk of relapsing because of trying to deal with intense withdrawal symptoms on your own, the safest and most successful way to detox from Subutex is with the help of a professional team.

damage from subutex addiction

What Are the Symptoms of an Overdose of Subutex?

If you abuse Subutex over a protracted period, the risk of overdosing increases due to your body requiring more and more of the drug to get the original “high.” The drug is not intended for intravenous use, so injecting it also increases your risk of overdosing. Similarly, taking other drugs and/or alcohol alongside Subutex puts your life in danger.

Overdose symptoms include:

  • Extreme weakness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Weak Pulse
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Shallow, slowed breathing
  • Death

If you suspect you or someone you know has overdosed on Subutex, call 911 immediately.

What Types of Co-Occurring Disorders Exist With Subutex?

If you’re addicted to opioids, you may have a co-occurring mental disorder. This means you have a mental illness that coexists with one or more substance abuse disorders. If you manage to wean yourself off Subutex without external help and are still exhibiting symptoms of depression or anxiety, you could be suffering from an undiagnosed mental health issue. You could also relapse.

To fully regain your mental, physical and emotional health, professional rehab not only enables you to detox in a safe environment, but it also allows an experienced team to identify underlying mental disorders so they too can be treated.

Common co-existing mental illnesses that present with Subutex abuse include:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • General anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression

The treatment of co-occurring disorders is complex and can only be managed by trained, qualified and knowledgeable professionals. Contact us today at 12 Keys Rehab for advice on the next steps to take for dual diagnosis rehab.

Let Our Compassionate, Caring Team at 12 Keys Rehab Help With Your Subutex Addiction

Deciding to recover from Subutex abuse is a decision that may be hard to come to in the beginning, but it’s something you’ll never regret. When you choose our caring and empathetic team here at 12 Keys to accompany you on your journey to health, we will:

  • Help you to detox as comfortably as possible.
  • Be there for you around the clock.
  • Tailor a personal counseling and therapy plan that fully addresses your needs.
  • Ensure your family is involved in your recovery if this is what you want.
  • Provide you with fun activities and plenty of relaxation time.
  • Create a fully personalized aftercare plan to support you in continuing to live soberly long after you’ve left our care.
support plan for recovery

Subutex effects are often very harmful to the drug abuser themselves as well as to everyone around them. To free yourself from the hold of the drug, contact 12 Keys Rehab now at 844-334-7190.

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