When you are struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD), life can seem bleak, and you may feel like there is no way out of your addiction. Opioid addiction is highly stigmatized and often viewed as a condition that mainly affects lower-income people who choose a life of drugs and do not have the willpower to stop using them. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality of OUD is that it impacts people from all walks of life, most of whom find themselves trapped in opioid addiction without really understanding how they got there. The origins of the current opioid epidemic lie in the overuse of prescription painkillers that doctors were falsely led to believe were nonaddictive. For many people who find themselves in the grips of OUD, Suboxone treatment provides a path to recovery.
How Does Suboxone Treatment Work?
A significant reason opioid use disorder is so challenging to overcome is that it rewires the brain to focus almost exclusively on the need for opioids, producing extreme cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone helps to ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
What is Suboxone treatment? Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that chemically work together to reduce the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It does so by binding to the receptors in the brain that crave opioids but not activating them to create the “high” associated with opioid use.
Suboxone contains 80% buprenorphine and 20% naloxone, which work in the following ways:
- Buprenorphine is a partial agonist, which targets the same receptors as opioids but binds to them more tightly, thus dulling the euphoric effects.
- Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which attaches to opioid receptors to block and reverse the effects of other opioids.
Essentially, opioid agonists like heroin, oxycodone, and morphine, activate pain-blocking receptors in the brain and release tremendous amounts of endorphins that mimic extreme pleasure. This “opioid effect” leads many to dependency and then addiction because their brain wants to seek that rush of endorphins continually.
By blocking the receptors in the brain that crave opioids, Suboxone prevents the brain from sending signals that cause cravings and withdrawal symptoms. If other opioids are used while on Suboxone, they will not create the desired “high.’
Suboxone Treatment Side Effects
As with most medications, Suboxone does have potential side effects, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numb mouth or painful tongue
- Back pain
- General opioid withdrawal symptoms
For most people using Suboxone, side effects will be mild and temporary as your body adjusts to the dosage. These common side effects generally go away within the first few days or a couple of weeks. If any side effects persist or worsen, you must contact your doctor.
Serious side effects of Suboxone are rare but can occur. These may include:
- Allergic reactions
- Respiratory problems
- Liver damage
- Severe withdrawal symptoms
- Hormonal problems
- Abuse or dependence
It is important to note that abuse or dependence on Suboxone is rare, while the therapeutic effects are substantial. Suboxone is not a cure-all, but it saves lives, primarily when utilized as a part of a comprehensive medication-assisted treatment program.
Suboxone Treatment in Washington, D.C.
The highly-trained and experienced treatment team at MD M.A.T.T. in Washington, D.C., understands the unique challenges of treating OUD. We believe that effective treatment of OUD should be accessible to all and provide services, including:
- MAT with Suboxone
- Detoxification services
- Telehealth treatment services
- Case management services
- Transportation to and from sessions for Medicaid patients
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy
- Community support services
We specialize in creating individualized treatment plans using Suboxone-focused MAT. We bring medicine, technology, and community together to help patients overcome OUD while receiving therapy to address the underlying mental health issues associated with addiction.
Learn More About Suboxone Treatment at MD M.A.T.T. Washington, D.C.
Suboxone treatment helps patients overcome OUD and experience lasting recovery as part of an integrated, comprehensive treatment plan. Contact MD M.A.T.T. Washington, D.C., at 202.933.5583 to see if Suboxone treatment is right for you.