More than 16 million people across the globe currently suffer from opioid use disorder according to recent reports. That number has been steadily growing over the last several years, and experts believe that far more people than have been reported could actually be living with opiate addiction. While opioids are effective for relieving pain, they can certainly be addictive and cause serious long-term consequences, such as organ damage, memory issues, and personality changes.
Table of Contents
Treating Opioid Use Disorder
Treatments are available to help people overcome opioid use disorder. They include medically supervised detox programs, counseling, and addressing underlying causes of addiction as well as co-occurring conditions. Medication-assisted treatment is also a common approach. That entails using medications like suboxone to essentially help wean people off of the opioids they’re addicted to. Of course, there are certain myths about suboxone treatment that should be cleared up to help people better understand its true benefits.
1) Using Suboxone Is Only Substituting One Addiction for Another
One of the most common myths surrounding medication-assisted treatment is that it simply substitutes one addiction for another. That’s certainly not the case. Suboxone is a medication that helps to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. It consists of two distinct medications: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It attaches to opioid receptors in the brain to provide similar but limited effects of opioids. In turn, it aids in managing cravings and minimizes the impacts of withdrawal. Naloxone, on the other hand, is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioids on the brain.
Instead of being disruptive, suboxone helps to stabilize people who are addicted to opioids. It helps them reduce and eventually beat their dependence on these drugs. There’s a low risk of actually becoming addicted to suboxone itself as long as it’s used properly. It’s a tool to aid in recovery, not simply a replacement for an existing addiction.
2) You Can’t Recover From Addiction While Taking Suboxone
Another misconception is that you can’t recover from opioid addiction while taking suboxone. That’s far from the truth. Suboxone helps people recover because it reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It allows people to participate in additional treatments, like counseling and support programs. It enables them to learn coping mechanisms and create healthier routines. Suboxone fosters recovery; it doesn’t inhibit healing.
3) Suboxone Is Only a Short-Term Solution
Quite a few people believe that suboxone is only a short-term solution for addiction. That’s not necessarily the case. It can also be used as a long-term treatment to help break addiction and prevent relapse. Each person is different; some only need suboxone for a short time whereas others fare better taking it for longer. How long suboxone should be taken depends on several factors that vary from one person to the next.
4) Suboxone Doesn’t Work As a Standalone Treatment
Yet another false impression is that suboxone alone can’t treat addiction on its own. Granted, it’s best to use suboxone as part of a well-rounded treatment program. Combining it with counseling, treatment for underlying conditions, employment training and support, help with making significant lifestyle changes, and other ongoing solutions is recommended. That being said, not everyone has access to all those resources. For those who fall into this category, suboxone can be an effective treatment to help end the cycle of dependence on opioids.
5) People Often Abuse Suboxone
Finally, there’s a long-running misconception that people often abuse suboxone just as they misuse opioid painkillers. Truthfully, virtually any medication can be misused, including seemingly harmless over-the-counter options. Still, suboxone doesn’t produce the same level of euphoria as conventional opioids, and its effects are designed to plateau. It simply doesn’t have the same influence as morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, and other opioids. Its potential for misuse is very low in comparison to the drugs it’s meant to combat.
Benefiting From Suboxone Treatment
Suboxone can be an essential tool in treating opioid addiction. Though it’s most effective as part of a comprehensive approach to addiction, it can provide a certain amount of help on its own. It can be used as a short-term solution or a long-term treatment. Using suboxone to overcome opioid use disorder isn’t simply replacing one addiction with another, and its potential for abuse is low. Many people have beaten opioid use disorder with the help of suboxone treatment.