Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Written By: Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
Cite This Article
Geraldine. "Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Last updated Oct 2, 2020 at 4:20PM | Published on May 21, 2015, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/suboxone-withdrawal-symptoms/.

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Last updated Oct 2, 2020 at 4:20PM | Published on May 21, 2015 | Eating Disorders

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and last for longer than “normal” opioid withdrawal. Unlike other drugs, it’s important to note that Suboxone is often the drug some treatment centers use to help people struggling with withdrawal symptoms from other opioids. However, even still, some people develop a dependence on suboxone and later experience suboxone withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. 

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a long-acting prescription medication used to treat opioid addiction. It helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings without getting people high. However, Suboxone is also a partial opioid agonist, which binds to the brain’s opioid receptors and can be addictive. Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone to prevent people from experiencing a high while taking it.

Since most users have to take it for long-term periods, many of them without medical supervision develop a dependency. When people try to cut Suboxone cold-turkey, they struggle with withdrawal symptoms. 

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid dependence happens with any long-term opioid use, even if people follow doctors’ orders. Once they become physically dependent on a drug, withdrawal symptoms are bound to happen when the drug leaves their system. 

Withdrawal from Suboxone isn’t as intense as other opioids, but it still produces uncomfortable withdrawal effects including:

  • Muscles aches and pains
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Stomach cramps or diarrhea 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Tremors or twitching
  • Anxiety 
  • Restlessness 
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Gooseflesh

Those who are taking Suboxone to treat other addictions will experience less severe symptoms. However, these withdrawal symptoms are still uncomfortable and increase the risk of relapse and potential overdose. 

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

Of course, the timeline of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is different for everyone. To some, these will be evident even a few hours after their last dose. To others, it might take a couple of days or weeks to start feeling the symptoms. It depends on the number of drugs they use, for how long, and if they struggle with any co-occurring disorder. 

72 Hours

Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal are the worst in the first 72 hours of Suboxone withdrawal. This is when most physical symptoms are experienced. Those without medical supervision are the most likely to relapse in a desperate effort to stop the withdrawal symptoms. 

1 Week

By the end of the first week, symptoms of withdrawal generally subside to general aches and pains in the body, as well as insomnia, and mood swings. During this week, psychological symptoms that arise from the addiction itself might trigger cravings and other symptoms.

2 Weeks 

When users reach week two, the primary symptom is depression. It’s paramount that they have the right support system around to prevent suicide or other harmful practices. Depression can often lead to relapse. However, users will try to use the same dose or a higher dose than before detoxing and they might experience an overwhelming overdose.

1 Month

After one month, users will likely still be experiencing intense cravings and depression. This is the most delicate time after stopping Suboxone use, as users have a great potential for relapse. Not having the right team and resources can be life-threatening. 

Suboxone Withdrawal Treatment Plan

The first step to help someone struggling with Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is to follow a detox protocol. Quitting cold-turkey and by themselves can be life-threatening. Doing so in a medical facility with supervision can help monitor and control symptoms like Suboxone cravings and anxiety.

Because Suboxone withdrawal leads to cravings, there is a chance people will go back and use higher doses or that their bodies will react differently to a new dose. When this occurs, they’re at risk of a potentially fatal overdose. This is why a medically-assisted detox is vital for recovery. 

Suboxone Addiction Treatment Options

Unfortunately, Suboxone detox is rarely enough to help someone achieve long-lasting recovery. Most people need to seek help from treatment facilities to find the right treatment. Depending on the severity of their addiction, a specialist might recommend either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Other modalities will include individual counseling and support groups to encourage recovery. 

Treatment Programs

Inpatient Programs: These offer a temptation-free environment that’s designed to help people in recovery. In this case, people check into a living drug rehab facility, and they attend meetings and therapy sessions while remaining in a supervised environment. 

Outpatient Programs: For those with a mild cocaine addiction, an outpatient rehab program might be an option. In this case, they have a more flexible program that allows them to maintain their daily schedule and responsibilities like attending school, work, or caring for their family. 

Aftercare Programs: Addiction isn’t one thing people can shove under the rug. The remnants of addiction often stay with them for the rest of their life. To help users find happiness and purpose in their lives, aftercare programs offer relapse prevention classes, life skills, and other essential tools for a successful life after treatment. 

Treatment Styles

Individual Therapy: Beyond the detox process, it’s paramount to tackle the addiction. Through individual therapy, people can understand what drives addictive behavior and see if there’s an underlying cause of addiction. 

Group Therapy: Building a healthy and sober support team is a critical element of addiction recovery. By attending group meetings or 12-step programs, individuals can continue their sober life and continue to learn relapse prevention techniques, even months after detox. 

Seek Substance Abuse Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to Suboxone, don’t wait any longer. Countless treatment options can help them conquer their addiction and manage any withdrawal symptoms. Remember, quitting potent drugs alone can be life-threatening. It’s essential to have the support and supervision of drug addiction specialists by your side. 

At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe in offering customized drug addiction treatment plans for those struggling with drug abuse. We look at each program on a case-by-case basis to cater to whatever your needs are to get better and walk towards recovery. From detoxification programs to group meetings and more, everyone in our team is committed to helping you win the struggle with addiction. 

Written By: Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.

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