Opioid drug abuse has become a common problem in the United States. Because of this, the fact that one should not abruptly stop using these drugs after an extended period is well-known. Doctors who prescribe opiate medications for management of pain typically advise a step-down approach for patients who must use them for an extended period, to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. Patients who check into hospitals after drug overdoses or struggling with issues caused by drug use and abuse are often given smaller doses of that same drug or one that is chemically similar until they can safely stop using the substance altogether.
With this in mind, what can someone who is seeking recovery from drug use do? How are detox and rehabilitation possible with so many problems arising from abrupt cessation of these drugs? The answer is medically-assisted detox, and it can be found with Suboxone doctors in Florida and elsewhere in the United States.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is one of several FDA-approved drugs introduced to help addicts during the detox phase of drug addiction recovery. It contains one-part opioid agonist – a drug that stimulates the same parts of the brain that opiate drugs do – and one-part opioid antagonist. The latter provides the actual treatment of the damage that opioid consumption causes in the brain and body by limiting how much influence it actually has on the body’s systems. Using drugs like Suboxone allows the body to step down gradually from the constant influx of opiates in its systems and to decrease the symptoms experienced both mentally and physically by the patient during withdrawal.
Suboxone Role in Recovery
It is important to remember that Suboxone is not a curative drug. There is no reason for someone to use Suboxone or similar medications unless they are dealing with a pre-existing drug use or abuse problem.
That said, Suboxone has a vital role to play in the recovery process for many former addicts. Those who are physically incapable with dealing with the stronger physical symptoms of withdrawal – such as those with medical issues independent of their drug addiction – or those who want to increase their chances of succeeding through medically-assisted withdrawal can turn to this medication for help. Its purpose is to assist those in need of recovery with the first step of that process and to get them through it as safely as possible. While not every patient will require the use of Suboxone or another, similar drug, the benefits it offers to those who do need it are inarguable.
When to Begin Suboxone
Medically-assisted withdrawal should be just that – monitored and prescribed entirely by a medical professional. Your course of Suboxone should begin when your caregiver deems necessary, though seeking help right away after stopping the use of your current drugs is recommended. How soon you should begin taking Suboxone in place of your current drug depends largely on what type of opioid substance you have been using, since the drug is designed to act as a direct replacement for what you have been experiencing.
A general rule of thumb for beginning Suboxone dosing after stopping drug use is as follows:
Morphine – 8-12 hours
Oxycodone and hydrocodone – 12-24 hours
Heroine – 12-24 hours
Methadone – 36 hours to seven days
When in doubt, your provider should begin administering Suboxone to you once your withdrawal symptoms begin, but before they become too uncomfortable. This will give your body time to have rid itself of most of the current drug, but not enough time to go into full withdrawal. This way, you will experience the least number of symptoms possible, while also stepping down from the current amount of substance you are using until you are drug-free.
Remember: the key to successful Suboxone use is that it must be done under medical advice and supervision. Let your Suboxone doctor in Florida or elsewhere give you the help you need to step down from your habit safely. Doctors and nurses who staff recovery clinics and other facilities are experienced with both the symptoms you are experiencing and how to best treat them, so seek professional help as soon as possible after you stop using drugs, and increase your chances of quitting successfully.