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How To Get Through Suboxone Withdrawal


Suboxone is the brand name for a two-in-one medication used to treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and addiction. Suboxone includes buprenorphine and naloxone and works by reducing the intense cravings a person feels for opioids during early recovery and beyond. [1] These cravings are a prime cause of opioid relapses, so reducing their severity helps a person stay opioid-free.

Suboxone is a type of opioid substitution therapy. As such, it’s a form of medication-assisted treatment, which includes psychotherapy and a holistic approach to the recovery of the whole person. 

How Does Suboxone Work?

Buprenorphine is an opioid medication that works differently from other opioids, such as oxycodone or heroin. Those opioids, like most drugs in that family, cause intoxication. Buprenorphine, however, only partially binds to receptor sites on nerve cells in the brain that are affected by opioids. As a result, buprenorphine doesn’t cause euphoria or feelings of being high.  At the same time, it prevents other opioids from working. [2]

Can Suboxone Be Addictive?

It is possible for a person to become addicted to Suboxone, although this type of addiction isn’t very common. The potentially addictive component of Suboxone, buprenorphine, isn’t as intoxicating or sedating as other opioids. It provides very little sensation of being “high.”

Suboxone abuse and addiction are also quite rare when a person is taking physician-prescribed Suboxone as part of a recovery program that includes psychotherapy and follow-along care that’s part of a long-term treatment plan. [3]

However, Suboxone can be purchased illicitly, and some people use it to stave off the symptoms of opioid withdrawal while continuing to abuse other addictive substances. 

The physical symptoms associated with Suboxone abuse include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Poor coordination, weakness in the muscles
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Itching

These are the most common psychological signs of Suboxone abuse:

  • Impaired cognition (problems thinking)
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired memory
  • Inability to focus

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

As is the case with all opioids, Suboxone produces an uncomfortable withdrawal syndrome that’s worse when people attempt to stop using “cold turkey;” that is, they stop consuming Suboxone abruptly without tapering off it.

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tremors
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability

Timeline for Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone’s withdrawal symptoms are somewhat milder than those of short-acting opioids and are at their most intense within 72 hours after a person stops taking Suboxone. Headaches, nausea, and vomiting typically develop first, within 12 to 24 hours of one’s last dose. They will subside within 10 days. Depression, mood swings, and drug cravings may last up to a month or longer.

Getting Through Suboxone Withdrawal

The best way to get through Suboxone withdrawal is to seek professional care. If you have developed a psychological or physical dependence on Suboxone, Agape Treatment Center is available to help. Our evidence-based, comprehensive, and individualized treatment programs can help you or your loved one overcome Suboxone withdrawal and addiction.

If you or a loved one has been suffering at the hands of a Suboxone addiction of any severity, please give us a call at 888-614-0077 —we are ready to help around the clock, every day of the week. Our admissions counselors will work with you in determining how to cover the cost of treatment, then will help you set up viable travel plans and set up a date and a time for intake.



Call the Agape Treatment Center admissions team at 888-614-0077 to learn more about what our addiction and mental health facilities can do for you or your loved one.

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