Addiction involving opiates and opioids (synthetic opiates) is a chronic medical condition. It can be treated effectively with medically supervised withdrawal management and medical detoxification combined with counselling and support.
Some of the common characteristics of addiction involving opiates/opioids include:
- An overpowering urge to keep taking opiates/opioids despite problems.
- Getting used to (also known as developing a tolerance) the effects of opiates/opioids. This means you may keep increasing the amount of opiates/opioids you take to get the same relief you had when you first started using them.
- A physical need to keep taking the opiates/opioids, to ward off withdrawal symptoms, which only gets stronger with the amount of opiates/opioids you take and the length of time you take them increases.
Suboxone is a medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone in one tablet. Buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist, is the active ingredient and naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist, is added to discourage people from injecting Suboxone. Naloxone is effective only intravenously and is not absorbed orally. Naloxone counteracts the effects if opioid agonists. When taking Suboxone under your tongue (sublingually) as prescribed, the naloxone does not stop the medication effects. However, if Suboxone is injected, the naloxone can cause bad withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone treatment is a substitution or maintenance treatment for addiction involving opiates/opioids for a short or long term. It is contraindicated with continued use of benzodiazepines and alcohol. Through treatment, people who have addiction involving opiates/opioids receive the medical and supportive care they need to stabilize and improve their lives. They are encouraged to engage in recovery to optimize health and wellbeing, as abstinence alone is not enough.
As Addiction is a primary, chronic brain disease, continuing care is necessary to optimize outcomes, reduce relapse risk after the withdrawal period. Successful withdrawal management and detoxification should not be seen as an end in itself. Often people are preoccupied with getting off the substance and have difficulty focusing on recovery beyond abstinence. Social and peer support is essential and participation in 12-step groups such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA is encouraged. In addition, other recovery actions such as meditation and journaling are recommended as part of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework of recovery.
If you are interested in taking Suboxone, you will need to undergo our full comprehensive assessment prior to starting. It is recommended that all 3 appointments be done on separate days to optimize the opportunity for you to talk openly and honestly with each professional and learn incrementally through each interaction. It is important to share with the clinical team any pre-existing health problems or conditions as well as all the drugs; both prescription and non-prescription, illicit or illegal drugs that you are taking before you start taking Suboxone.
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