Choosing the Best Private Buprenorphine Addiction Treatment Program
Can You Get Addicted to Buprenorphine?
Even though buprenorphine is used to help people with withdrawal and addiction to opioids, some people become addicted to buprenorphine itself. Signs of addiction include using the drug uncontrollably, cravings, faking prescriptions, and using despite negative consequences. Support groups and individual counseling are key components of treating the addiction.
Buprenorphine is generally used to help addicts of other opiate addictions to battle the painful withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting their drug of choice. However, the opioid Buprenorphine has the ability to latch on to addicts already struggling with an addiction and create another problem. Just like any other addiction, addictions to buprenorphine require help and care to conquer. The irony of buprenorphine addiction is that it should be used to treat another opiate addiction. Perhaps you have another addiction and began using buprenorphine to help with withdrawal symptoms. Then again, you could start using the drug recreationally.
Doctors might prescribe you buprenorphine as a stand-in drug to treat an addiction. During detoxification from heroin, hydrocodone, fentanyl, oxycodone and other opioids, the drug is often prescribed. Sometimes referred to in its other forms of Subutex and Suboxone, buprenorphine can be addictive. Some begin using buprenorphine not because they have a doctor’s prescription, but rather recreationally. The drug is often used in combination with other strong drugs to achieve a greater high.
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How it Works
In order to be effective, buprenorphine must target what are known as opioid receptors. These receptors control how your body reacts to both natural and synthetic opiates. Buprenorphine is able to mimic many of the effects of heroin or painkillers without putting you at risk for the dangerous side effects.
Doctors hope that, if patients are using buprenorphine, it will encourage them to slowly wean themselves from opiates entirely since withdrawal is not a concern while using the drug. Another benefit to using buprenorphine or any other opiate substitute is that by having a controlled administration, doctors are able to keep patients from changing how the drug is taken, sharing needles and risking more severe illnesses such as hepatitis, HIV, and even AIDS.
Buprenorphine is the newest drug to be introduced in the treatment of opiate addiction and the only drug that is approved for drug addiction treatment only. Many are concerned about its ability to be abused, but that is a concern that was considered during the medication’s development.
Decreasing the Addiction Potential of Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine was specifically designed to decrease the ability of patients to abuse the drug as many do with other opiate prescription medications. Some stop measures put into place include:
- Naloxone in Suboxone. One form of buprenorphine combines the active ingredient with naloxone, a drug that remains inactive unless the patient tries to crush the pill before taking it. This “protection” drug will bind to opiate receptors and stop the effects of the opiate, which causes withdrawal symptoms and stops the user from abusing it.
- Training of doctors who prescribe the medication. Doctors who prescribe buprenorphine must be certified and take a training course on the medication in order to be allowed to prescribe it. Decreasing accessibility and increasing education means that the patients who receive the drug have a better understanding of its usage.
- Limiting the number of patients allowed to receive the prescription. Each doctor certified to prescribe the drug may only provide prescriptions to a certain number of patients.
- The “ceiling effect.” After a certain dosage, the effects of buprenorphine do not increase. This not only limits its potential as a drug that can get people high but also limits its ability to cause overdose.
Much like the opioids it’s designed to replace, buprenorphine has the ability to cause dependency. Doctors attempt to monitor your consumption and dosages, but the very nature of the drug says that eventually your body will begin to need more buprenorphine to feel the same effects. Buprenorphine addiction can even cause withdrawal symptoms of agitation, headaches, nausea and sweating. If taken correctly, these symptoms are almost nonexistent, but if you inject or administer buprenorphine in any way that’s not recommended, they can be quite severe.
Over time, addicts might up their dosage of buprenorphine or prolong their usage of the drug. This is a telltale sign that a dependency has set in which means one has built up a tolerance to the drug. A tolerance often causes many to take more pills than are used to, just to feel its effects. A buprenorphine dependency can also make the addict feel physically ill if they try to get off the drug on their own.
Symptoms of Buprenorphine Addiction
Like other addiction, the signs of buprenorphine addiction are not always easy to point out and see in a patient. Because these signs are so difficult to discern, addiction can often turn into major health problems for the addict. In the worst of cases, death can befall an addict if they don’t seek help for their addiction. As the drug is used to help those with another opioid addiction, it is hard to tell if a physical addiction has set in due to buprenorphine or the opioid itself.
Here are a few of the signs you might be addicted to Buprenorphine:
- Mental preoccupation with getting and taking the drug
- Lack of control in terms of using Buprenorphine
- Using the drug for a prolonged period of time, despite negative outcomes
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Doctor shopping for several prescriptions to Buprenorphine
- Falsifying prescriptions to the drug
- Buying Buprenorphine on the street or illegally
Signs of Overdose
If all of the signs and symptoms of a Buprenorphine addiction are present, addicts must face the harsh reality that an overdose is entirely possible. While the potential for overdose on Buprenorphine is not as common as overdoses on other opiates, it is still a real consequence of replacement therapy and addiction. Some of the danger signs of buprenorphine overdose include coma, fainting, pinpoint pupils, sedation, slowed breathing, cold and clammy skin, extreme weakness, hypotension, respiratory depression and shortness of breath. While these are just some of the physical signs of an overdose on buprenorphine, users also face problems when combining the drug with other drugs. The consequences of doing so are often life-threatening.
Although buprenorphine itself is administered through outpatient treatments, the best rehabilitation for addiction to the drug might actually be residential. You’ll be given one-on-one attention in order to help you overcome the physical pulls of buprenorphine. If there are deeper emotional issues you wish to explore, the opportunity is there with inpatient rehab.
For any number of reasons, inpatient treatment may not work for you, and if this is the case, then there are other options available. Outpatient care can help. Just like with your buprenorphine treatments, you attend counseling sessions at scheduled intervals. Outpatient treatment will typically try to help you taper your buprenorphine use, where inpatient treatment will help you detox completely and then provide alternative medications if necessary.
Throughout these treatments, there’s been one specific constant – counseling. Talk therapy is part of a behavioral modification model of drug treatment and allows you to ultimately explore the emotional causes of addiction as well as the physical ones. Inpatient and outpatient rehab both rely heavily on support groups and personalized counseling to help you change your thought processes. Other groups exist outside of rehab to give you added support after treatment.
Each treatment has a different structure and a different process, but hopefully the same goal of getting you healthy and changing your buprenorphine habits. You just have to be willing to change.
Buprenorphine is a drug designed to help those who are transitioning from an active heroin or opiate painkiller addiction to abstinence. In most cases, it can be an extremely effective tool in treatment, however, it does have the potential for abuse. Some opiate addicts end up abusing the drug during treatment and taking their addiction in a different direction – away from treatment and abstinence. When this happens, the focus of treatment can shift in the direction of getting help for buprenorphine addiction through detox.
Why Buprenorphine Is Used in Treatment
For the first few days after active addiction, you may be directed to take pure buprenorphine or Subutex immediately followed by Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and a blocking agent called naloxone. This can be extremely effective in helping you to avoid the bulk of opiate withdrawal symptoms – as long as you take the buprenorphine for just a few days and then begin taking Suboxone.
Abuse of Buprenorphine
Because buprenorphine is a pure opiate and does not contain naloxone, a medication that blocks the effects of opiates above a certain amount or opiates ingested with needles, the potential for abuse is relatively high. Some addicts who are not ready to go through detox and treatment may opt to continue abusing buprenorphine rather than move forward in treatment.
Still others buy buprenorphine off the street in order to deal with an opiate addiction already in progress. No matter how it starts, buprenorphine addiction can be deadly. If it’s a chronic issue that you can’t control, addiction treatment is the only option.
Find Buprenorphine Addiction Detox and Treatment
Medical and psychotherapeutic can make a world of difference when buprenorphine addiction is a concern. Contact us today to speak with a counselor about your options in treatment. The earlier you get help, the more quickly you will begin your new life in sobriety. Call now.
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