Buprenorphine is a prescription medication that is used to help individuals who have been struggling with opioid abuse. This medication works by alleviating drug cravings and reducing symptoms associated with withdrawal, ultimately helping individuals who struggle with drug addiction quit their drug of choice, whether it be heroin or prescription painkillers (like hydrocodone or oxycodone). This prescription medication is often used in combination with behavioral therapies to provide a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment. When taken exactly as prescribed by a medical professional, this medication is both effective and safe. Most people know buprenorphine as the active ingredient in Suboxone – a medication that has a widespread reputation for helping individuals who suffer from severe opioid addiction go on to lead healthy and productive lives.
Signs and Symptoms of Buprenorphine Addiction
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it essentially tricks the brain into thinking there are opioids present in the body without producing the same euphoric effects that can be physically and psychologically addicting. However, while buprenorphine is safer to use than heroin or potent prescription painkillers, it can be addictive when used other than prescribed. While the physical symptoms of buprenorphine withdrawal are typically mild and include a range of physical symptoms that resemble the bad flu or cold, the psychological drug cravings that go hand-in-hand with withdrawal can be quite difficult to manage without professional help.
Can You Get Addicted to Buprenorphine?
Because this medication is originally prescribed to treat opioid abuse disorders, many individuals who struggle with opioid addiction consider it to be a “safe” alternative. Again – when taken as prescribed, this medication is safe. However, if an individual begins taking it in higher doses for longer than intended, a buprenorphine abuse disorder is liable to develop. This medication can be addictive – and addiction can always be devastating, regardless of what chemical substance is involved. There are many signs and symptoms associated with buprenorphine abuse and addiction, the most common being:
- Minor physical symptoms like persistent headaches, low-grade fever, muscle aches, and pain, profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression
- Experiencing extreme mood swings/shifting between happy and calm to angry, irritable, and agitated
- Shifts in energy – individuals who are struggling with buprenorphine abuse will often lack energy, appearing tired, fatigued, and sluggish
- Experiencing a wide range of consequences as a result of buprenorphine use, but continuing to use despite these consequences
- Being secretive/spending more time away from family members and close friends
- Visiting multiple doctors and detoxes and attempting to get more than one buprenorphine prescription written at a time
- Stealing money from friends and family members to purchase more buprenorphine (in many cases, and the individual will start with a prescription, and once this prescription runs out he or she will attempt to buy the medication from other people with a prescription)
- Attempting to cut back daily use of buprenorphine but being unable to do so for an extended period
- Developing a physical tolerance over time, meaning that a higher dose of buprenorphine will be required for the same effects to be produced
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when buprenorphine use is stopped abruptly
Evoke Wellness – Individualized Drug Addiction Treatment
Evoke Wellness is one of Southern Florida’s premier treatment centers, providing an integrated approach to treatment in a supportive, structured, and luxury-style facility. At Evoke Wellness we treat buprenorphine addiction comprehensively, tackling the physical, mental, and emotional consequences and treating the individual as a whole. If you or someone you love was prescribed buprenorphine (or has begun taking the drug for any other reason) and has since developed a buprenorphine abuse disorder, we are available to help. Give us a call today to learn more about your treatment options, or to get started on your journey of recovery. We look forward to speaking with you soon and answering any additional questions you may have.