Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Suboxone Withdrawal

Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Suboxone Withdrawal

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is essentially a branded version of buprenorphine, the medication proven effective in eliminating opiate withdrawal symptoms and mitigating cravings in individuals suffering from opiate addiction and wanting to stop use. Suboxone is a little different from pure buprenorphine in that, in addition to buprenorphine, it contains naloxone, the drug used to reverse overdose from opiates. Suboxone, is therefore a safer form of buprenorphine in that it can prevent overdose in individuals who are utilizing Suboxone to stay off of opiates, but suffer a relapse. Suboxone withdrawal can be managed in New Jersey itself at several locations: Atlantic county, Middlesex county, Essex county, Bergen county, Monmouth county, Somerset county, Hunterdon county, Ocean county, Hudson county, Union county, Salem county, Mercer county, Passaic county, Morris county, Sussex county, Warren county, etc.

Buprenorphine, the primary ingredient in Suboxone, has several desirable clinical properties: lower abuse potential, lower level of physical dependence (which means lower withdrawal discomfort), a ceiling effect at higher doses, and greater safety in overdose compared with opioid full agonists such as methadone.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, as opposed to methadone, which is a full agonist. Buprenorphine, the main ingredient in suboxone, eliminates withdrawal symptoms and relieves drug cravings by acting on the same opioid receptors in the brain as other opioids: heroin, fentanyl, morphine, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and other opioid pain medications. Although buprenorphine occupies and activates the same opioid receptors, it does so much more mildly than full agonists such as methadone. Consequently, it doses do not usually produce euphoria when consumed orally as per physician orders. When injected (abused), however, it does produce euphoria.

Research has found that buprenorphine to be as effective as methadone in treating Opioid Use Disorder. Users have reported that they feel much less sedated and tired relative to methadone.


Suboxone is an effective medication that can help with addiction to opiate, but it can cause psychological dependence. It is a partial opiate agonist, so Suboxone does not produce a high like opiates, but it can produce some similar withdrawal effects.

Suboxone withdrawal or buprenorphine can last for as long as a month, and symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sweating, irritability, digestive distress, insomnia, lethargy, headaches, depression, muscle aches, anxiety, cravings, difficulty concentrating and shivering. However, withdrawal from Suboxone or buprenorphine is much milder than that from opiates. The danger is the anxiety associated with not taking the medication to minimize cravings – now anxiety kicks in, as the individuals starts to wonder if they will relapse on opiates since they are not taking suboxone or buprenorphine any longer to suppress cravings.

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

Normally, the withdrawal symptoms are more prominent in the first week, and then they start to reduce gradually.

New Jersey Treatment Facilities for Suboxone Withdrawal

While many addiction treatment centers in New Jersey claim to provide detox from suboxone, few really address the issues surrounding stopping medicinal use of suboxone or buprenorphine. Detox from Suboxone or buprenorphine involves more than physical treatment. The anxiety associated with coming off of a medication that has helped them stay sober has to be effectively addressed. Sometimes it may involve medication, but it also needs to be addressed through therapy. The Center for Network therapy is adept at these processes and has locations in Middlesex in Middlesex County, West Orange in Essex county and Freehold in Monmouth county. CNT is an expert at addressing Suboxone withdrawal in New Jersey.

Most facilities that provide detoxification from suboxone or buprenorphine do so in an inpatient setting. While inpatient detox may be necessary for some due to a dysfunctional home environment, outpatient suboxone detox delivers better outcomes. Besides, many inpatient treatment facilities ask the patient to sign a contract which states that the patient will not be given back their personal belongings, such as their phone, car keys or wallet, for 3 days if they choose to discontinue treatment at any point. Consequently, patients have to stay in the inpatient program until the facility decides that their treatment has been completed.

Outpatient suboxone detox of buprenorphine detox delivers better outcomes as it integrates the patients’ real-life environment into treatment. Also, the patients get to home at the end of each day and face their real environment for some time before coming back to treatment the next day. This not only helps them to put skills learnt in therapy to test, it also assures them that it is possible to live sober in their home environment without the help of suboxone or buprenorphine.

Therapeutic Support and Suboxone Detox

The key to maintaining sobriety for a long-term is therapy and self-help groups such as AA or NA. Support is needed to increase probability of staying abstinent, longer-term. The therapeutic choices involved in a personalized treatment plan may vary from person to person. A treatment plan to address the addiction to Suboxone should include:

  • Evaluation and assessment: A directed and effective treatment plan is formulated for the affected person. Behavioral changes and mental disorders, such as trauma or depression are assessed.
  • Unique treatment plan: Depending on the patient’s living conditions and comorbid conditions, a customized suboxone or buprenorphine protocol is initiated and a personalized plan formulated.
  • Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT and Motivational Interviewing, or MI are utilized to provide therapeutic support to the patient.
  • Psychiatric Care: As related earlier, psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety surface when patients come off of suboxone or buprenorphine. While therapy can address some of it, medication may be needed and a psychiatrist should be available to prescribe appropriate medications.
  • AA/NA: Self-help, 12-step groups such as AA or NA are an important support system in recovery. They last a life time while the treatment cannot.

The good news for residents of New Jersey is that Suboxone withdrawal management and Suboxone treatment is available in several location in New Jersey: Middlesex, West Orange, Far Hills, Short Hills, Warren, Freehold, Manalapan, Marlboro, Union, Westfield, Livingston, Chatham, Madison, Bridgewater, Bedminster, Morristown, Newton, Pine Brook, Montville, Ridgewood, Montclair, Toms River, Lakewood, Cherry Hill, Trenton, Newark, East Orange, Mendham, Chester, Edison, New Brunswick, Matawan, Paramus, etc.

Suboxone and Alcohol

Suboxone and Alcohol

Alcohol Addiction

Suboxone is prescribed to treat opioid dependence, acute or chronic pain.
In most cases, the drug helps to overcome addiction and avoid relapse after treatment.

Sadly, suboxone users mix the prescribed medication with alcohol, trying to reach the same high as the opioid agonist.
Mixing Suboxone with alcohol is extremely dangerous; this fatal mix is known for causing breathing problems.

If you are taking Suboxone, please be aware that even one drink is not worth the risk during your treatment. Beer, wine or liquor mixed with Suboxone risk your health, disrupt the treatment process and keep the reward pathways to the brain open. If you are mixing other substances of abuse while on Suboxone, you may need to seek treatment. New Jersey has plenty of treatment options whether in Mendham, or Manalapan, or Colts Neck, or Bedminster, or Morristown, or Westfield or Clark, or Somerset, or Ridgewood, or Upper Saddle River, or Atlantic Highlands, or Red Bank, or Rumson, Or New Brunswick.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a brand name for a combination of opioid agonist buprenorphine and opioid antagonist naloxone. The medication is used to treat opioid abuse and withdrawal. Buprenorphine replaces the addictive opioids to components that work on the same brain receptors. While buprenorphine reduces craving and soothes withdrawal symptoms, naloxone prevents drug abuse at high dosages.

Because buprenorphine is an opioid agonist, weaker then opioids such as oxycodone and heroin, it can still cause and euphoria, especially when mixed with alcohol. The presence of alcohol increases the capacity of buprenorphine to act as a full opioid agonist, with similar addiction signs and overdose risks.

Dangers of  Mixing Suboxone and Alcohol

It’s risky to mix Suboxone with other drugs, but alcohol is particularly harmful. Alcohol is the most abused drug in the United States. When consumed on its own beyond recreational usage, the following risks may arise:


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Poor judgment
  • Confusion
  • Irregular breathing
  • Seizures and hypothermia (in overdose cases)


Suboxone abuse has also common side effects such as numbness, dizziness, stomach, and sleeping problems. When alcohol is added to the mixture, symptoms become more severe including pain, upset stomach, and moving difficulty. The most dangerous symptom is slow breathing. In extreme cases, breathing can stop completely and even result in death.


Acting similarly to antidepressants, such as Xanax and Klonopin or sedative-hypnotics like Ambien and Lunesta, buprenorphine slows down the nervous system. When it’s mixed with alcohol, which also depresses the nervous system, dangerous relaxation effects breathing and heartbeat rates.

Long Term Health Problems:

Beyond the short-term risks, Suboxone and Alcohol abuse have also serious long-term effects on health. Destructive damage takes a toll on the body:


  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy – stretching, and drooping of the heart muscles
  • Stroke danger
  • Liver damage and failure
  • Brain damage
  • Stomach and digestion harm
  • Cancer (mouth, throat, liver, stomach, breasts, and bowel…)


Suboxone and Alcohol Overdose Poisoning Risks:

When alcohol is mixed with antidepressant drugs, liver damage is the most common risk after slow breathing. Together, alcohol and drugs, increase the chance of liver failure. People develop stomach pain and internal bleeding, fluids in the abdomen, and jaundice (known as icterus, yellowish pigmentation of the skin and whites of the eyes.) Buprenorphine in large doses has the same overdosing risks as full opioid agonists, such as heroin. Be aware of overdose symptoms such as vomiting, unconsciousness, depressed breathing and pinpoint pupils.


If you or your loved one experience one of Suboxone abuse symptoms, that doesn’t require emergency treatment, please don’t hesitate to ask for our help. At the Center for Network Therapy, we are dedicated to helping people recover from prescription medication and alcohol abuse. We encourage you to admit for treatment and return to your family, workplace, and community as soon as possible.

Safe Suboxone Withdrawal

Overcoming addiction to Suboxone and alcohol is difficult without professional help. Especially for individuals who are prescribed with Suboxone as a replacement drug for opioid addiction. Usually, when a person abuses addictive substances, he or she also used to the misuse of alcohol. Suboxone can trigger strong opioid cravings when consumed with alcohol. Not only that drinking alcohol is counterproductive during the rehabilitation process, but also long-term health issues develop with time.

Medical and psychological support is needed to overcome withdrawal symptoms and to prevent relapse after treatment. Intensive outpatient program is the most ideal setting for medical opioid abuse. Outpatient detoxification and rehabilitation programs deliver better outcomes because they incorporate the patient’s living environment into treatment from day one. Call one of our treatment experts today to learn about the most suitable outpatient program for your personal needs.

Treatment is available no matter which county in New Jersey you reside in: Morris, Monmouth, Somerset, Ocean, Camden, Monmouth, Essex, or Union.


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