Heading off to a drug detox treatment facility or hospital is one of the best moves an addict wishing to get clean can do, and another one is using the drug Suboxone. After the initial Intake, where a patient answers a few harmless questions, and takes a blood and urine test, they enter the second phase or drug treatment.
The primary focus is to switch the patient from their current opioid on to Suboxone. The patient needs to be already experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms. The reason for this is because if the Suboxone is taken before withdrawal starts it will make the patient actually feel worse because it will cause withdrawal symptoms.
Why does this happen?
If the patient has high levels of another opioid in their system, Suboxone will compete with it and knock them off the receptors, and then it will replace them. Because Suboxone has less opioid effects, the patient will go into withdrawal quickly and feel worse. It is called a ‘precipitated withdrawal.’
How long does this normally take?
Usually, some relief is found in the first 20 minutes and the full effects will take close to an hour. Many times taking a walk or being in a calm surrounding will help pass the time, and when it does, the patient is then reassessed to see how they are doing physically and mentally. The patient may or may not need a second dose.
If the patient is in a facility, they will be given Suboxone throughout the detox process, but this medication can also be used on an outpatient basis. Typically the doctor will write a prescription for the amount needed, along with other instructions or medications until the next appointment. Daily appointments are not uncommon because it helps the doctor adjust for withdrawals and cravings. Overall, this entire period can last from two to seven days.
The important part in any treatment plan is to be honest and to stay focused on getting clean. Talking with the doctor and others who are sober (via NA or AA) is a great way to maintain long-term sobriety.