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Detoxification Guide for Suboxone.

A Suboxone detox is a necessary reality for many clients. But withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone are almost unendurable and can persist for several weeks if stopped suddenly and without medical assistance.  Without the help of a safe and medically supervised Suboxone detox, these terrible symptoms can be just as bad as from drugs like heroin and OxyContin—the very addictions Suboxone is prescribed to treat. That’s why a safe, comfortable, and medically supervised Suboxone detox is important.


suboxone abuse facts

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Suboxone is a mixture of two pharmaceutical drugs, buprenorphine, and naloxone. Though it is prescribed with the endeavor to manage opiate addiction and withdrawal, it is often abused, diverted or otherwise taken incorrectly. However, it has been shown to largely help those who take it correctly, especially those with more mild or moderate addiction. It also helps reduce the risk of relapsing on more dangerous drugs, like heroin, or codeine.

So how does suboxone work? Well, buprenorphine is an opioid agonist, meaning it can help reduce the effects of opiate withdrawal by attaching to the opioid receptors in one’s brain. Furthermore, naloxone works by counteracting opioid overdose and also not allowing street drugs or generally more potent opioids to be as effective. Naloxone, on its own, is known as Narcan and serves a different, albeit very important purpose- it can help reverse opioid overdose.

Some of the signs of suboxone abuse entail: erratic behavior, running out of prescribed medication early, receiving packages frequently, and displaying physical side effects/intended effects like:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Blurred vision
  • confusion/difficulty concentrating
  • Constipation
  • Low blood pressure/heart rate
  • Excessive sweat
  • Fainting
  • Respiratory depression
  • Euphoria, reduced pain

symptoms of suboxone withdrawal

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Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the user, their drug history, and the dosage/frequency of which they were taking suboxone. However, some general symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Experiencing fevers and other flu symptoms
  • Excessive sweat
  • Cravings for opiates
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating

It is important to know that suboxone has a high potential for withdrawal, and as an opioid (antagonist), it can have effects not dissimilar to general opiate withdrawal. Withdrawal begins in the first 72 hours after abstinence from suboxone, and the effects can last up to a couple weeks, because of its longer half-life.

suboxone withdrawal timeline

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Symptoms peak within the first 3 days after abstinence from suboxone. The most physical symptoms are experienced during this period. After the first week, conversely, the symptoms primarily manifest in insomnia, change in affect and general bodily pain. Depression is also common and can last up to 2 weeks. At the one month mark, most symptoms subside, however some individuals report cravings and depression that lingers on. This can be referred to as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, which includes long-lasting effects of drug detox and withdrawal. The general timeline for suboxone withdrawal is as such:


  • 72 hours: the worst physical symptoms, similar to the flu-like effects of opiate withdrawal, are experienced in this period
  • 1 week: many individuals report difficulty sleeping, change in mood, general discomfort and aches and other psychological concerns
  • 2 weeks: depression is the most common symptom experienced in this time period, however psychological effects especially are known to linger
  • 1 month: cravings and depression are also reported in this time period, with the phenomenon of cravings being particularly long-lasting

symptoms of suboxone detox

Abuse facts  |  Withdrawal symptoms  |  Withdrawal timeline  |  Back to top

As we discussed the initial detoxification of Suboxone from the body can be a quite challenging process. Producing physical effects when it first comes on, suboxone detox can be harrowing. This is also due to the psychological concerns that suboxone detox can bring about. Some of these include:


  • Depression: many individuals detoxing from suboxone report feelings of depression and sometimes suicide
  • Irritability: irritability often occurs during suboxone detox as the brain is no longer receiving the same amounts of dopamine
  • Co-occurring disorders: often suboxone withdrawal can incite underlying mental health issues- this is because suboxone and also opiates are often used to mask feelings of depression, anger, or hopelessness, as well as a poor coping mechanism for mental health issues or personality disorders
  • Anxiety: anxiety is a normal part of suboxone detox as individuals are often scared to live without the drug


As you can see, the manifestations of suboxone detox are vast and pretty intense. With that said, medically supervised detox is highly recommended to help supervise individuals going through suboxone detox/withdrawal. The medical assistance and therapy offered at detox centers can help give an addict the best chance at recovery.