The Importance of Sticking to Your Suboxone Regiment

It is very important that while in Suboxone treatment you refrain from abusing your medication. The meaning of “abusing your medication” should be self-explanatory; however, there are even some small examples of abuse that are often overlooked. Obviously, you should not take an abnormally large dose to feel a euphoric effect. If you are taking Suboxone to get high then I’m sure that you’ve noticed that it’s not worth the money or the doctor’s visits because Suboxone, as only a partial opioid agonist, really does not get you real high. But, I am sure that those of you who don’t abuse Suboxone in that way have had times in your treatment when you are feeling less than peachy and deemed it reasonable that taking an extra two milligrams couldn’t possibly hurt. Why would it? Taking those two additional milligrams would be that little extra kick that you need to be in a good and lively mood and it’s just two milligrams. I’ve thought those thoughts, and I’ve even taken those two extra milligrams. But I am about to tell you why that could be detrimental to your recovery.

There are two main reasons why such a seemingly innocent abuse of your medication could hinder your recovery. The first reason has to do with the way your body reacts to opiates (among other chemicals) in your bloodstream. The second reason revolves around the psychological aspects of recovery from opiate addiction. I’ll start with the first reason and take you through an abridged tour of the science that supports my belief that you must faithfully take your prescribed dosage at all times.

Imagine, if you will, a cell in your brain and lets say it has three receptors on it. Now imagine you introduce heroin to your bloodstream and all three receptors become filled. These three receptors cannot allow all of the opiates in your bloodstream to attach so, there will be extra molecules floating around in your bloodstream. Constant use will create a plethora of opiates in your bloodstream, so to meet the supply, the cell will create more receptors. The brain has a fantastic ability to “normalize” itself. Now, in a cell normally functioned with only three receptors now has, lets say, six receptors. Since heroin has a cumulative effect, the numbers of available molecules in your bloodstream will continue to increase; thus, the number of receptors on this cell will continue to increase. So, after years of heroin abuse you’re ready to quit so you start Suboxone treatment. Your doctor starts you at 16 mg and this fills all of your receptors so you feel neither withdrawal nor high. After a month or so, you’re ready to step down to 14 mg. After this step down you may feel drowsy or some slight discomfort. This is because there is now less Suboxone in your system leaving some receptors open. Eventually though, if a receptor isn’t filled again it will go dormant and close. After this happens and your body becomes used to 14 mg you’ll be ready to drop to 12 mg and once again, a few more receptors are left open. Now, lets say you faithfully follow the program without incident and you’ve gotten down to 4 mg. You’ve been doing everything by the book and things are going great until one day you have a horrible day at work, and nothing seems to be working out for you and your just simply unhappy. So, even though you already took your dosage for the day, you know that taking some more will make you feel a little better so you add another 4 mg to your system. Now, there is a surplus of opioid molecules in your bloodstream again and you’ve confused the cell and the dormant receptors. To put it simply, you’ve increased your tolerance again.

Like I said, there are two main reasons why you should stick with your suboxone regiment. The second reason is more psychological. One of the reasons why the people that successfully complete the suboxone program is because those people developed coping skills. Coping skills are simply defined as: the skills you need to cope with cravings. One of the big triggers that lead to you doing your drug of choice is times of depression or unhappiness. A bad habit we often learn while abusing drugs is medicating ourselves when we’re unhappy. It seems like, as addicts, we tend to think that we should always be happy and when we’re not that means we need to do some drugs. That habit is one that must be broken before you can recover so, if you take a little extra suboxone when you feel down you’re not implementing an important coping skill. So wether your medicating a bad mood with suboxone or heroin, there really isn’t a difference.

Opiate addiction recovery is a very long process, and some say it’s a process that never completely ends. Suboxone is not designed to do the recovering and overcoming for you. Suboxone merely provides a less steep ladder down the climb of withdrawal. When used properly, Suboxone allows you to slowly transition from opiate addiction to non-use while still allowing you to function in society and life in general. Statistics show that Suboxone is most effective when used over a period of one year, so for all you addicts out there that just started Suboxone; be patient and use the coping skills in any situation, don’t wait for the catostrophe to occur in your life before you start using coping skills. Skills only become second nature through continuous use, so give it a go! So in conclusion, stick to your prescribed dosage and use skills to help you cope with cravings, and you should be fine. Good luck my friends.

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4 Responses to The Importance of Sticking to Your Suboxone Regiment

  1. luvlylola says:

    well, i must say your blog came in very handy last night! it was my fourth day off of suboxone, and i was sooo tired, yet couldn’t sleep well. no other withdrawal effects to speak of, maybe some muscle aches and a little paranoia, but that could be psychological. anyway, i read and re-read your notes and found them to be so true, honest and helpful and for this i thank you!

    i’ve had thirteen major surgeries for female problems and have been on pain pills for so many years. i used that as an excuse for so long. i felt that since i never even tried any illegal drug, i really couldn’t be an addict – or at least, i didn’t deserve to be an addict. but i’m learning. and i’m accepting. and i’m growing up. i’ve relapsed several times. i’m really gonna try and utilize that One Day At A Time tool. it works for so many, only my ego keeps me thinking it won’t work for me.

    cudos on your blog. and thanks again.


  2. Sashey8 says:

    I just wanted to say hi and that I know know more than I knew an hour ago.I had no idea that I must stay on suboxone for a period of a year. I have been already reading how to come off of any medication .It goes a little like this You take 2percent less of the suboxone every 14 days until there is none left. It is a long process with out the side affects if you follow the program. I took a 3rd suboxone the other day and felt bad.I am allowed to take 2 to 4 a day but I know 2 is enough.i was in terrible pain from jogging again. I think I overdid it and I had a very bad back with cronic back pain. I am addicted to jogging,running but I know now it is going to have to be walking to do the trick. My worse fear is not getting enough sleep. I lost 6 days of sleep during a horrible detox at home.Thank God for my angel, my husband saved my life.he did everything fo rme. I was so confused ,couldn’t put two words together,I experienced panic attacks and everything else you could think of and not think of. Anyway I am glad I found you all. Keep talking and teaching me and all the others. I am grateful for you Please email me too because I could lose this site.

  3. Sashey8 says:

    Today was a sad day.I saw an old friend and wanted to tell her all the hell I had been through but no way!Her husband is with the Secret Service and in a country that is very scary protecting someone high up.. She can’t sleep so i am not going to drop all of my problems on her. I only took my two suboxone today but I am crying now because I can’t take another form of with drawl. Iam already thinking so far ahead of all of this.I just wanto to feel like me again.The old me 17 months ago, in pain and I wished I had taken another form of therapy instead of prescribed hell pills.I know I said there is a new way to not suffer by cutting back every 2 weeks at 2 percent and then down to nothing.BUT what if it doesn’t work.i just want to be better now and I am scared again. I can’t stop crying. I am trying to help another sweet lady and i don’t want her to know how scared I am.So I am putting it into my angels hands now. I have no other choice. I am also going to get some deep deep relaxing massages at home. I hear that it does wonders for my back. Anything healthy I will try. I just wish I didn;t have to take any pain medication, even when the pain is at it’s worst. How is every one else tonight? better I hope and pray. Anyone can write me and i will try to help helps me when i help them out. GWIM? Take care and sleep well all.

  4. WendyJJ13 says:

    I am so glad that I ran across your blog when I was on Yahoo! searching about opiate addictions. I had no idea that taking more Suboxone than directed could do damage to your progress. I am so glad to read these blogs and the comments that go along with each blog and it feels so much better knowing I am not alone. I wish I wasn’t addicted to pain pills and I finally was able to realize that what I was doing was wrong. Yes, it may have started out as a legitimate reason to take pills but I over took them and abused my medication. I look at people all the time and see how happy they are and how much natural energy they have and I wish that I felt the way they do. I am a 23 year old single mother of 2 wonderful, smart and beautiful little girls, I wish I had the strength and energy to just give them my everything without having to be drugged up on pills. I really would love to have somebody to talk to that is in a similar situation. If you would like to talk my e-mail is Thank you Brandon for writing these wonderful blogs they have been not only helpful but full of information and very inspirational!

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