Buprenorphine is a prescription medication used to treat opioid addiction. Opioid narcotics like heroin and prescription painkillers are generally habit-forming when they are used for an extended period, or when they are used other than as prescribed by a medical professional. Individuals who suffer from physical dependence will likely experience a range of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms of opioid withdrawal if they stop them suddenly.
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence
To prevent the more serious symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal, some treatment centers will prescribe a medication like buprenorphine, which affects the central nervous system and ultimately minimizes these associated symptoms. Buprenorphine can be prescribed to be taken in a tablet form or a film form, and can only be obtained with a written prescription.
In the recovery community, medications like buprenorphine are a topic of controversy. While medications like this are undeniably effective as part of a multi-faceted treatment program – one that also includes intensive behavioral therapy – some people attempt to use buprenorphine as a standalone solution to opioid addiction. Coming to completely rely on such medication can be dangerous. Men and women who enter into addiction recovery must learn to stay sober on their own accord. However, this is not to say that buprenorphine maintenance doesn’t work – it is effective short-term, one combined with proven therapeutic and holistic methods of treatment.
Is Buprenorphine Maintenance a Good Idea?
Because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, it binds to the same opioid receptors within the brain that are activated by habit-forming narcotics like heroin and painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. It essentially tricks the brain into thinking that there are opioid narcotics present in the body, which leads to a decreased severity of withdrawal symptoms.
However, buprenorphine does not result in the same euphoric effects as its addictive counterparts. Men and women who are taking this medication cannot get high off of it. One of the biggest benefits of buprenorphine is its ability to alleviate the psychological cravings that often lead to relapse. But how exactly does buprenorphine maintenance work?
Reasons for Choosing Buprenorphine Treatment
In most cases, an individual who has been suffering at the hands of an opioid abuse disorder will enter into a medically monitored detox, where he or she will undergo a safe and pain-free withdrawal. Upon admission to this program, he or she will be evaluated in-depth, and the clinical team will determine whether or not buprenorphine maintenance is a good option. If it is deemed that this medication will be beneficial during the early recovery process, one of the on-staff doctors will prescribe the medication and administration will be closely monitored.
It is common practice to take the individual off of buprenorphine once he or she has been physically stabilized and before he or she moves on to the next appropriate level of clinical care (which is usually inpatient treatment). Some people will obtain a buprenorphine prescription without attending medical detox or residential rehab. This is not recommended. Addiction is a comprehensive disease, one that destroys physical, emotional, and mental well-being – because of this, integrated treatment is always necessary. That is to say, therapy is a crucial component of every recovery process.
Garden State Treatment Center and Medication-Assisted Treatment
At Garden State Treatment Center, we believe that Medication-Assisted Treatment that includes buprenorphine can prove to be a beneficial tool in cases of severe opioid addiction. Many of our clients come to us with an existing buprenorphine prescription, and we offer medication management services because of this. We believe in individualized treatment, seeing as opioid addiction is not a one-size-fits-all disease.
Some of our clients will benefit from a combination of MAT and intensive therapeutic care – others will be able to overcome a milder moderate opioid addiction with a simple combination of therapeutic and holistic treatment. To learn more about our personalized treatment program, or to begin your journey of integrated healing, reach out to us today.