How Long Do Suboxone Withdrawals Last?

Suboxone has helped many people end their opioid use and achieve successful, long-term recovery from addiction. But if someone misuses this medication, they can become addicted to it. When they want to stop using it, what can someone expect during Suboxone withdrawal? What are the symptoms, when do they begin to occur, and how long do Suboxone withdrawals last?

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, call us now at 508-504-9137 or verify your insurance now. Our opioid addiction treatment centers in Massachusetts can help.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the brand name of a prescription medication that is often incorporated into medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs for opioid addiction. This medication can be extremely beneficial for people who have become addicted to heroin, morphine, fentanyl, and many prescription painkillers. 

Suboxone consists of two main ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone.

  • Buprenorphine is a synthetic medication that is classified as a partial opioid agonist. It interacts with the same receptors in the central nervous system that are affected by opioids, but it doesn’t cause the same disorienting high that most other opioids produce.
  • Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. If someone uses an opioid while taking naloxone, this medication will block the opioid’s effects. Naloxone can also prevent opioid overdose.

Suboxone earned approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for use in MAT programs. It is usually taken orally, either as a pill or a dissolvable film that is placed under the tongue. 

Years of studies documents Suboxone’s safety and effectiveness when it is taken as directed by a qualified physician in the context of an approved addiction treatment program. 

Unfortunately, some people have discovered that they can achieve a recreational high by abusing Suboxone. Anyone who intentionally misuses this substance may be at risk of myriad negative outcomes, including addiction.

What Happens During Suboxone Withdrawal?

When a person becomes addicted to alcohol or another drug, their body adapts to the presence of this substance. When the individual abruptly stops using the drug – or when they are prevented from acquiring and using it – their body may respond with a variety of uncomfortable physical and/or psychological symptoms.

This experience is known as withdrawal, and it is one of the classic signs of addiction. Due to the presence of buprenorphine, someone who goes through Suboxone withdrawal may develop symptoms that are similar to what a person experiences during opioid withdrawal. 

The following are examples of common physical symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal: 

  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Pain in bones and muscles
  • Fever and chills
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Exhaustion
  • Inability to sleep

Suboxone withdrawal can also cause the following psychological symptoms:

  • Intense drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Depression
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating

How Long Do Suboxone Withdrawals Last?

Now that we’ve discussed the types of symptoms a person may expect during Suboxone withdrawal, let’s turn our attention toward when these symptoms begin and end. 

The answer to the question, How long do Suboxone withdrawals last, can vary from one person to the next depending on a variety of factors. But in general, here’s what a typical Suboxone withdrawal timeline looks like:

  • Usually, the initial physical and psychological symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal will appear within 24-72 hours after the last time a person used the drug. This delay in the onset of symptoms is due to the fact that buprenorphine has an average half-life of 38 hours. (For purposes of comparison, the opioid oxycodone has a half-life of three hours.)
  • Once symptoms have begun, they will usually become more severe over the next two or three days. By the sixth day after a person’s last dose of Suboxone, their withdrawal symptoms should have reached peak intensity.
  • After peaking, the physical symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal should begin to subside. This can be a slow process. It may take one or two weeks for a person to feel like they are back to full physical strength. 
  • Some psychological symptoms, such as drug cravings, depression and impaired concentration, may endure for an extended period of time. Some people have endured lingering psychological symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal for months after they stopped using the drug.

What Happens After Suboxone Withdrawal?

Getting through Suboxone withdrawal can be a significant step on the path toward a drug-free future. But it’s just one step. To learn how to manage cravings and other long-term symptoms, and to develop essential relapse-prevention skills, many people find that outpatient therapy is an ideal follow-on after completing withdrawal.

The many benefits of outpatient therapy for Suboxone addiction include:

  • Identifying your triggers, which are situations or circumstances that could undermine your recovery and push you back into active substance abuse.
  • Developing skills and strategies for either avoiding triggers or responding to them in a healthy manner, without resorting to substances
  • Addressing any underlying or co-occurring mental health concerns that may have contributed to your struggles with Suboxone abuse.
  • Learning how to communicate more effectively, manage stress, and resolve conflicts.
  • Building a personal support network and connecting with community-based services that can support your recovery efforts or help you if you have a relapse.
  • Forming meaningful connections with others who are in treatment, which can introduce you to the power shared support within the recovery community.

Find Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts

If you have become addicted to Suboxone or another substance, please know that you are not alone. Lake Avenue Recovery is a respected provider of personalized outpatient rehab for adults whose lives have been disrupted by addiction and dual diagnosis disorders.

We understand the devastation that addiction can inflict on virtually every part of your life, and we are committed to providing the focused services that can help you make sustained progress toward a much healthier and more hopeful future. 

To learn more about our programs and services, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.