Taking buprenorphine as prescribed by your doctor won’t turn you into an addict. However, people take it recreationally due to its opioid agonist effects, and also mix it with alcohol or other substances to achieve a greater high. If you start craving buprenorphine, taking it more frequently or in higher doses than recommended, or continue to use it despite feeling negative effects – you may be ‘hooked’ on buprenorphine.
How can you help yourself or someone else fight buprenorphine addiction? Leaving addiction behind is possible with the help and support of a comprehensive treatment program and addiction specialists. Continue reading to learn more about buprenorphine addiction treatment protocols and methods, as well as what you can do to help an addicted friend, family member, or a loved one. In the end, we welcome you to post your questions in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Help a buprenorphine addict quit
Most people can’t overcome an addiction on their own. They need professional help to return to a normal and healthy life. Medication-assisted treatment programs are consisted of three equally important parts, including:
- Professional and psychological help
- Friends and family support
Before you can start treatment for buprenorphine addiction, it is important to acknowledge your addiction. A person in denial needs to become aware of the problem and to recognize some of the symptoms of addiction. One of the first indication that the body has become dependent to buprenorphine is feeling unable to limit the use of this medication. Other changes and addiction symptoms are usually manifested in:
- Behavior and mood
- Emotional response
- Physical appearance
When you face reality and start to accept the fact that you have a problem, you can seek professional help.
Preparing for buprenorphine addiction treatment
Preparations for your addiction treatment consist of gathering information and considering several options before entering a program. We have a few suggestions that should be a part of your checklist when seeking the right buprenorphine addiction program.
1. Choosing a treatment facility that fits your needs
During your search you should ask about the options and types of therapies (individual vs. group therapy). Also it’s good to collect info about the medication management and the aftercare plans, as well as alternative therapies such as yoga and meditation.
2. Health insurance coverage
It is also important to find out whether your insurance will cover the cost of your treatment (or at least a part of the cost). More precisely, you should ask the following information when gathering information from particular treatment facilities:
- Is my insurance going to cover any part of my treatment costs?
- How much will I owe?
- What are my payment options?
- Are there any local state programs that can help with my treatment costs?
3. Another thing to consider before you enter buprenorphine treatment is the role of your family and loved ones into therapy.
4. The geographic location of your chosen facility plays a significant role in your costs. On the other hand, distance from drug-related issues, friends, drug buddies, and triggers can be a helping factor in overcoming your addiction problem.
NOTE: It is very important to remember that once you make the decision to seek help for your drug addiction, you should not turn back or hesitate. Once you have encouraged yourself, gathered the will, and decided that you want to live a buprenorphine-free life…do not change your mind.
Choosing a buprenorphine addiction treatment
All good addiction rehab programs should be operated by medical professionals and trained addiction treatment staff. The most successful programs include both, medical and psychological health services. In addition, the program should be tailored to your individual needs, because every addiction issue and every person is different. Generally, you can expect your buprenorphine addiction treatment to consist of the following steps:
- detoxification (the process in which buprenorphine is eliminated from your body)
- behavioral counseling
- medications therapy
- evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues (such as depression and anxiety)
- aftercare programs (to prevent relapse)
Individual and group counseling include a variety of treatments used to treat behavioral health problems. Counseling sessions are intended to change behaviors, thoughts, emotions, and how you see and understand situations. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps you seek your own solutions to problems in treatment using systematic goal-oriented strategies. Each buprenorphine addiction treatment is goal-based. The goals set in treatment programs serve to motivate you to move forward and help you achieve the following:
- stop using the medication
- remain buprenorphine-free
- perform successfully without buprenorphine (in your daily obligations with the family, at work, in school, in society…)
Help a buprenorphine addict friend
When having a friend who abuses buprenorphine, you can always encourage him or her to ask a professional help from psychotherapist, trained addiction counselor, or a trusted mentor. Other helpful resources that are anonymous and can provide advice are:
– The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK)
This is a crisis hotline that helps with a lot of issues. If a person feels sad, hopeless, or suicidal; family and friends who are concerned about a loved one; or anyone interested in mental health treatment referrals can call this Lifeline. Callers are connected with a professional nearby who will talk about feelings or concerns related to life-issues, family and friends.
– The Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) in the case of emergencies.
This line is offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is intended to refer callers to treatment facilities, support groups, and other local organizations that can provide help for their specific needs.
-The meaning of brief interventions
The term intervention means talking to the person you’re concerned about. All interventions serve to motivate a person to take concrete steps to address the problem and lead them to the required help.
The primary goal of screening and brief interventions is to identify current or potential problems with substance use and motivate the person who is at risk to change their behaviour. It is recommended for brief interventions to be personalized and offered in a supportive and non-judgemental manner. The duration of a brief intervention in primary care can last anywhere from 5 minutes of advising to 15-30 minutes of counselling.
Brief interventions are not intended to treat people with serious substance dependence. Instead, brief interventions have a valuable impact in cases of problematic or risky substance use. These interventions are used as an encouragement to those with more serious dependence to accept more intensive treatment. Brief interventions usually lead to treatment within the primary care setting, or may include a referral to a specialised drug treatment agency. The main goal of the intervention is to help the person understand that their substance use is putting them at risk. Another goal is to encourage a person to reduce or give up their substance use.
Self help buprenorphine addiction
You may be asking yourself whether you are able to quit buprenorphine and deal with the addiction on your own. Sometimes it is possible, but generally it is not a common case or an established rule. Buprenorphine should be slowly tapered before stopping completely in order to prevent severe or intense buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms. This is why medical advice is required.
Behavioral approaches are highly recommended for the treatment of buprenorphine addiction besides pharmacological approaches. Behavioral treatments for buprenorphine are consisted of talk therapy, group therapy, and support groups.
Psychotherapy is another professional approach that helps addicts identify the root cause of their drug use and the contributing factors. The intention of these types of discussions is to prevent further addictive behaviors.
Who to contact to begin the process of buprenorphine addiction treatment?
When seeking for information about treatment programs in your area it is best to ask local professionals for advice and recommendations. You can also seek consultation from:
- admission coordinator at a nearby hospital
- friend or family member with a medical background
- substance abuse counselor
Helping a buprenorphine addict questions
Do you still have questions about how you can help your worrying buprenorphine habit or someone else’s buprenorphine addiction? Please post them in the comments section below. We will try answer all legitimate questions personally and promptly.
Reference Sources: SAMHSA: The facts about buprenorphine
Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence: Brief intervention for substance use
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