Making it Through Heroin Withdrawal

Being addicted to heroin feels like being on a roller coaster ride that never ends. You’re either high and intoxicated, or fighting off excruciating heroin withdrawal. Either way, normal functioning is a struggle. Holding down a job and maintaining a normal lifestyle while on heroin is so difficult that many addicts can’t manage it at all.

If you’re like the majority of heroin addicts, you would love to quit. But the prospect of going through full heroin withdrawal is scary enough to keep you trapped in the cycle of addiction. Maybe you’ve already tried to quit cold turkey and failed. The more times you fail to quit using heroin on your own, the more hopeless you become as you feel more and more convinced that you just don’t have what it takes to make the necessary change in your life.

But what if you could quit without going through heroin withdrawal? With buprenorphine maintenance treatment, you can – and at the Delray Center for Healing, opiate addiction treatment is affordable and easy.

Why Does Heroin Withdrawal Hurt?

Heroin withdrawal is painful because chronic opiate abuse disrupts your brain’s ability to produce endorphins, which are important for feelings of well-being and natural pain relief. Heroin acts on the brain’s opioid receptors, which is why users feel euphoria when they take the drug. However, when an addict stops taking the drug, your brain is unable to naturally produce the endorphins that would stimulate those opioid receptors through natural means. Since your brain is unable to produce the neurotransmitters that help your body feel normal, opiate withdrawal pain is the result.

Treating Opiate Withdrawal with Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine, marketed under the brand names Subutex and Suboxone, is an opioid drug that stimulates the brain’s opioid receptors. However, unlike heroin and methadone, buprenorphine only stimulates the brain’s opioid receptors a little bit – enough to relieve withdrawal symptoms, but not so much to cause euphoria. That’s because the manufacturers of buprenorphine don’t want to give users an incentive to abuse the drug.

Because buprenorphine relieves withdrawal symptoms and doesn’t cause a “high” feeling, it can help you get off the roller coaster of heroin addiction and feel normal again. Since it’s designed to be hard to abuse, it’s less strictly controlled than methadone, an older drug used for heroin maintenance treatment. When you’re on methadone treatment, you have to appear at a special clinic every day to get your medicine, and submit to often humiliating measures designed to verify that you’re committed to your recovery. You’re not allowed to take any methadone home with you; just making room in your schedule to get to the methadone clinic every day can make it hard to maintain the responsibilities of a job or live a normal life.

When you use buprenorphine to manage heroin withdrawal symptoms, you can take a supply of your medication home with you – you’ll be trusted to take it responsibly. That makes it easier to hold down a job and manage the responsibilities of normal life while going through treatment. It also makes it much easier to protect your privacy while you’re going through treatment. Since you don’t have to be seen going in and out of a methadone clinic every day, you can keep the fact that you’re going through treatment for opiate addiction to yourself, if you want. That’s especially important for addicts who managed to maintain a relatively high level of functioning during their period of active addiction.

Many people who use buprenorphine feel that it has fewer side effects than methadone and leaves their minds feeling clearer. Eventually, you’ll want to taper off of buprenorphine and start a new, completely substance-free life. Buprenorphine is much easier than methadone to taper off of; detox symptoms are far less severe.

Buprenorphine for opiate addiction maintenance is much more likely to be successful if you also receive addiction counseling from a qualified therapist. Counseling helps get at the root of your substance abuse problems, so you can make real changes in your thinking and your life. If you or someone you love wants to quit using heroin, call the Delray Center for Healing today at 888-699-5679 to find out how buprenorphine can help you get clean without suffering heroin withdrawal.