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 Post subject: Girlfriend uses suboxone
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:34 pm 
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My girlfriend of 3 years has been on suboxone our whole relationship. I have no problems with it I just am wondering how long does it usually take? Does it cause any side effects? Is there anything I should be aware of? My girlfriend is pretty dodgey on the subject and doesn't like me asking about it, as she is pretty embarrassed.

We now have a 3 month old son, and sometimes I feel like she is having depression issues. Could suboxone have any effects on her mood, or is it just post partum?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:55 pm 
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Hi MF, congrats on the new child.

It sounds like you're totally supportive (good on you btw), why does your GF not want to talk about Subs? If it's shame, that's something we addicts need to get past.

-- ji

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:28 pm 
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Hi MF! Welcome to the forum!

It is wonderful of you to be so supportive of your girlfriend and also protective of her by making sure suboxone isn't harming her mental health! Congratulations on your new baby boy as well!

I'm going to speak in generalizations since I'm not inside your girlfriend's head. :) Most people who are ashamed about being on suboxone are actually ashamed of being addicts and having to rely on a medication to stay well. Because there is still a societal stigma against being an addicted to a substance, addicts have a tendency to be defensive about their addiction. At the same time there are some members of addiction recovery, among both addicts and professionals, that are very vocally against the use of maintenance medication like suboxone. From the perspective of some in the recovery community the reliance on suboxone means that the addict is not truly "clean and sober". For example, in some AA and NA groups addicts who are on suboxone are not allowed to speak up in meetings because they are not truly considered "in recovery". This is why our forum exists. We are here to support members who are on suboxone for life, for a while, or while they are tapering or jumping off sub.

The timing of suboxone use is very individual. I am coming up on three years of suboxone use. I do not feel ready to get off suboxone yet, although I have tapered down the amount I take every day. There are some people here who will be on suboxone the rest of their life. There are some here who have decided that they are ready to be off suboxone.

Here are some factors that go into the decision to stay on suboxone or to go off:

1. Why the addict was addicted to opiates in the first place. There are some whose legitimate medical use got out of control. There are some who have undergone enough trauma in their lives that they need the long period of the stability that suboxone provides in order to work through their many issues. There are some people who never felt like a normal human being until they took opiates. This is probably because their brain chemistry is abnormal in the first place. Many, many, people who become addicted to opiates are masking mental health/brain chemistry issues. All addicts have some things to work through before they can even think of trying to go off suboxone. The beauty of suboxone is that it allows the stability to get your life back together after addiction has torn it apart.

2. Pressure. Some addicts on sub are being pressured by their family members, their own suboxone doctors, their addiction groups, etc., to get off sub as soon as possible. There are many professionals within the recovery community who believe that suboxone should only be used as a detox tool, not a maintenance medication. I want you to know that the scientific research is not on their side! Scientific research shows that short term suboxone use results in a high rate of relapse. The doctor who runs this forum advises against short term sub use. Dr. Junig is a psychiatrist who prescribes suboxone to his addiction patients. The only time Dr. Junig agrees with an addict who wants to go off suboxone is when the addict has been on suboxone for at least a couple of years, and has used that time to work on his/her recovery, mental health issues, a revamped recovery plan, therapy, etc. In his opinion, there can be no doubt in the addict's mind that they are ready to go without suboxone. Otherwise Dr. Junig has very little confidence that the addict will not relapse after stopping suboxone.

3. Side effects. There are many addicts on suboxone who have annoying side effects. For most of us these side effects are a small price to pay to be in recovery. Many of the side effects of sub are the same as the use of any opiate. A very few addicts seem to have bad enough side effects that being on suboxone is harder than dealing with their addiction in other ways. Most of these folks end up on methadone or they cycle through periods of sobriety and relapse.

4. Expense. In the US many sub doctors do not accept payment by insurance companies. Depending on the doctor, the out of pocket expenses can be very high. Plus the medication itself can be very high.

5. Readiness/Preparedness. There are a number of addicts on this forum who have stopped taking suboxone and deal with their addiction in other ways. The people who are successful at stopping suboxone may have a few slips along the way, if not full-blown relapses. But they keep working on their recovery and use those lapses as learning experiences. The people who are successful have worked on their recovery. They have made changes in their lives that decrease the chance of relapse. They have left behind the people who are a hindrance to their recovery. They have often had therapy and lots of it to learn to deal with the emotional situations that drove them to abuse drugs in the first place. The people who succeed at stopping suboxone have support systems in place to ensure that they have folks to call on for help.

I'm sure I'm missing some factors, but here is what I want you to know about your girlfriend. She is to be commended for making the decision to get on suboxone. Her addiction will never go away. If she is not on suboxone she will be vulnerable to relapse. If she goes off sub she will have to find a mind-consuming way to treat her addiction and prevent relapse. This might mean that she would have to go to meetings once or twice a day. She might have to throw herself into step work or some other kind of work. This will typically mean a change in your relationship with her, less time for you, etc.

I believe her depression might be related to the post partum period. You can't be too understanding during this time. Typically, if a person suffers from depression suboxone will help with that. There is an opiate component to suboxone which tends to enhance mood, not depress it. In fact, there seems to be a small percentage of depression sufferers for whom suboxone treats their depression. Try to make sure that your girlfriend is getting plenty of support from family, friends, and professionals. People who are in the midst of depression are unable to just "snap out of it". Typically they need help to do that.

I wish you and your girlfriend well. If you think she could benefit from this forum please direct her here. There are a few new moms here who might be able to help.

Cheers,
Amy

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:13 pm 
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All I can add to Amy's well thought out, and very thorough explanation of Suboxone treatment and the issues surrounding it is my welcome to the forum also. That's why she's a moderator! keep on posting and asking questions :-) hope your girlfriend will join in also. it's done wonders for my recovery. I'm going on nine months on buprenorphine treatment combined with therapy and this forum and couldn't be better!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:50 am 
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Thank you very much everyone!

"Most people who are ashamed about being on suboxone are actually ashamed of being addicts and having to rely on a medication to stay well. Because there is still a societal stigma against being an addicted to a substance, addicts have a tendency to be defensive about their addiction"

-this describes my girlfriends stance perfectly

I also have a "colorful" drug history and me and her met while recovering and decided to recover together and it has worked amazingly.

The part about the depression is what I wanted to hear because she is an amazing mom and has really good support behind her. I don't think she is "depressed" per say, but 9 months of pregnancy is hard, as is giving birth and not to mention the 2-5 hours of sleep we get on a good night. So I would say shes as "depressed/high anxiety" as can be expected. I was just worried the sub could be making it worse.

My next question would have to be. Is it ok for me to pressure her to try to make moves towards getting off?

I want to stress I have no problem with it I just want to help and be a part of everything. Also I have so much faith in her and know she could do it 150% no doubt guarantee. She on the other hand acts like, if she ever quits sub she will be back on the streets within the week.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:30 am 
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Please, please, please, please don't pressure your girlfriend to get off sub! Only people who make the decision for themselves and are very sure of their decision are successful in going off sub. She is not just saying that she would be back on the streets without it for effect! If you're not an opiate addict you can't imagine the obsession to use that goes with it. She is not just blowing smoke.

On some level she knows that you would prefer for her to be off sub. That is why she is a little bit defensive with you and everyone else. If you really want to be supportive of your girl don't bring up the idea of tapering.

Amy

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