Heroin Addiction Treatment San Diego

We use Suboxone detox treatment for heroin addiction, as we find it to be a much better alternative to Methadone, which used to be the detox treatment of choice. Suboxone detox is a synthetic opiate that has a number of benefits, including lessened depression and withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is also a more convenient detox therapy.

Suboxone is composed of buprenorphine and naloxone, which have different effects. Buprehorphine partially imitates the effects of heroin, because it activates the same receptors in the brain. However, it is not addictive because it doesn’t produce the intense euphoria like heroin does. Naloxone works in the opposite direction and it blocks the brain receptors for opiods – this prevents heroin from affecting the body in the usual manner. In overdose patients naloxone is used for the immediate effect of heroin blocking.

The benefits of Suboxone are numerous and it is becoming a widely used detox medication. Suboxone reduces the patient’s cravings for heroin by stimulating the same brain receptors, but because there is no “euphoric high”, the risks of overdose or habit formation are minimal. Cognitive functioning, decision-making and respiratory functions are better than with methadone detox. It is also known for fewer adverse interactions with other medications as opposed to methadone.

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal are highly individual and they may vary in type and intensity, based on the severity of heroin abuse, general state of physical health, co-existence of mental health disorders, family history of addiction and the patient’s history of detoxification. Generally though, symptoms are anxiety, insomnia, agitation, muscle pain, sweating, nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, goosebumps and watery eyes.

Our addiction physician consultant tailors the medication for heroin detox according to every patient’s unique situation. The core process, however, is that the dose of Suboxone administered is slowly decreased, so that the patient can gently wean off heroin. Sometimes, if the circumstances call for it, a minimal dose of Suboxone is prescribed after the detox is over as a maintenance drug. This can support the patient in the more difficult challenge that follows detox – the core rehabilitation process. Maintenance drugs can both facilitate this stage and prevent the patient from relapsing.

As mentioned, Suboxone is particularly convenient because it can be administered in conjunction with some other drugs, such as those for HIV or mental disorders. This is important, since the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that around a half of drug addicts suffer from at least one severe mental illness.  

Heroin Detox San Diego Program