suboxone treatment stop addictionSuboxone Treatment

When Suboxone was first approved for opiate treatment by the FDA in 2002, the goal was to find a medication that would help individuals stop abusing opiate drugs with minimal withdrawal symptoms, unlike methadone which had its own withdrawal problems.  It was the first narcotic drug available for the treatment of opiate dependence that could be prescribed in an office setting by a doctor.  Methadone treatment requires patients to go to specifically authorized clinics, which greatly restricts its availability for many people.

Suboxone Ingredients

Suboxone is a thin film to be dissolved under the tongue that contains two ingredients: Buprenorphine (buprenorphine hydrochloride) and Naloxone (naloxone hydrochloride).  The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist which attaches itself to the opioid receptors in the brain.  As a partial opioid it provides less or none of the euphoric effect than full opioid agonists like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and methadone provide.   The primary benefit of buprenorphine over methadone (other than greater availability) is this limiting or eliminating of the euphoric feeling. Also, because the opioid receptors in the brain are occupied by buprenorphine, cravings and withdrawal symptoms are suppressed or eliminated.

The other ingredient, Naloxone, is an opiate blocker.  It has been added to discourage people from snorting or injecting Suboxone.  If Suboxone is dissolved under the tongue as prescribed, the Naloxone does not really enter the blood stream.  However if Suboxone were snorted or injected, the naloxone would speed to the brain and occupy the opioid receptors.  This could lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and no euphoric feelings.

How to Get Suboxone

Suboxone can only be prescribed by qualified doctors with the necessary DEA number.  You can find suboxone prescribing doctors by going here.  It is advised that someone seeking Suboxone find a doctor who understands addiction. Anyone interested in taking Suboxone needs to work closely with their doctor to develop a specific treatment plan that would be successful for the individual. 

Suboxone Treatment for Detox

Some clinics use Suboxone (or its Naloxone-missing counterpart, Subutex) only for detox. For an opiate addict, the most uncomfortable, painful part of their addiction is typically withdrawal. Subutex and Suboxone help a person wean down opiate use without feeling the worst of withdrawal symptoms.

Long Term Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone has increasingly been used as an adjunct to traditional evidence-based behavioral treatments and 12-step philosophy with success.  A recent study by Yale concludes that in treating prescription opiate addiction Suboxone maintenance is superior to detox.

Although the use of Suboxone has undoubtedly changed the way people get sober from opiate addictions, and has helped many individuals withdraw from their drug of choice and stay sober over an extended period of time, there are concerns over the use of the Suboxone. The top-most issue is the possibility for abuse.

Suboxone Abuse

Use of Suboxone has been somewhat controversial and one of the biggest reasons for this controversy is that the fact that Suboxone can and sometimes is abused by patients receiving it.  Patients may feel that it is impossible to abuse their Suboxone because of the fact that it is very difficult to feel "high" from it, however, when taken in doses 2-3 or more times what is prescribed, it is possible to feel drowsy, sedated and fuzzy.

Another way that Suboxone is often abused is by selling it or giving it away illegally to individuals without a prescription or who are not under a doctor's care.  These people may use it as a means of warding off the withdrawal symptoms of opiate dependence that make some feel violently ill.

As chemical addiction is associated with many compulsive behavioral and psychological symptoms, some patients may be tempted to abuse the drug by taking more of it or by attempting to dilute the films into a liquid that can be injected.   These behaviors are done less out of an attempt to get "high", but rather as a repetition of behaviors that are familiar from their active addiction.  Even when one embarks on a rigorous program of recovery that includes counseling and 12-step involvement, it can take long periods of time for some of these compulsive behaviors to fade.

Warning Signs of Suboxone Abuse

It can be difficult to determine whether or not someone is abusing suboxone. In general, people who take the medication properly shouldn’t seem sedated or slow as a result of their use. People who display slurred speech or slowed breathing after taking Suboxone might be abusing the drug.

Signs of Suboxone abuse include: going through the medication faster than normal, running out of it prior to the refill date, reports that patient has lost their Suboxone or had it stolen, random or unmarked packages arriving to the home or business, and excessive sleepiness (also known as nodding off) at random times during the day.

How to Avoid Suboxone Abuse

There are many factors that a Suboxone patient can keep in mind in order to avoid falling into an abuse pattern.  First off, it is very crucial for a patient interested in taking Suboxone take time to find a qualified physician who is highly knowledgeable and trained in addictions medicine.  There are many doctors who can and will prescribe the drug, but not all have gone above and beyond the bare minimum of training necessary to prescribe the drug, which is only 8 hours.

Secondly, it is important that a person taking Suboxone over a period of time engage in some form of counseling, therapy and/or group support with an addictions counselor who is knowledgeable about Suboxone maintenance therapy.  This should be done along with, not as a substitute for, seeing his/her physician on a regular basis while on Suboxone.

The solution to successfully avoiding any type of Suboxone abuse is to always take it as directed (even if one feels it is not working or isn't enough), to be honest and open with the prescribing physician, to take time to find the right doctor, to engage in ongoing counseling and other addiction recovery work, and to be willing to take regular lab and/or drug screens to check the levels of Suboxone in the body.

Deciding to Use Suboxone

The decision to take Suboxone is always an individual one and should be a decision made between the patient and his/her doctor, but knowing the risks involved and working hard to avoid them is the best way to have the most success with this medication.


New Hope Recovery Center has experience treating clients who are using Suboxone.  If you have any questions or would like more information, you can reach us at 888-707-4673(HOPE).

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center




crystal meth addictionMethamphetamine, also known as crystal meth or meth, is a highly addictive drug.  It is an artificial substance made from very toxic materials, which can cause serious harm or death when handled or inhaled.  Methamphetamine is typically ingested, snorted, smoked or injected.  Although there are different formulas used to create meth, there are some main ingredients that are consistent.  Most ingredients are extremely flammable and can be lethal.

What are the toxic ingredients in crystal meth?

A number of the ingredients commonly used in creating meth are extremely toxic:

  • Acetone- This is found in nail polish remover and paint thinners
  • Lithium- From batteries
  • Toluene- solvent used as fuel additive, in paint thinners, nail polish, brake cleaner
  • Hydrochloric acid- Highly corrosive mineral acid used to remove rust from steel and refine metal
  • Pseudoephedrine- found in cold medications
  • Red Phosphorus- found in explosives such as road flares and on matchboxes
  • Sodium hydroxide- also known as lye, in drain cleaners
  • Sulfuric acid- found in toilet bowl and drain cleaners
  • Anhydrous ammonia- found in fertilizer and countertop cleaner
  • Lantern fuel or lighter fluid
  • Ether found in starting fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Iodine crystals

Cold and antihistamine medications (that include pseudoephedrine and ephedrine) are necessary as a main ingredient in meth production.

The long term use of methamphetamine can have serious internal physical health consequences:

  • Weight loss
  • Severe dental problems: Meth Mouth
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain
  • High blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Destruction of tissues in nose if snorted
  • Respiratory problems and lung damage if smoked
  • Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
  • Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Convulsions

And of course there are the observable physical effects that have been shown in numerous mug shot comparisons:

  • sunken eyes
  • dark baggy eye lids
  • facial drooping, particularly the mouth and lower lips
  • pale skin
  • dark blue-black lips
  • wrinkles from skin losing elasticity
  • acne and sores

Below are additional articles about methamphetamine that you may find helpful or if you are concerned about someone who may be using meth. New Hope Recovery Center, Chicago's premier addiction treatment facility, has substantial experience treating those addicted to meth.  You can reach us at 888-707-4763 or

 Why Crystal Meth Is So Addictive

32 Signs of Meth Addiction

44 Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse

Written by: Written By: New Hope Recovery Center



Wet Brain Wernicke-Korsakoff SyndromeWet brain is the informal name for a neurological disorder known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.  It is the combined presence of Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff's syndrome.

Symptoms of Wet Brain

People suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome typically exhibit the following symptoms:

Loss of muscle coordination

- staggering, irregular gait

- poor coordination

- leg tremors

Memory issues      

- “Remembering” events that never happened

- Inability to form new memories

- Loss of memory, which can be severe

- Disorientation related to time and place

- General confusion

Visual problems

- Seeing (and hearing) hallucinations

- double vision

- drooping eyelids

- abnormal eye movements

Cause of Wet Brain

Many mistakenly think that wet brain, or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, is due to alcohol destroying brain cells.  However, it is actually caused by a deficiency in thiamine (Vitamin B1).

Connection Between Wet Brain and Alcoholism

Chronic alcoholism can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome for several reasons:

  • Many heavy drinkers have poor eating habits and their diets often do not contain essential vitamins.  This leads to malnutrition and lack of thiamine.
  • Alcohol can damage stomach and intestine lining and make it difficult for the body to absorb the key vitamins it receives.
  • Alcohol adversely impacts the ability of the liver to store vitamins.

Treatment for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

If Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is identified at early onset, doses of thiamine (vitamin B1) may have some preventive effect.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to recover from any irreversible damage to the brain caused by Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.  So early detection is critical.

Without treatment, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome gets progressively worse, eventually leading to coma and death.

If you suspect that alcohol is affecting your health or your loved one’s health, call 888-707-4673.

addiction recoverySelf Esteem....We hear the term thrown around a lot these days.  What is it, how is it different from self-confidence, and what does it mean in terms of our recovery from addiction?

Self esteem is generally defined as our perception of ourselves.  “Good” self esteem includes being secure and accepting of who we are, flaws included.  We are happy with what we see in the mirror and comfortable in our own skin. Self confidence has to do with our perceived abilities to do or accomplish something.  It is usually a result of having been able to overcome certain obstacles, difficulties or challenges in the past.

Self esteem and self confidence are not mutually exclusive concepts.  It is common for one to affect the other.  It is important to strengthen both in addiction recovery.  Without self confidence, we are likely to feel that we cannot cope with life’s challenges unless we use drugs, alcohol or our addictive behaviors.  We may feel that recovery is not worth working at because relapse is inevitable and we will ultimately “fail” at yet another endeavor.  There can be a “what’s the use” attitude with low self-confidence.

Without a healthy self esteem, we may feel that we are not worthy of recovery or of experiencing good things in our lives.  We may think that others won’t want to spend time with us as we really are...sober.

Most people dealing with addiction feel low self esteem.  Many wonder if they became engaged in addictive behaviors because of low self esteem, or if their self esteem decreased as a result of their addictive behaviors.  But if we get bogged down with this chicken and egg type questions, we may never fully immerse ourselves in recovery.  And this will prevent us from building up our self confidence as well as our self esteem.

In addiction recovery we are taught that we must have humility.  It is easy to confuse the difference between low self esteem and humility.  To be humble is to recognize our mistakes and shortcomings and to graciously accept and use our strengths.  It is having a right-sized view of ourselves and others and our importance in the world around us.  It is seeing that we are part of a very big world and our needs and wants are equal with those around us.

Having humility allows us to improve both our self esteem as well as our self confidence.  By admitting our mistakes honestly to ourselves and to others as part of a program of rigorous honesty, we learn to feel confident that others not only can and will accept us, but will love us all the more for our mistakes and shortcomings.  We learn that we can handle emotional intensity, conflict and confrontation without the aid of drugs or alcohol.  As our self confidence grows, our self esteem will often follow.

Building self esteem is not a quick project, but can be done.  When we allow ourselves to be seen truly as we are, we realize that our imperfections and shortcomings are our gifts to share with others.  We can see and our mistakes are our battle scars that prove where we’ve been and that can help others.

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients for long term recovery.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center


addiction in the familyAddiction doesn’t happen in a bubble, it has a way of altering a family and the interactions of family members.  The effect addiction in the family has becomes quite apparent when we look at the dysfunctional communication roles that family members often take on.  These interactions are fittingly called The Drama Triangle.  There are three roles in the Drama Triangle and each one is reactive and manipulative instead of honest and authentic.

What Are The Roles People Play When Addiction Exists In A Family?

Victim: This person continually feels victimized for what others are doing to him or her.    They feel helpless and hopeless.  Victims typically have unrealistic expectations and feel despair, vulnerability, and suffer chronic disappointment. Victims or martyrs tend to communicate in passive ways.  The victim avoids responsibility by blaming others and trying to control them with guilt.  This person feels “less than” the persecutor and often receives pity and is taken care of by the rescuer.

Persecutor: This person acts out in order to get revenge and/or offend others, as a way of avoiding his or her own discomfort.  Persecutors often communicate in an aggressive way.  They blame and criticize others.  They see everything as win/lose and insist on “being right”.  This person feels “better than” the victim and uses intimidation and threats to feel power and try to boost self-esteem.

Rescuer: This person is a natural caretaker and very non-confrontational.  They keep secrets and enable addictive behaviors.  Rescuers provide unasked help (while neglecting themselves) and often feel tired, depleted, unappreciated, and resentful. Rescuers communicate in a passive-aggressive way.  This person feels superior to both the persecutor and the victim.  Rescuers concentrate on others in an effort to avoid turning inward.

If you see yourself in different roles in different situations, that is expected!   

People will start in one role and often move around the triangle to different roles, sometimes within one interaction.  For instance, consider an alcoholic who is out late drinking while their partner is at home worried.  The alcoholic may come home to an angry partner (persecutor role) and instantly be in the victim role but then try to turn the blame onto his/her partner (therefore reversing the roles).  The interaction may then evolve further with the partner helping the alcoholic to bed and calling into work on his/her behalf the next day (rescuing role).

Also, don’t forget this is the drama triangle, so these roles are assumed when things are going awry.  These are not permanent roles.  However, as we know as an addiction progresses things go awry more and more often.

Why Would Anyone Participate In The Drama Triangle?

We take on these roles because subconsciously there is a perceived benefit to each one.

  • The victim receives pity and doesn’t need to take full responsibility for their actions.
  • The rescuer feels superior although over time they feel unappreciated, frustrated and tired from their attempts to rescue.
  • The persecutor feels a sense of power and entitlement and demands respect from others.

But these benefits are really an illusion, Claude Steiner comments, “The victim is not really as helpless as he feels, the rescuer is not really helping, and the persecutor does not really have a valid complaint.”  All the roles have something in common: by taking on a role, you don’t have to deal with your own issues or take responsibility for your own actions.  The roles serve the purpose of getting our adult needs met but in immature ways.  All three roles share a lack of boundaries and hinder one’s ability to be intimate and/or respond to others appropriately.

How To Step Out Of The Drama Triangle?

The only person you can control is yourself.  You can begin to step out of the unmanageability of the drama triangle by:

  • Recognizing that there is a Drama Triangle that is not working
  • Setting healthy boundaries
  • Taking responsibility for your own actions
  • Speaking honestly, calmly saying what you really mean
  • Having respect for yourself and others
  • Valuing the relationships more than being right, or better than

If you or a loved one is repeatedly in The Drama Triangle because of addiction.  You can get help getting out by contacting New Hope Recover Center at or 773-883-3916.  For more information about us visit our website at

Other articles you may find interesting: Family Roles and Addiction

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center