Buprenorphine addiction

Buprenorphine, initially developed as a medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, has proven effective in reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings, enabling individuals to regain control over their lives. However, the very characteristics that make buprenorphine a valuable tool in addiction recovery also give rise to its potential for misuse and prescription drug addiction.


Buprenorphine addiction - pills

Is buprenorphine addictive?

Buprenorphine’s addictive potential is rooted in its neurochemical effects on the brain’s opioid receptors. Attaching to these receptors modifies the transmission of pain signals. It elicits euphoria and relaxation, creating a reinforcing, pleasurable experience that can motivate individuals to continue consumption and contribute to addictive behaviours.

Moreover, prolonged use of buprenorphine can lead to the development of tolerance, necessitating higher doses to achieve the desired effects. Sudden reduction of the drug can trigger withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, anxiety and physical discomfort, making the interplay between tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal work together in the cycle of addiction, making it difficult for individuals to break free from buprenorphine’s grasp.

How can I tell if a loved one is addicted to buprenorphine?

Identifying signs of buprenorphine addiction in a loved one can be a challenging but crucial step in providing support and intervention. While each individual may exhibit unique symptoms, several common indicators may suggest that someone struggles with buprenorphine addiction. It is essential to approach the situation empathetically and seek professional guidance for a comprehensive assessment.

Buprenorphine addiction signs to look out for include:

  • Changes in behaviour and mood: Observe if your loved one displays sudden and significant shifts in behaviour or mood. They may become increasingly secretive, withdrawn, or exhibit unexplained irritability or agitation.
  • Escalating dose consumption: Pay attention to any indications of escalating buprenorphine dose consumption without medical supervision. This can manifest as requesting higher doses or attempting to obtain the medication from unauthorised sources.
  • Neglect of responsibilities: Look for signs of neglect in areas of their life that were previously important to them. This may include a deterioration in work or school performance, personal hygiene, or loss of interest in hobbies.
  • Preoccupation with buprenorphine: Notice if your loved one frequently talks about or obsesses over buprenorphine use, such as constantly checking their supply, engaging in excessive research about the drug, or continuously seeking opportunities to consume it.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: If your loved one experiences withdrawal symptoms when attempting to reduce or discontinue buprenorphine use, it may indicate physical dependence and potential addiction. These symptoms include nausea, muscle aches and insomnia.
  • Financial Instability: Notice if your loved one faces sudden financial difficulties, such as unexplained borrowing or selling personal belongings, to support their buprenorphine use. This can indicate a growing dependence and prioritise drug acquisition over regular necessities.

It’s important to remember that these signs are not definitive proof of addiction but can indicate a need for further assessment and support. If you suspect your loved one is struggling with buprenorphine addiction, approach the situation with compassion, encourage open communication, and suggest seeking professional help from healthcare providers or addiction specialists.

Effects of buprenorphine addiction

The effects of buprenorphine addiction can be wide-ranging and impact various aspects of someone’s life. Understanding these effects is crucial in recognising the severity of buprenorphine addiction and the need for appropriate intervention and support.

Here are some effects associated with buprenorphine addiction:

  • Physical health issues: Prolonged and excessive use of buprenorphine can lead to several physical health complications. These can include respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues, liver damage, gastrointestinal disturbances and hormonal imbalances.
  • Impaired cognitive function: Buprenorphine addiction can impair cognitive abilities, including memory, attention, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. This can significantly impact an individual’s academic or professional performance.
  • Emotional and psychological impact: Buprenorphine addiction can profoundly affect a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. It may contribute to developing or exacerbating mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or mood swings.
  • Social and interpersonal difficulties: Buprenorphine can strain relationships with family and friends. The preoccupation with obtaining and using the drug can lead to withdrawal from social activities, increased conflict, and loss of trust. Additionally, individuals may engage in deceptive behaviours, isolate themselves, or face challenges in maintaining stable relationships.
  • Overdose: Like other opioids, buprenorphine carries the risk of overdose, especially when used in higher doses or in combination with other substances.

Seeking comprehensive addiction rehab treatment can help individuals address the effects of buprenorphine addiction and work towards lasting recovery and overall improved well-being.


Buprenorphine addiction - strained relationship


Buprenorphine detox

Detox involves gradually reducing the dose of buprenorphine over some time, allowing the body to adjust to lower levels of the medication.

During buprenorphine detox, our healthcare professionals carefully manage the process to minimise withdrawal symptoms and ensure the individual’s safety and comfort. Buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and duration depending on the individual’s dosage, period of use, and unique physiology.

Some common withdrawal symptoms associated with buprenorphine cessation include:

Physical Symptoms…

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Body aches and muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns


Buprenorphine addiction - muscle aches


Psychological Symptoms…

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Cravings for buprenorphine or other opioids

After completing buprenorphine detox, individuals may continue their recovery by engaging in therapy and counselling at buprenorphine addiction rehab and addressing the underlying factors contributing to their addiction.

Buprenorphine rehab

By immersing oneself in a secure and drug-free environment, inpatient buprenorphine rehab allows individuals to concentrate fully on their recovery. With the guidance of mental health professionals and the support of a peer network, individuals have an opportunity for self-discovery as they delve into the underlying causes that led to drug dependency.

Buprenorphine addiction therapies offered at Oasis Bradford include:

  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): This therapy equips individuals with tools to regulate emotions, manage distress, improve interpersonal effectiveness, and enhance mindfulness. By adopting these strategies, individuals can develop more effective buprenorphine coping mechanisms and prevent relapse.
  • 12-step work: This therapy approach provides individuals with peer support, accountability, guidance, and structure. It fosters a sense of fellowship and emphasises spiritual and emotional well-being as integral components of a comprehensive buprenorphine recovery.
  • Holistic therapies: We integrate holistic therapies into our treatment approach, including yoga, meditation, art therapy, and mindfulness. These complementary therapies promote overall well-being, stress management and self-care.
  • Family therapies: Family therapies involve loved ones in the recovery process, aiming to improve communication, rebuild relationships, and provide support and education for both the individual and their family members.
  • Group therapy: Through sharing experiences, gaining insights, receiving feedback, and developing coping skills, individuals receive guidance from a trained therapist and find peer support from others facing similar situations.


At Oasis Bradford, we place great importance on providing ongoing support following your buprenorphine rehab programme. In addition to the available resources, you have the valuable opportunity to become part of our alumni community. This community allows you to connect with individuals who have shared similar experiences, offering a supportive network where you can discuss any challenges you may encounter along your journey to recovery. We are committed to ensuring you have the support and connections to thrive beyond your rehab buprenorphine programme.

What Are The Next Steps?

Breaking free from the grasp of prescription drug addiction is possible with the appropriate treatment. At Oasis Bradford, our dedicated support team is available round the clock to address your inquiries and concerns and offer detailed information about our buprenorphine detox and inpatient rehab programmes. Contact us today to discover how Oasis Bradford can assist you or your loved one in overcoming buprenorphine addiction.