Suboxone is a brand name for an opioid called buprenorphine. It’s a medication that can help people manage their addiction to another opioid called heroin or other drugs like opioids, painkillers like codeine or morphine, and other substances that produce similar effects.

Suboxone works in many ways to help you continue on the road to recovery by reducing your cravings and blocking your ability to get high if you take opioids. But what exactly does suboxone do to your brain?

If you’ve struggled with opioid abuse or addiction, it’s likely that you’re already aware of many of the negative effects. However, let’s take a look at how this drug operates on a chemical level in order to understand how suboxone helps fight addiction.

What Does Suboxone Do to Your Brain?

When you’re abusing opioids, you experience a wide range of effects. Some of these are beneficial – for example, relieving pain and making you feel more calm and relaxed. Other effects are much less desirable, including feelings of anxiety, confusion, and an inability to function normally.

Buprenorphine works to reduce the effects of opioids on the brain. It’s an opioid treatment used to help treat opioid use disorder.

You might have heard that opioids like heroin and prescription opioids like oxycodone and codeine are good for you because they “”manage”” pain. But in reality, these drugs can do much more than that.

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When you take an opioid, it stimulates your brain’s opioid receptors. These receptors are pieces of protein in your brain that respond to opioids. They’re responsible for the way opioids make you feel.

Buprenorphine binds to those same opioid receptors. However, it doesn’t activate them in the same way that other opioids do. Instead, it blocks other opioids from binding to those receptors. It essentially blocks other opioids from working.

This essentially means that when you take suboxone, it treats your pain while also managing the uncomfortable side effects of opioid use.

Help You Manage Your Mental Health

The opioid abuse or addiction you experienced may have had adverse effects on your psychological health. Additionally, some people with mental health conditions misuse opioids as a form of self-medication.

Buprenorphine can help you manage your mental health. It can reduce the cravings for opioids and, therefore, it can also reduce the desire to engage in self-destructive behavior.

Buprenorphine has also been shown to improve your mood and help you cope with stress.

This may be due to the reduction in cravings and resultant feelings of calmness.

Buprenorphine can also help manage anxiety and depression and improve your overall feelings of wellbeing.

Reduce Your Desire to Use Heroin or Opioids

As we’ve already discussed, suboxone works by blocking the brain’s opioid receptors. It blocks the receptors that would be activated if you were to use opioids. This can help reduce your desire to use opioids or heroin.

Buprenorphine can reduce your cravings for opioids and heroin. By binding to your brain’s opioid receptors, it can help relieve the symptoms of withdrawal, which often drive people to continue using.

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If you’ve been using opioids for a long period of time, you may have built up a tolerance.

This means that your body has grown accustomed to high levels of opioids in the blood. To achieve the same level of effect, you’ll need to take more opioids.

Produce Similar Effects as Other Opioids


Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist. This means that it produces similar effects as other opioids.

However, it has a ceiling effect. This means that it stops working once the level in your blood reaches a certain point. It produces a maximum amount of effect.

While this can be useful if you’re trying to decrease your cravings and manage your withdrawal symptoms, it can also be dangerous.

Bottom line

Suboxone is a powerful drug that fights addiction. It is only prescribed to individuals who have been through opioid detox and are not currently abusing opioids. When taken as prescribed, suboxone can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately, suboxone has street value. It can be misused and it can lead to addiction. Therefore, if you’re taking suboxone to treat opioid addiction, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Don’t risk misusing the drug and triggering an addiction.


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The wealthformyhealth.com team is composed of doctors and few students in their final year of medicine who have decided to popularize and share their knowledge.