While Suboxone could be helpful for some people with alcohol use disorder, it isn't the best choice for alcohol withdrawal treatment.
To recover from alcohol use disorder, you must quit drinking. But if you've consumed large amounts of alcohol for a long time, cold-turkey sobriety could be dangerous for your health.
Researchers say Suboxone can help ease cravings associated with alcohol withdrawal. If your team is worried you'll relapse to drinking before your treatment starts to work, Suboxone may help. But it's probably not the only therapy you need.
Heavy, long-term drinkers change their brain chemistry. In time, their brain cells work best when alcohol is present. When they stop drinking quickly, their cells shoot off too many electrical signals.
Symptoms start within about 8 hours of the last drink, and they can peak at about 72 hours. You might feel the following:
In serious cases, people begin to hallucinate, and they grow increasingly agitated. In time, you can develop life-threatening seizures.
Alcohol withdrawal treatment aims to help you get sober safely. While Suboxone could help to ease your cravings, it may not be capable of keeping you safe as your brain adjusts to the removal of alcohol.
Enroll in an alcohol detoxification program, and your team will develop a plan just for you. Sometimes, you need medications to amend overactive brain cells.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that can calm your overactive nervous system. Benzodiazepine medications boost GABA levels. The right dose could do the following:
Treatment teams typically administer high doses of benzodiazepines early in your alcohol detox program, and a tapering dose allows you to get sober without experiencing fatal problems. At the end of your detox, you're typically taking no benzodiazepines at all.
When you're done with detoxification, you have no alcohol in your body. But your cravings for a drink may remain. Suboxone may help here.
A landmark study with rats published in 2007 suggested that buprenorphine could be helpful in treating alcoholism, but there is a catch. At low buprenorphine doses, the rats drank more alcohol. But high doses made them drink less. 
People aren't rats, and researchers must learn more about the connection between Suboxone and alcohol. But studies like this suggest that some people could benefit from taking Suboxone to curb their drinking.
A secondary study in humans found positive results with Suboxone. People given the medication drank less, and some stopped drinking altogether.
Suboxone isn't approved as an alcoholism treatment, and people who mix Suboxone and alcohol can experience terrible side effects, including overdose and death. Other approved medications for alcohol use disorder could help you stop drinking without the side effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved four drugs for alcoholism treatment.
If you've tried to stop drinking and can't make the change stick, talk with your doctor about Medication for Addiction Treatment for alcoholism. You may not leave the conversation with a prescription for Suboxone. But you might get the help you need to stay sober for a lifetime.