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How do I deal with anxiety from opiate withdrawal?

Suboxone treatment helps to eliminate all symptoms of opioid withdrawal, including anxiety.

When the body is without the opioids it is used to, all the opioid receptors in our brains are empty which can experience a number of symptoms, including increased anxiety. Suboxone binds to those empty receptors and fills them up as a substitute for the opioids that used to be there. This helps to prevent the symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety.

Another medication, Clonidine, is also often used either with or without Suboxone to reduce anxiety, particularly at first when a patient is detoxing for opioids. Clonidine is an alpha 2 agonist. It binds to alpha 2 receptors in the brain which are responsible for "calming down" the body's sympathetic nervous system, including anxiety. In addition, behavioral therapy, mind-body relaxation techniques, yoga, acupuncture, and other modalities have been shown to be useful for withdrawal-related anxiety.

Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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