Does Subutex Help With Depression?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 14, 2021

Subutex (buprenorphine) has been shown to help improve depression in people with opioid dependence who also have treatment-resistant depression. Use of Subutex may help reduce depression in people formerly addicted to opioids.

Can Subutex Help With Depression?

Subutex is an opioid addiction medication that may help with anxiety and depression when taken as a part of a medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

Research shows that people who develop substance use issues are more likely to have psychiatric issues compared to the general population. This includes mental health conditions like depression.

While Subutex isn’t classified as an antidepressant, some research suggests that Subutex’s effects on the brain may help reduce depression in people with opioid dependence.

Learn more about the benefits of taking Subutex during medication-assisted treatment.

Subutex And Depression: What’s The Connection?

Subutex, also known as buprenorphine, is a medication that is capable of treating opioid withdrawal symptoms, including opioid cravings and low mood.

Strong cravings for opioids and other physiological symptoms of withdrawal can make a person feel anxious and depressed.

By treating these symptoms, Subutex may help improve mental health.

According to some studies, Subutex treatment may help:

  • treat symptoms of depression
  • reduce irritability
  • reduce suicidal thoughts
  • reduce incidents of self-injury

A primary reason Subutex is believed to help with depression is its antagonistic effects on the kappa receptor, which is a type of opiate receptor in the brain.

By blocking this receptor, researchers believe Subutex can effectively function as an antidepressant, by addressing the kappa overactivity commonly associated with PAWS.

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Seeking Treatment For Opioid Addiction Can Help Depression

Beyond its effects on the brain, Subutex treatment can also help with depression as part of a comprehensive treatment program for opioid abuse and addiction.

Getting treatment for drug addiction can help a person begin to heal physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Within a rehab program, depression can be addressed either as a consequence of a person’s substance abuse, or as an independent, co-occurring mental health disorder.

Identifying the root causes of a person’s depression, and addressing them during the treatment process, can help improve mental health and reduce depression in addiction recovery.

Subutex And Depression FAQs

Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Subutex and depression.

❓ Can Buprenorphine Make You Depressed?

✔️ Depression can occur while taking Subutex, but it is not a common side effect.

Feeling depressed while taking Subutex is more likely to stem from other contributing causes, such as:

  • opioid withdrawal
  • major depressive disorder
  • malnutrition
  • other sources of stress

❓ Can You Take An Antidepressant With Subutex?

✔️ Subutex can interact with several types of antidepressant medications, including SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclic depressants, and MAO inhibitors.

Before taking Subutex or an antidepressant medication, make sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications, supplements, or vitamins you are currently taking.

❓ Does Subutex Affect Serotonin?

✔️ Taking Subutex with other drugs that act on serotonin, such as SSRIs, can lead to the development of serotonin syndrome, a potentially serious health condition.

Taken alone, Subutex is not known to have major effects on serotonin levels in the brain. If someone does develop symptoms of serotonin syndrome, medical treatment may be required.

Find Dual Diagnosis Treatment For Opioid Addiction And Depression

Millions of people in the United States live with depression and struggle with substance abuse.

If you or a loved one has co-occurring depression and opioid addiction, we can help you find a treatment program that’s right for you.

Call our helpline today for more information about Subutex treatment and how to find a treatment program for opioid addiction at a rehab center near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 14, 2021
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