Behavior different when on suboxone?



My boyfriend is a recovering heroin/opiate addict and had been in long term recovery then slipped a few times. He has done a free inpatient rehab program through the Salvation Army about 3-4 times now. When he got out and moved in with me, things were so amazing between us and we ran into some issues when we let his friend live with us, who is a sex addict. We recently asked him to move out so things have been better. He relapsed recently and must have taken a pill that really scared him because of how he reacted to it. He wanted to try a new way to recover so he decided to look into an outpatient suboxone program. His uncle has been sober 10+ years because of this program and recommended him to it. His body had a hard time adjusting at first because he felt every side effect possible but it’s gotten a little better.

Ever since he’s been on the subs, I feel like he’s been distant. He isolates himself and does things without me at home - we always watch TV or make dinner together and he chooses not to anymore. He is not as affectionate as he used to be. He seems to be going through the motions and says I love you or hugs me or hold my hand, but it feels off.

Has anyone else experienced their partner acting this way on suboxone? Is he depressed? Will it get better?


My husband was clean from heroin for eight years on suboxone. Some huge life transitions caused him to relapse - hard. It was then we realized that his recovery had to include more than just medication. Now his recovery includes therapy, connections with friends and family, healthy hobbies, and medications like suboxone, adderall for his ADHD, and even marijuana.

There are still ups and downs, even with all the things in place. Just a couple months ago he was acting distant. I noticed and brought it up. He said nothing was wrong but then eventually opened up and said he was feeling depressed. We talked about, brought it up in our marriage counseling, discussed triggers and both of our needs, and he’s feeling better. He was able to get through it without using.

Suboxone does not take away depression or any other mental health issues that are causes for the addiction. That’s why in addition to MAT I believe it’s really important to address the underlying issues, so that when anxiety or depression or stress or whatever might trigger drug use comes up again, they have the skills to cope with them in a healthy way rather than go back to old habits of isolation and numbing out to ignore the pain.

Have you communicated any of your fears with boyfriend?


Thanks for your insight @momentsandlight. I have not communicated anything yet. Honestly, I’m afraid to say anything because he’s been extremely irritable lately and I don’t want our conversation to turn into a full blown argument. I’m trying my best to find the right words to say and come up with the best approach. Going to try some of the CRAFT methods that @erica has talked about.

I’m hoping to just ask him if it’s okay to talk about our relationship and then just tell him how I’ve been noticing he’s been distant. I’m just afraid he’ll get defensive with me. I never used to be afraid to communicate but it’s really hard with him. I have to mentally prepare myself for specific conversations with him.


My opinion from personal experience is that when taken properly, Suboxone shouldn’t change someone’s behavior. As we begin to get clean it’s almost like being born again. We start to learn about ourselves; what we like to eat, what interests us, whether we are introverts or extroverts. This beginning phase may be a little awkward for the people around us because they only know us one way.
Like another comment said, Suboxone should only be used in conjunction with therapy, meetings a doctors supervision etc.
Give your loved one time to get to know himself again. If the behavior doesn’t change, when the time is right, have a conversation with him about what you expect from the relationship. He may just want to change up old patterns and habits because his old ones remind him of using. It most likely has nothing to do with you. We are so fragile during the 1st few months. Good Luck.


Does the outpatient program offer any other therapy/counseling or support? Or just prescription to suboxone? My experience with suboxone usage is pretty positive and what your explaining sounds more like a relapse. I don’t mean to be negative by any means and maybe it is just depression, changes and wanting some space to transition. Hoping for the best. But the suboxone when taken correctly has been a blessing in my significant others life.