For drug addicts and alcoholics, Vivitrol shots can be a helpful aid in the recovery process. Many doctors and specialists believe it is among the safest medications offered in addiction treatment. Here at Ashwood Recovery, we’ve seen several success stories in prescribing the drug and supporting its use as a recovery tool. It is important to note that Vivitrol, like other addiction medications, is only helpful when combined with other treatment forms.
Recovery, after all, is a holistic process. Vivitrol injections can help the patient overcome certain physical barriers, but the psychological aspects of addiction need to be treated. A person who participates in therapy and counseling while taking treatment medications is far more likely to avoid a relapse in the future. If you’re considering Vivitrol treatment, there are a few things you should know.
What Is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is a product administered to help drug addicts and alcoholics fight against their addiction. The product’s active ingredient is a drug called naltrexone. The drug targets the part of the brain that cravings stem from. Therefore, someone who takes Vivitrol for alcoholism or opiate addiction will find that their cravings are reduced after they take their dose. Unlike some other treatment medications, the drug itself is non-addictive. Although naltrexone is available in several forms, Vivitrol is an injection drug.
While products like Depade and Revia are tablets that the patient ingests once daily, Vivitrol shots are administered in 380 mg doses. Patients receive one extended-release shot per month. The injections are classified as opiate blocker shots. This means that the user can not feel the effects of opiates when the naltrexone is in their system. Many people who take Vivitrol for opiate addiction find that this aspect of the shots helps them stay clean as they work through the initial recovery steps.
At our treatment facility, we only offer naltrexone in injection form. We find that pills are too easy for the patient to forget or decide not to take. By administering Vivitrol shots, our doctors can ensure that patients report to their appointment and receive their dose each month. We don’t offer implants, either. These small chips, which providers install under the patient’s skin, release small amounts of the chemical over a long time. They are helpful for many addicts. However, we find that the risks of naltrexone implants are too high. Monthly Vivitrol shots and a steady schedule of a rehabilitation treatment are, in our opinion, the smoothest path to recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Vivitrol Injections for Opiate Addiction
Vivitrol has been shown to decrease the likelihood of a relapse. However, the opiate blocker shots cannot be administered while the user still has opioids in their system. Rehab patients, therefore, are required to go through the withdrawal process for 7-10 days before they receive their first injection. A doctor or treatment specialist will ensure that the patient has no opioids in their system before they receive an injection. However, a user who mixes naltrexone with other opioids risks precipitated withdrawal syndrome. This condition causes the addict to withdraw much faster than they should and have long-term health consequences.
Vivitrol for Alcoholism
In addition to blocking opioids from reaching the brain, naltrexone prevents endorphins from reaching the opioid receptors as well. This is useful for those struggling with alcohol dependence, as the addiction stems from endorphins. When alcoholics drink, their body releases endorphins into the brain. These endorphins make the person feel euphoric. The addict then wants to continue drinking to continue feeling good. By preventing these endorphins from reaching the brain, then, naltrexone works to separate the feeling of pleasure from the alcohol itself. While taking Vivitrol and drinking it is not deadly, the user will find that they don’t experience any of the pleasurable aspects of alcohol. However, if the individual does drink, they may still find that they experience the negative effects of alcohol (nausea, vomiting, impaired coordination, etc.). Over time, this helps to eliminate the desire to drink booze.
Vivitrol Injection Side Effects
Although most users report that they feel normal with naltrexone in their system, others report experiencing unwanted side effects. Some common side effects of Vivitrol include:
- Anxiety or restlessness
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Decreased sexual functions
Some of these side effects are common for addicts to feel after withdrawals. Since the user has become accustomed to heroin, morphine, or other opiates in their system, the body can feel uncomfortable and sore as it adjusts to life without those drugs. If you take Vivitrol and are experiencing any negative side effects, make sure to speak with your doctor.
You can’t overdose on Vivitrol itself, but there are still risks involved in taking the drug because naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors. Some users want to get a high response by taking too much heroin or prescription pain pills. This is dangerous as the user runs the risk of overdosing. Similarly, addicts who stop using opiates while on Vivitrol will lose their tolerance for those drugs. If they happen to relapse, they will not be able to take the amount of heroin they’re accustomed to taking. This can also result in an overdose. Other risks associated with Vivitrol injections include skin infections (an adverse reaction to the needle) and liver damage (when the user has preexisting liver problems).
Discover How Can Vivitrol Help You with Drug or Alcohol Addiction at Ashwood Recovery
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol dependence or opiate addiction, Vivitrol injections might help. One of the most important aspects of recovery, after all, is fighting off cravings during those first few sober months. Of course, making it through withdrawal and pushing the cravings aside is only one step toward a drug-free life. Long-term sobriety requires hard work and commitment. It’s important to remember that naltrexone and other drugs can only help with the physical aspects of addiction. Addressing the psychological aspects of addiction will require some intense self-examination through therapy and addiction counseling. Therefore, an addict who uses Vivitrol as part of a larger rehabilitation program is far more likely to stay off drugs and alcohol in the future.
Reach out to Ashwood Recovery today by calling 208.274.8609 to learn more.