Vivitrol for Opiate Addiction

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A doctor prescribes you a painkiller so that you can perform your daily activities despite pain while you deal with your degenerative disc disease. While opiates are highly effective for what they were created, stopping pain, they are simultaneously addictive. It only takes about two weeks for the chemicals in opioid pain killers to change the brain’s chemistry, making you think that you cannot live without it. Individuals who use them longer than that, which is more of the typical case, have an even higher likelihood of forming an addiction. With the possibility of overdosing a big threat in the world of opiates, there is still hope to regain control of your life. Opiate and opioid inpatient and outpatient treatment centers commonly use MAT (medication-assisted therapy) to help patients wean off of the potency of illicit heroin and other opiates. The beneficial drugs include methadone, suboxone, and naltrexone (vivitrol).

The overuse of opiates and opioids caused nearly 47,000 overdose deaths in 2018. 67% of all drug overdoses in the United States are from opioids, but there is always time to take advantage of the opioid treatment programs that were designed to help opiate users return to a fulfilling life.

Recovery is not only about removing opioids from the body, it is also about rewiring the brain. Many relapses are observed in opioid addictions and should be considered a normal part of the process; however, finding the most effective combination of therapies is critical to recovery. Those who have gradually become addicted to opiates may feel overwhelmed at the concept of living without them, but there is always hope. It’s never too late to call an opiate addiction treatment facility for help.

What are the differences between opiates and opioids?

The beautiful pink opium poppy is native to Turkey. The milky white liquid that is found in the unripe seed capsule is used to create synthetic opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin. It was domesticated with the only intention being to harvest it as a source of narcotics.  There are only miniscule differences between opiates and opioids, and they produce similar mental and physical effects when they are taken.

What is MAT?

An array of prescription medications have been designed to help fight the opioid epidemic that invades the streets of America. They help opiate addicts fight their addiction. Hope has been given to the population in reducing the number of overdoses from the devastating effects of opiates. There are a variety of medications used to treat alcohol and nicotine dependence as well. They lessen the symptoms and quell the cravings that are so hard to overcome. They decrease the likelihood of relapsing and increase the chances of success. MAT (medication assisted treatment) essentially has proven itself to help decrease:

MAT is not a replacement and not a cure for addiction but is an extremely effective part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes behavioral counseling and other therapies. Vivitrol specifically is not to be started until after detox.

How does Vivitrol (Naltrexone) work?

Opiates attach to the opioid receptors that are located in the central nervous system. This full antagonist blocks the effects of opioids and opiates when it is taken. It does not cause the release of dopamine, is not addictive, and does not lead to physical dependence. Users will not feel the euphoric high anymore or the calming effects either. Vivitrol is perfect for someone who has proven themselves to be on a positive path to remaining sober. Most MAT medications are a daily dose that requires the patient to come in every day to receive the dose, but with Vivitrol, it’s an injection that lasts for about one month. The biggest issue with it is that someone who tries to overcome the blocking effect by increasing dosages of heroin or whatever opiate they are using can overdose. Bypassing it will not work.

Am I just trading one addiction for another?

Individuals who are addicted to opiates will experience forceful cravings and potentially life-threatening symptoms during withdrawal and recovery. To make detox more bearable, increasing the chance of lasting sobriety, certain medications have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of opioid abuse disorders by reducing the intensity of the cravings and the discomfort of withdrawal.

Utilizing these medications also increases the amount of people who choose to stay in treatment. The small dosage of the “replacement” drug does not produce psychoactive effects in someone who is recovering; however, it does its job. It also helps in the long-term to restore the brain’s balance from when the consistent opiate use changed the way it functioned. 

Pain is so uncomfortable that humans are constantly finding ways to prevent or remove it. Pain is the body’s way of alerting you that there is a problem and ridding the body of the means to communicate that issue can cause serious injury and even death. Painkillers also produce a calm that alleviates undesirable thoughts about traumatic circumstances. The problem is that they are not meant to be used for the latter. They are highly addictive, so when the doctor cuts someone off because they either have recovered or need an alternative due to signs of addictions, it can lead to someone going to the streets to find them. This is where they can be laced with deadlier drugs.

Vivitrol was introduced in 2006 to help prevent relapse in opiate use disorders, as well as alcohol use disorders. The previously used medications, methadone and suboxone, were a once a day pill, so Vivitrol gave great motivation and reward to patients who were further along in their journey. Instead of a daily check-in, they only needed a monthly one. Treatment has come a long way and it will keep progressing in its effectiveness so that one day, there will not be such an abundance of opiates on the streets. One by one, Vivitrol and opiate treatments are helping people take the reins back from the drugs that controlled them for so long.