Until recently, alcoholism was much more deadly than it is today. In the old times, when an alcoholic would become physically dependent on alcohol, they would have a little relief from the impending symptoms of withdrawal that were inevitable once the booze ran dry. Hence alcoholics would rarely get sober and opt to stay drunk rather than go through the pain of detox. Luckily for us today, there are many options for the alcoholic who wishes to get clean. No longer do they have to do it on their own; science has its back. Vivitrol is one of those drugs that are greatly beneficial to alcoholics/opiate addicts who wish to get their life back on track. The following article is a resource for you about any questions you might have about Vivitrol, alcoholism, and recovery from addiction.
What is Vivitrol and How Does It Work?
Vivitrol (also known as Naltrexone) is a once-a-month injection used to treat opiate and alcohol dependency. The drug is injected intramuscularly by a healthcare provider and is effective for about 30 days. Vivitrol works by attaching itself to the opioid receptors, which produce dopamine when opium or alcohol is introduced. Thus, taking Naltrexone reduces the euphoria (or high feeling) of opiates or alcohol because the receptors are already filled with the drug. The idea is that with this perceived benefit out of the picture, the user will have much less incentive to continue with their alcoholism or addiction.
How Is Vivitrol Different From Other Drugs Used to Reduce Opiate Addiction?
There are other drugs such as Antabuse and Suboxone that effectively do the same thing as Vivitrol. But these drugs have to be taken every day. And when dealing with addiction, it’s sometimes hard to enforce adherence. For example, if an addict is truly set on getting high or drunk that day, they could skip a dose. But Vivitrol, the drug, is a once-a-month injection. So once the dose has been given, it can’t be un-given. As a result, the euphoric effects from getting high or drunk will be greatly reduced during the entire month.
How Effective Is Vivitrol in Keeping People Sober?
Even though some patients won’t get as high or drunk while using Vivitrol, some still drink or use drugs while on it. The urge to fix it is simply overwhelming. But studies have shown that taking Vivitrol is much more effective than doing nothing at all. According to the National Institute of Health in regards to a study of opiate addicts who took Naltrexone for 24 weeks:
…50.9% of patients were opiate free at the end of the year. (NIH)
Are There Any Dangers When Taking Vivitrol?
Since the river trail is an aggressive anti-opiate, The drug could be dangerous if taken with opiates in the system. If this were to happen, the drug would send the patient into what’s called acute withdrawal syndrome, where the symptoms of opiate detox are intensified and exaggerated. Therefore, it’s always extremely important that one be completely free of opiates before getting their injection. And just because Vivitrol reduces the euphoric effects of alcohol doesn’t mean that alcohol won’t get your body drunk. You are drinking excessive amounts of alcohol even while on Vivitrol will affect your body. Motor skills and judgment will be affected, and you could still get a DUI.
Is Vivitrol Right for Me or My Loved One?
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, the first step is to receive treatment. For example, we offer medical detox, residential rehab, and dual diagnosis. The drug is only given to someone with certified addiction counseling. If you think this might be you or someone you know, contact Evoke Wellness MA today. We have an addiction specialist that is here to help you on your path to sobriety and answer any question you have. Our specialists are available around the clock and all calls are free and confidential.