How Vivitrol Stops Cravings And Aids In Recovery From Opioid and Alcohol Addiction

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How Vivitrol Stops Cravings And Aids In Recovery From Opioid and Alcohol Addiction
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Last Updated on December 15, 2021 by Randy Withers, LCMHC

In the United States, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to struggle to overcome drug and alcohol use. Many individuals and families continue to be adversely affected by addiction.

While there are dozens of different drugs that are addictive, the two most dangerous and prevalent are alcohol and opioids.

Opioids are a type of narcotic medication which includes heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers like oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and others. They are all highly addictive.

How Vivitrol Stops Cravings And Aids In Recovery From Opioid and Alcohol Addiction
How Vivitrol Stops Cravings And Aids In Recovery From Opioid and Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is more widely abused as it is easier to obtain, legal, and less expensive. For many alcoholics, what began with social drinking on the weekends eventually became a pattern of chronic, nonstop abuse.

Opioid and alcohol addictions impair your ability to function in all areas of your life, but that’s not the only consequence you’ll face. 

Opioids and alcohol can kill you.

In 2018, opioids were implicated in over 68% of the 4,698 documented drug overdose deaths in Florida, accounting for 3,189 deaths. And in 2019, a survey found that there were around 4,029 to 5,385 alcohol-related deaths in the state.

If you or anyone you know has an addiction to opioids or alcohol, you need to get help. You don’t want to be part of these morbid statistics, and you deserve to live without the torture of active addiction.

The good news is that there are evidenced-based ways for opioid addicts and alcoholics to kick their addictions and restore their health.

A prescription medication called Vivitrol is an effective way out of alcohol or opioid addiction. In this article, you will learn about this effective medication-assisted treatment and how it can help an addict recover.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a brand of naltrexone, which is a medication used to assist persons recovering from an opioid or alcohol addiction in staying abstinent.

It is a non-addictive and non-narcotic opioid blocker that must be administered by a healthcare provider. It is given once a month via injection and used with counseling and other forms of support.

Other naltrexone formulations are available as oral tablets, but Vivitrol is given as an intramuscular injection once a month. It’s a naltrexone extended-release formulation. 

This medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is given to those who have already undergone detoxification. And the treatment is usually done 7-14 days of maintained abstinence from opioids or alcohol.

This MAT medicine works by blocking the pleasure and sedation that opioids and alcohol can produce – you will have no cravings.

Vivitrol, like other naltrexone medicines, is an opioid receptor antagonist used to treat opioid addiction and alcoholism

How Vivitrol Works

Intoxicating chemicals such as alcohol and opioids release endorphins, which make a person feel good. 

Vivitrol prevents endorphins from connecting to their receptors in patients treated for alcohol or opioid use disorders, putting an end to the pleasurable feeling associated with being intoxicated or high.

As a result, the desire to drink or take opioids progressively fades away. And those who continue to use will eventually stop, since it no longer provides any benefits.

Participating in a Vivitrol MAT will allow you to get and stay sober.

Why Vivitrol?

Consider this 6-month study on post-detoxification opioid addicts.

Following opioid detoxification, 124 opioid-dependent patients treated with placebo and counseling were compared to 126 opioid-dependent patients treated with Vivitrol and counseling. 

The results were as follows.

  • From weeks 5 to 24, 45 out of 126 Vivitrol patients experienced total abstinence, compared to 28 of 124 placebo patients.
  • In comparison to 17 patients on placebo, only 1 patient on Vivitrol discontinued the MAT because of relapse.
  • Vivitrol patients had a lower risk of relapsing into dependency.
  • When rating cravings, from 1-100, patients on Vivitrol had an average craving score of 10.1, while the placebo group had an average score of 18.2.
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Why use Vivitrol injections instead of other naltrexone medications like tablets?

There are naltrexone tablets or pills that recovering addicts can use to sustain sobriety. For example, there is Naltrexone Hydrochloride that patients should use daily.

But patients have to remember and be willing to take the tablets every day. This was one of the biggest issues with daily naltrexone dosing. 

With Vivitrol injections from a doctor, erratic use of naltrexone is a non-issue. Medication adherence is less of a problem in a treatment plan that includes a once-a-month shot.

VIVITROL for Opioid Dependence and Alcohol Addiction. Courtesy, YouTube.

How can a Vivitrol Doctor help?

A Vivitrol Doctor is any general practitioner who prescribes and administers Vivitrol injections to recovering opioid or alcohol addicts.

First and foremost, you cannot obtain Vivitrol injections without a prescription. This MAT medicine must be administered in the clinic.

You will have to be enrolled at an outpatient center where a Vivitrol doctor administers the injection. You are not allowed by law to inject your own Vivitrol.

Like any drug, when you wrongly use Vivitrol, you can have adverse consequences.

For example, sudden opioid withdrawal is a significant adverse effect of Vivitrol.

This is why it is vital that before starting the MAT, you must cease using any opioids or opioid-containing drugs, such as buprenorphine or methadone, for at least 7 to 14 days.

However, there are instances when the doctor decides that a patient doesn’t need to detox first. In that case, they may prescribe Vivitrol in a medical institution that specializes in treating rapid opioid withdrawal.

Sudden opiate withdrawal can be dangerous, and it’s possible you’ll need to go to the hospital while you do. 

The bottom line is that doctors help keep you safe.

Your Vivitrol doctor will ensure everything is safe for you, making sure you are ready for treatment and aren’t allergic to the medication.

With a doctor, you can ensure that you get the right doses and that the medication will work to benefit you.

How can I find a Vivitrol Doctor?

There is a MAT program that can help you no matter where you reside.

Opioid and alcohol addictions are rampant across America, but Florida is particularly hard-hit. In fact, it is the second-leading state for overdose deaths.

So using Florida as an example, one of the things you can do is reach out to a facility like South Florida Recovery Center. Their MAT program is world-renowned. You can visit their website to learn more.

Final Thoughts

It’s time to live better, feel better.

If you or anyone you know is searching for a sustainable way out of addiction from opioids or alcohol, Vivitrol MAT is one of the best things you can consider.

It can help you keep sober after detox or rehab, and enable you to live a more comfortable life without drugs.

Online Alcohol Treatment On Your Terms

With personalized online alcohol treatment, drinking will become less important to you. You can make a change, and we’re here to help.

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Randy Withers, LCMHC

Randy Withers, LCMHC is a Board-Certified and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at a private practice in North Carolina where he specializes in co-occurring disorders. He has masters degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Education from Florida State University, and is the managing editor of Blunt Therapy. He writes about mental health, therapy, and addictions. In his spare time, you can find him watching reruns of Star Trek: TNG with his dog. Connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also see what he writes about on Medium.

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