Vivitrol Treatment in Nashville

Michelle Rosenker

August 1, 2019

A substance use disorder affects all kinds of people, regardless of race, gender, financial class, or sexual orientation. It can be downright painful to witness someone is struggling with this disease.

Addiction can take everything from a person and leave him or her with no family or friends or even a home to live in. A person can lose all of his or her money and even find it impossible to obtain a job. Often, all that is left in the rubble of addiction are the drugs themselves.

With approximately 50,000 Americans dying each year due to opioid overdoses, and nearly 88,000 alcohol-related deaths every year, there has never been more of a need to address our ongoing addiction crisis.

One of the very best ways to help those who are currently addicted is professional treatment. Professional treatment can not only expose those in need to therapy, but also introduce them to specific medications capable of helping manage the symptoms that develop after the substance abuse has ended.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a prescription injectable medicine used to treat alcohol dependence and prevent relapse to opioid dependence after detox. It is only effective when used with other alcohol or drug recovery programs such as counseling or individual or group therapy.

The active ingredient in Vivitrol is naltrexone, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a medication to relieve symptoms of alcohol and opioid withdrawal.

Vivitrol is an antagonist, otherwise known as a blocking medication, that creates a barrier the blocks opioid molecules from attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors. The antagonist attaches to opioid receptors but does not cause the release of dopamine. (Dopamine functions in the brain as a neurotransmitter, playing a major chemical role in the kind of reward-motivated behavior involved in alcohol dependence and opioid addiction.) Because they block the release of dopamine, antagonists are non-addictive and do not lead to any sort of physical dependence.

Vivitrol is injected by a licensed healthcare provider, once per month. The injection goes into a muscle in the hind quarters via a special needle that is included with the medicine. It is important that people receiving Vivitrol injections do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until they know how exactly it is affecting them, since the medicine can make a person feel dizzy or sleepy.

VivitrolBenefits of Vivitrol Treatment in Nashville

Clients who receive Vivitrol treatment in Nashville, and who follow a specific Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) plan, are likely to see several benefits from this medication. Above all else, Vivitrol has been found effective in controlling cravings for further opioid or alcohol abuse.

This is a huge benefit, as one of the most common reasons for relapse in the early stages of recovery is cravings. For some, cravings can become so overwhelming that they feel they have no choice but to give in. Plus, patients often find it difficult to overcome cravings since they have yet to develop the skills needed to manage so many triggers. However, when taking Vivitrol, the client will feel far less intense cravings, allowing for a stronger focus on other areas of treatment.

Additional benefits of Vivitrol treatment in Nashville include:

  • Increased ability to continue to participate in everyday activities such as school or work
  • Added advantage of only having to obtain medication once a month rather than on a daily basis
  • Improves the likelihood of long-term recovery
  • Reduces the chances of relapse if and when a client decides to stop taking it.

As with many diseases and mental illnesses, just taking medication and doing nothing else to improve the situation is typically ineffective. In order for Vivitrol to work to its greatest capacity, clients must also include therapy into their overall treatment plan.

Risks of Vivitrol

A 2017 study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) compared the effectiveness of buprenorphine against that of naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol.

While naltrexone was found to be equally as effective as buprenorphine, once treatment begins, starting a naltrexone regimen is more complicated because it requires a longer detox period—as much as one week, in some cases. That much time can mean the difference between a successful recovery and relapse.

Of course, Vivitrol isn’t right for everyone living with addiction. There are significant risks from the treatment, especially as it related to opioid addiction recovery, including the risk of opioid overdose and sudden opioid withdrawal. Other risks include possibly severe reactions at the point of injection, such as scabbing, swelling, or intense pain.

Anyone who receives a Vivitrol injection must for up to 14 days not use any type of opioid, including:

  • street drugs like heroin
  • prescription painkillers
  • cough, cold, or diarrhea medicines that contain opioids
  • other opioid dependence treatments like methadone or buprenorphine.

Otherwise, the Vivitrol injection could cause the patient to experience symptoms of opioid withdrawal so intense that a hospital visit is required.

Another risk of using Vivitrol is liver damage or hepatitis. Naltrexone has been shown to cause this sort of damage, with symptoms like stomach pain and exhaustion.

The more serious side effects of Vivitrol include depression, an allergic reaction that can cause pneumonia, and other allergic reactions such as chest pain, skin rash, or trouble breathing. Less serious side effects of Vivitrol treatment include nausea, sleepiness, headache, muscle cramps, and decreased appetite.

Get Professional Vivitrol Treatment in Nashville with JourneyPure

At JourneyPure Nashville, we understand how hard it can be to admit you have a problem and ask for help. We want you to know that we can help. Our team of devoted, compassionate, and experienced professionals can help make your alcoholism a thing of the past and help build a future worth living for.

Do not wait any longer. If you or someone you love is battling alcoholism, reach out to us. We can help.