The Opioid Crisis and Vivitrol Treatment
Opioid addiction has reached crisis levels in the U.S. In 2016, more than 2 million people in the country were suffering from opioid addiction, and more than 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses.1 These numbers may be even higher today.
The statistics on alcohol addiction are equally alarming. Nearly 13% of the U.S. population is suffering from alcoholism (alcohol use disorder), according to a 2017 study, and an estimated 88,000 people die every year from alcohol-related causes.2,3 This is a nationwide problem—from the shores of New Jersey to the sun-drenched beaches of California.
Drug and alcohol treatment often requires a multi-pronged approach. Breaking the cycle of addiction may require a combination of detox, counseling, and—in some cases—medical interventions, including medications to help combat withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to opioids or alcohol, a Vivitrol treatment program may help.
What Is Vivitrol?
Also known as naltrexone, Vivitrol is a non-addictive treatment that has helped many people overcome their addiction to opioids and alcohol when used in conjunction with counseling. Vivitrol is meant to be used after—not during—detox. It’s not designed to be used for in-the-moment cravings, and it’s not a daily treatment. Rather, Vivitrol is an extended-release drug that is given just once a month (via intramuscular injection) to help prevent relapse.
How Does Vivitrol Work?
Vivitrol works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain. This helps minimize both cravings and the effects of the drugs themselves. To understand how Vivitrol works, it helps to understand how opioid drugs affect the brain.
Our bodies create natural opioids, which help block pain and calm us down. However, the body can’t produce enough natural opioids to stop severe or chronic pain. Opioid drugs (such as Oxycontin and Vicodin) are designed to help combat chronic and severe pain that the body can’t manage on its own.
However, they can easily be misused. This is because the chemical structure of opioid drugs mimics natural transmitters in the brain, which fools receptors and allows the drugs to lock on and activate nerve cells. The drugs cause the brain to release a flood of dopamine, which overstimulates the brain’s reward system and produces euphoric effects. The more a person misuses the drugs, the more the brain learns to repeat the drug-seeking behavior.
Vivitrol works to combat this cycle by creating molecules that bind to opioid receptors in the brain and block the release of dopamine.
What are the Side Effects of Vivitrol?
Vivitrol injections are done intramuscularly, which in itself can cause pain and soreness, among other things. The side effects of Vivitrol range from mild to severe, but most side effects tend to go away on their own over time. If you or someone you know experiences side effects that don’t subside over time, contact a healthcare professional to discuss treatment options for those side effects.
Mild to moderate side effects of Vivitrol include:
- Joint pain
- Injection site pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight gain/loss
- Chest pain
In rare cases, those who undergo Vivitrol treatment can develop depression, which can bring about symptoms such as:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Feelings of helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Seemingly random crying spells
Whether it’s a severe injection site reaction, or newly onset symptoms of depression, don’t take moderate to severe side effects of Vivitrol treatment lightly. Get in contact with your healthcare provider as quickly as possible so that you can get the treatment you need.
How Long Does the Vivitrol Shot Last?
The exact length of time that Vivitrol will be detecable in your system varies from person to person. This is based on several factors, like metabolism, age, gender, weight, medical history, and more.
Typically, given that the injection is intramuscular, the medication is in your system for a fair amount of time. Vivitrol is designed as a slow-release medication, lasting in the body for about a month. On average, the concentration of the medication will begin to wane around two weeks. For most people undergoing the treatment, a shot will be given every 28 days.
Vivitrol May Work for You or Your Loved One
Prescription medications have been used successfully for years in the course of treatment for alcohol and opioid addiction—Campral for alcohol detox and Suboxone for opioid addiction are two examples—but, while these drugs help to address struggles during and immediately after detox, Vivitrol helps over the longer term.
Vivitrol is designed to be used after detox is complete (7-14 days of sobriety are typically required for a person to begin doses). It helps people stay clear-headed during the vulnerable initial stages of recovery by diminishing the desire to use.
A double-blind study involving two groups—one that used Vivitrol plus counseling for opioid addiction, the other that used a placebo plus counseling—found that those treated with Vivitrol were 17 times less likely to relapse due to physical dependence than the placebo group. The Vivitrol group also had significantly reduced cravings, and they stayed in treatment longer.
Rehabilitation With Vivitrol
BlueCrest Recovery Center in New Jersey offers world-class care for people suffering from opioid abuse or alcohol addiction. In conjunction with counseling, support groups, and other services, Vivitrol can help.
We offer both a traditional outpatient program and an intensive outpatient program (IOP) at our outpatient treatment center for those who have completed detox. The highly trained staff at our addiction recovery center is focused on providing personalized care designed to address each person’s unique needs. Our services complement medical treatments and can include:
- Medication management (which can include Vivitrol)
- Individual and group therapy sessions
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, we can help. Please call 888.292.9652 to learn more about our drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in New Jersey.
Wellness Begins at BlueCrest Recovery Center
If you or someone you know could benefit from our Vivitrol Treatment Program in NJ, please contact our team right away to discuss possible treatments, scheduling, and more. We’ll happily walk you through the process, answer any questions you may have, and more. Don’t hesitate to take your first step on the path to recovery, or to help someone close to you take their first step. Begin your journey towards wellness now.