Vivitrol, also known as naltrexone, is a form of medication that is used in Medication-Assisted Treatment to block the effects of opioid drugs. This means that if you’re taking Vivitrol, and use an opioid, you won’t feel any pain relief or feelings of euphoria. People usually get an injection of Vivitrol while they are also in drug treatment. This allows them to focus on their recovery and not any uncomfortable, longer-term withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
More recently, Vivitrol injection has also been used to treat alcoholism by reducing the urge to drink. Some people have been able to maintain long-term sobriety, although this type of treatment is still in its beginning stages. The drug should always be coupled with drug and alcohol treatment to be most effective.
How Does Vivitrol Prevent Relapse?
Vivitrol injection is used to prevent relapse for people in recovery from an opioid use disorder. It isn’t meant to help people begin detox; it’s given after a withdrawal period to prevent future cravings. Most people get the shot after they have been entirely sober for two weeks or more. For people who drink, Naltrexone helps reduce cravings but it cannot be used with a person who has alcohol in their system.
Vivitrol makes it easier for people who have started on their recovery journey to continue. Opioids are an especially addictive substance and have a high relapse rate, even for those who have detoxed completely. Vivitrol helps calm cravings for opioids or alcohol. It also blocks the effects of drugs – so if you get high, there won’t be any “reward” or elation.
Vivitrol injections are meant to be used as a part of a complete treatment program. Without behavior modification and therapy, few people achieve long-term sobriety. Vivitrol helps lessen the intensity of a desire to use, giving a person “breathing space” between their addiction cravings and their desire for recovery.
How Is It Taken?
The drug itself is typically injected and can be taken once a month. Some people prefer a daily pill, which is also available. Once they have acclimated to the drug, there is a maintenance dose required to continue to prevent cravings.
A doctor will typically be the one who prescribes and administers your prescription. Treatment centers also have trained medical professionals that can do this for you.
Getting Help for Addiction
Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, has severe effects on the body, mind, and spirit. We want you to know that you don’t have to get high anymore if you don’t want to! There are hope and help available to help you reclaim your life and begin a journey to recovery. Contact us for more information on our Medication-Assisted Treatment options at 619-383-4767.
Suboxone, also known by the drug’s generic name, buprenorphine, is a drug that is used to help people with opioid use disorder get and stay sober. Often it is an integral part of Medication-Assisted Treatment programs. This type of treatment includes medication as well as therapy and behavior modification. This helps people make the life changes necessary to achieve long-term sobriety.
MAT is underutilized in the treatment industry, but it is vital for opioid use disorder. Studies show that it is an important and exciting tool for people addicted to opioids. In fact, without MAT, at least 90% of OUD patients will relapse. When people are using medication like Suboxone to aid their recovery, their chances for relapse or overdose is just 50%.
How Does Suboxone Work?
Buprenorphine helps people get sober from opioid addiction through a couple of functions. For one thing, Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it partially activates the opioid receptor. The drug also suppresses withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings.
Unlike some of the other medications used for similar purposes, buprenorphine doesn’t cause severe side effects or euphoria. It is a long-lasting medication that helps the person’s system that is only needed once a day.
How Long Does a Person Take Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is a drug that is safe and doesn’t cause harmful side effects for most people. Doctors tend to view the drug as similar to other drugs for mental health disorders – some people will probably need to take it for years or even for life to ward off opioid cravings. It is not addictive and does not get the user high. It helps stop the nasty withdrawal effects, and compulsion to use.
People don’t develop a tolerance for the medication, but it can have interactions with other drugs. A physician or other qualified medical staff will help determine if Suboxone is a good fit. They can also help a person with an opioid use disorder to determine the length of time they may need to use the medication.
Getting Help for Addiction
Medication-Assisted Treatment works, study after study shows. But you need a provider that is willing to prescribe it and help you plot your next steps to stay in recovery. Learn more about our options, and how we can help by calling us at 619-363-4767.
Addiction is not a one-size-fits all experience. Some people get clean and sober after months while others don’t find recovery for years. Everyone’s journey is different, which is why when withdrawing from drugs, different people experience different symptoms as well as different levels of those symptoms.
Opioids are highly addictive drugs. Withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, which is why outside help is usually required when a person detoxes from them entirely.
To help people who work in detox settings, the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale was created to help them assess each individual’s need and make them as comfortable as possible during detox. There are 11 signs and symptoms of withdrawal included on the scale.
The withdrawal symptoms that are assessed by COWS are as follows:
- Resting pulse rate: Many people have high pulse rates when withdrawaing from opioids. This is monitored regularly. The resting pulse of 80 lower is given a “0” on the scale. A resting pulse of 120 or higher is given a score of five, which means that a person is experiencing more intense symptoms.
- Sweating: Some people have a “cold sweat” or a feverish sweat, while some people experience nothing.
- Restlessness: A person may be unable to sit still, acting restless and moving their legs or knees a lot, even when sitting.
- Yawning: The clients may yawn a lot, even if they don’t appear tired.
- Tremors/trembling: Some people have the shakes while others don’t.
- Gastrointestinal issues: Vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle cramps are assessed.
- Pupils: Pupils may be dilated or appear pin-sized when exposed to light.
- Goosebumps: Some people get goosebumps on their flesh while in withdrawal. Although it’s not uncomfortable, it’s a telltale sign of withdrawal in opioid patients.
- Anxiety/irritability – Some people have mood swings that include severe anxiety or irritability.
- Bone/joint pain: A person may have a small amount or severe amount of this type of pain in their joints. Some people constantly change their position because of the pain.
- Water eyes and nose: Some people experience watery eyes and runny nose, similar to symptoms of a cold. Some people will say they feel like they have the flu.
The Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale is an 11-point scale that helps people who work with addicted clients assess the level of withdrawal. Each of the above measures is graded from 0-5 on a scale, then the total is added up at the end.
These symptoms are measured in order to help plan a person’s first steps in recovery and help them feel as comfortable as possible. The scale doesn’t rate or grade how much of a substance has been used, it simply shows how uncomfortable a client is. It also helps workers in some situations decide if a clients needs medication-assisted treatment.
Getting Help for Opioid Addiction
Opioids are highly addicted, and few people can get clean and sober from them on their own. We help people with addictions reclaim their lives and understand their substance abuse disorder, learning to live with it one day at a time. Give yourself a chance! Call us at 1-619-363-4767 to learn more about your recovery options.
When you first get clean, your body and mind have to make some serious adjustments. Usually, a person who has a substance abuse disorder will go through a short detox program to help them get started out in the world clean and sober. Because detoxing is often uncomfortable and can even, in some cases, be dangerous, it’s important to complete a detox round before entering treatment. However, for many people in recovery, detox doesn’t end after a few weeks. Many people experience something called PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) once they have been clean for a few months, although some people report symptoms up to 18 months after initially getting clean and sober.
PAWS is normal and doesn’t have acute, painful symptoms like the initial detox they completed. Instead, it can cause some noticeable issues in your daily life that can upset you or just make you feel “run down”. It’s important to know that this, too, is normal.
Once a drug is removed from an addicted person’s life, many people believe the journey from addiction is over. This is a common misconception that can make it difficult for a recovering person to move forward or even lead to relapse. PAWS is a secondary, more subtle phase of withdrawal that is initiated after a few months. It’s normal and believed to simply be your body and mind’s way of adjusting to your clean and sober life. After all, you didn’t become addicted overnight. Getting and staying clean can’t happen overnight, either, as much as everyone wishes it could. That's why people continue to work a recovery program once they get clean.
While not as intense as acute withdrawal, post-acute withdrawal can be frustrating and upsetting. Learning more about what is going on with your body is important so that you can start to cope with these symptoms.
PAWS symptoms can vary depending on the drugs you used and how long you used them. Here are some common symptoms of it:
- Quick to anger, exhibiting hostility
- Panic attacks, general anxiety/fear
- Mood swings
- Extreme fatigue or exhaustion unrelated to daily activities
- Feeling blue or depressed
- “Brain fog” and having trouble with concentration
- Low sex drive
- Trouble thinking or remembering things
- Overreacting to stress and other emotions
Most people in recovery experience at least a few of these symptoms, but if you feel overwhelmed with them regularly, it’s important to see your doctor for a mental health screening. Many people in recovery discover they have been self-medicating a mental health disorder. Getting help for it can help increase your quality of life and make you healthier all-around.
Getting Help for Substance Abuse
Are you struggling with a substance use disorder but don’t know where to start? Help is available and it’s completely confidential. Please give us a call today at 1-619-363-4767 to learn more about your options and how you can heal.