Alcohol use disorder is a condition that directly impacts more than 15 million people in the United States. When actively drinking, alcoholics can struggle with a series of complications ranging from issues in their personal relationships and problems at work to physical health complications and financial woes. There is no doubt that an alcoholic suffers countless consequences as a result of their addiction. But when it is time to get sober, it can seem like those consequences may disappear. Unfortunately, that is not fully true.
Those alcoholics who are dependent on alcohol will experience some painful repercussions of their past use when they start the process of detox. That is because the body has adjusted to the presence of alcohol in the system, so when alcohol is no longer being consumed, the body responds by producing a number of withdrawal symptoms. Common withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detox can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Powerful cravings
Alcohol detox can be fatal if some symptoms develop and persist. Thankfully, with the right professional care, alcohol detox can be done safely. One of the resources used within professional treatment centers for those going through alcohol detox is Vivitrol.
What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is the brand name for the generic naltrexone. While naltrexone can be consumed orally via a pill, Vivitrol refers specifically to the injectable version of the medication. As a medication-assisted treatment, it can be injected once monthly in patients who struggle with opioid use disorder or alcohol use disorder.
So what does Vivitrol do? Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist, meaning that it completely blocks the opioid receptors in the brain. The opioid receptors get triggered when alcohol is consumed, producing the effect of being under the influence. Without the presence of alcohol, however, the brain essentially shorts out and begins trying to readjust. This is what causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings to occur. But, when Vivitrol is in the mix, the overpowering desire to keep drinking alcohol is minimized because it stops the opioid receptors from producing that continued urge to use.
Vivitrol, however, cannot be used until a person has completely detoxed from alcohol. That means that a person’s body must be cleared of alcohol before receiving their first injection of Vivitrol. If Vivitrol is administered prior to detox completing, withdrawal symptoms can develop and worsen. But, by the time detox is complete and a person is free of alcohol in their system, Vivitrol can be included in their care plan and start helping control their cravings.
Benefits of Vivitrol for Alcohol
Vivitrol most often comes up in conversation where methadone and buprenorphine are being discussed, as Vivitrol is also effective in aiding in the treatment of opioid use disorder. However, studies have shown that Vivitrol works just as effectively in those recovering from alcohol use disorder, giving them an extra tool to utilize in their recovery.
Vivitrol and the use of it can be beneficial for those recovering from alcohol use disorder in the following ways:
- Vivitrol, unlike other medications used to treat dependence and cravings, cannot be abused. That is because when the opioid receptors are being blocked, no high or feelings of being under the influence can occur. Other medication for other types of substance use disorders can be abused and lead to dependence, which is why Vivitrol is an ideal choice.
- Vivitrol helps to prevent cravings from becoming overpowering. In some instances, it can help reduce the urge to drink again by nearly 100%. This is a major benefit, as cravings can be highly distracting when attempting to develop a solid standing in recovery. Having regular cravings can interfere with a person’s concentration and listening skills, as well as make a person irritable and even combative. There is no space for lack of focus and combative behavior when in recovery, as becoming preoccupied with those actions detracts from one’s success.
- Vivitrol reduces the risk of relapse in the future. Because it is so effective in controlling cravings, patients are able to utilize this medication at a time when they are most vulnerable to relapsing. So, while Vivitrol is taking care of cravings, patients can focus on developing the skills needed to keep from using in the future. By the time they are able to hone these skills, they will be able to manage cravings without the use of Vivitrol.
- Vivitrol does not typically produce unpleasant side effects, making it an ideal option for someone who is working on restoring their body back to normal health. Knowing that a medication can produce painful side effects can deter a person from utilizing it. But, because Vivitrol is known for being easy on the system, more people are inclined to include it in their treatment. And, when someone takes Vivitrol, their odds of remaining in recovery increase.
It is recommended for a patient to take six months to a full year’s worth of injections to achieve the maximum benefit from Vivitrol. Injections can be obtained through a healthcare professional and only need to be administered once every 30 days, as it is a long-lasting medication. Studies show that Vivitrol is most effective when it is combined with counseling.
Alcohol Rehab in Palm Springs
Are you struggling with alcohol use disorder? Are you ready to get help? Call us right now. At California Behavioral Health, our team of compassionate, experienced professionals are ready to help develop a treatment plan just for you and your needs. We understand how difficult it can be to make that first call, but we encourage you to pick up the phone today. When you do so, you will begin your journey towards recovery with us right by your side.
So, do not wait one more second. There is no time to waste. Continuing to drink to excess will only create further distraught and lead you to an early grave. Call us right now so we can work together to save your life.