Opioid addiction is a devastating disease. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 235 million Americans aged 12 years and older reported having an illicit drug in their lifetime, including opioid pain relievers (such as OxyContin and Vicodin) or heroin. Once addicted, it is extremely difficult to overcome and recover. Withdrawal from opioids is painful. The high that users derive from the drug makes it difficult to give up.
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Withdrawal from opioids is also dangerous. The body has become dependent on the substance and will experience harmful physiological effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when the source is removed. It is for this reason that many turn to opioids for relief. Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive. Once used, they are difficult to stop using.
With the ever-increasing opioid crisis in the United States, a number of innovative solutions have come to light. One such solution is Vivitrol. This is a medication that can help opioid addicts overcome their dependence on these substances. However, is it right for everyone? Let’s explore this further.
What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is a long-acting drug that is meant to reduce the negative effects of opioid dependence and help prevent overdoses. It is given to patients who have already been diagnosed with opioid dependency in a doctor’s office or a clinic. It is not a cure, but rather a maintenance medication that helps prevent relapse.
After being prescribed by a doctor, the patient is given a “sham” injection. This injection is actually a placebo. It has no pharmacological effects and does not contain any actual drug. The patient is then given the real injection, which is Vivitrol.
Vivitrol is given as an injection once every month. It is usually given in two separate doses. The first injection is given six to eight weeks after the first dose. A second injection is given two to three weeks after the first. The total duration of treatment is typically three months.
How Does Vivitrol Work?
Vivitrol works by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain. It does this by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, preventing them from being activated.
Once bound, the opioid receptors cannot receive nor transmit signals. As a result, the patient feels no pain, sadness, or pleasure. This results in opioid withdrawal symptoms as well as physical and psychological relief.
The reason that Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors instead of binding to them directly is because it is an “antagonist.” Antagonists prevent the receptors from receiving or transmitting signals. It is for this reason that Vivitrol can prevent the effects of opioids in the brain and help with opioid withdrawal.
How to Get Vivitrol
In order to get Vivitrol, you must first be prescribed it by a doctor.
Vivitrol is a prescription medication, which means that the doctor will write you a prescription and you will have to purchase it from a pharmacy. The good news is that Vivitrol is covered by most insurance providers.
What to know before you pick up Vivitrol
There are a few things you should know before picking up Vivitrol. First, you should know that you will be under strict medical supervision for the first month that you take it.
Your doctor will closely monitor your vital signs and conduct various tests to make sure that you do not have any other medical conditions that would make Vivitrol unsafe.
Advantages of Vivitrol
It is a medication that blocks the effects of opioids and can help reduce cravings. Vivitrol is also effective in treating alcohol addiction. It can help people stay sober and reduce relapse rates. Vivitrol is a safe and effective treatment for addiction, and it can help people get their lives back on track. The main advantage of Vivitrol is that it prevents opioid relapse.
If you stop taking Vivitrol, you will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Muscle cramps
Disadvantages of Vivitrol
The main disadvantage of Vivitrol is that it does not treat the underlying cause of opioid dependency. Instead, it only treats the symptoms. As a result, the patient is still at risk of returning to the same old habits, should they lose access to Vivitrol.
This risk is especially high within the first week of discontinuing treatment when withdrawal symptoms are at their most severe. Depending on each person’s situation, relapsing could mean going back to the same old habits, or it could mean trying a different drug or experimenting with a new one.
It is important to note that each individual’s risk of relapse is different. While it is probable that you will relapse at some point, it is impossible to say with certainty.
Final Words: Is Vivitrol Right for You?
If you are struggling with opioid addiction, Vivitrol can help. It is a safe, effective way to prevent relapsing and prevent overdose. However, Vivitrol is not for everyone. This is because it is a drug that blocks opioid receptors in the brain, which means that it affects the way you think and feel.
People who want to get clean and sober, who want to break the cycle of drug abuse, and who want to do so in a healthy way, should not take Vivitrol.
People who are simply looking for a pain reliever and are not interested in changing their habits or their lives should also avoid Vivitrol.
These people are unlikely to benefit from Vivitrol. Only those who are ready to change their lives and enter recovery should consider Vivitrol.
Oasis Recovery Can Help
Opioid addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with opioid addiction on your own. We are here to help.