When fighting diseases of addiction it is necessary to use every tool available in order to prevent relapses from occurring. Traditional methods of recovery like individual counseling and group therapy will always be necessary in order to teach individuals how to live a life free of drugs and alcohol. In addition to these traditional methods, there are medications available to help curb cravings and enable recovery. Naltrexone is a fairly new method to curb addiction cravings. Learn more about the overall effects below.
What is Naltrexone and What are the Effects?
Naltrexone is a once-daily medication that is used to curb opiate and alcohol cravings and prevent relapse. It is an opioid antagonist which means it binds to opiate receptors in the. This blocks opiate-based drugs like heroin or oxycontin from producing its euphoric effects when taken. In alcohol addicts, it has been used to counteract cravings for alcohol and can also block its effects if alcohol is ingested. Naltrexone inhibits the release of endorphins.
Individuals in a recovery program who take naltrexone have an increased chance of long-term recovery. Opiate addicts know that if they take naltrexone, even if they leave the facility to take drugs, they will not get the high they were used to. This can prevent relapse in patients and lead them to stay in treatment longer. The longer a person remains in an inpatient treatment facility the greater their odds of being successful. The naltrexone gives the patient time to learn about their addiction, what types of stressors and triggers they should avoid, and what kinds of coping strategies they can use in order to remain in recovery.
Drawbacks of Naltrexone
Naltrexone is effective but it does have drawbacks. Individuals taking naltrexone will not be able to feel the effects of opiate-based pain medication which can be problematic in the event of an accident or traumatic injury. However, the effect of naltrexone gradually wears off within a twenty-four hour period.
Opiate addicts who take naltrexone and then decide to stop may have increased sensitivity for a period of time to opiates. If the person relapses, this can lead to a much lower tolerance to opiates and cause a fatal overdose. However, this is the case when tolerance is lowered among recovering addicts who have not taken naltrexone as well.
Other opiate addiction recovery medications like methadone and suboxone, are replacements for illicit opiates like heroin. However, these replacement medications are opiates themselves and users can develop an addiction to them as well. Naltrexone is not an opiate and is nonaddictive. It can be stopped at any time without worrying about the effects of withdrawal.
Naltrexone will never replace the need for other therapies, but its effects can be an effective weapon in treating addictions. If you or someone you know could benefit from taking naltrexone, call our counselors today to ask about its benefits. Call today 844-903-2111