Naltrexone is a special type of narcotic drug called an opioid receptor antagonist. It is a non-addictive substance used to treat opioid and alcohol dependence. If you or someone you love has an addiction to opiates like heroine or is addicted to alcohol, we can help you find a naltrexone rehab facility where the addiction may be treated using naltrexone addiction treatment medication.
Factoid: Naltrexone is sometimes confused with naloxone. Naltrexone is only used to reduce cravings for alcohol or eliminate a physical addiction to opiates. Naloxone is used at emergency medical facilities to combat the effects of opiate overdose.
How Does Naltrexone Work?
Naltrexone treats opioid addiction by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the effects of opiates. Although naltrexone addiction treatment medication has been shown to be effective at reducing cravings for alcohol, it is unclear how the drug accomplishes this feat. Researchers hypothesize that the drug regulates the dopaminergic mesolimbic pathway, which is believed to be the reward center of the brain that drugs and alcohol activate when consumed.
Naltrexone is marketed under the brand names Revia and Depade. There is also an extended-release version called Vivitrol that is delivered by injection once a month. A naltrexone subdermal implant is also available, but there is some question about its effectiveness.
How it Helps Combat Alcohol Addiction
Naltrexone is primarily used to treat alcohol addiction. The drug reduces the craving for alcohol when taken alone or in conjunction with normal drinking habits. When taken alone as part of an abstinence-focused treatment program, compliance is required on the part of the patient to take the medication as prescribed. This can be problematic for patients who do not have a support network in place that will hold them accountable for maintaining the drug regimen.
Are you looking to help your loved one and are concerned about the cost? Addiction treatment can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
An alternative treatment, called the Sinclair Method, may be more effective at promoting responsible alcohol consumption or complete abstinence. The person takes naltrexone addiction treatment medication while drinking normally. However, the drug blocks the normal positive reinforcement the person would receive from activating the reward center of the brain. It is believed that this will eventually lead to pharmacological extinction; the person will cease to continue drinking because there is no physical reward for doing so.
To be effective the drug must be taken on a regular basis, which often requires patient compliance. However, an extended-release version of the drug called Vivitrol can increase compliance rates because it only needs to be administered once per month by injection. It is as effective at reducing alcohol consumption, though, as the oral version. A clinical trial involving the drug found that administration of 380 mg. of Vivitrol reduced the number of times a person drank heavily by 25 percent.
The Sinclair Method was invented by Dr. John David Sinclair. However, the most comprehensive reference material on the method is a book written by Dr. Roy Eskapa called The Cure for Alcoholism. The book was published in 2009.
How it Interacts with Opioids
Naltrexone treats opioid addiction by blocking the euphoric affects of opiates. It has been found to be effective at eliminating a person’s physical addiction to opioids but does not reduce cravings for the drug. When paired with counseling or therapy, though, a person can achieve and maintain abstinence.
There is evidence to suggest that naltrexone addiction treatment medication can treat impulse control disorders like gambling addiction, trichotillomania, and kleptomania. A 2008 study found that the drug can suppress and treat an addiction to Internet pornography.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Alcohol and opiate abuse can damage a person’s health and relationships with others. A person who abuses opiates or alcohol may not understand how consumption of these substances is harmful or may believe he or she is in complete control over his or her consumption. It is sometimes up to the people in the person’s network of friends, family, and associates to recognize the symptoms of opiate and alcohol abuse and get the person help, which may involve a rehabilitation program that includes naltrexone addiction treatment medication. Here are typical signs of alcohol abuse:
- Uncontrolled alcohol consumption
- Experiencing blackouts or memory loss after consuming alcohol
- Feeling the compulsion to consume alcohol to relax or improve mood
- Alcohol consumption interferes with performance of duties at home, work, or school
- Lying to others to conceal drinking habits
- Using alcohol in dangerous situations, like when driving
Signs of opioid abuse include:
- Physical evidence such as empty bottles of prescription medications or burned spoons
- Frequent itching or scratching
- Nodding off at inappropriate times
- Uncharacteristic behavior such as hyperactivity or excessive lethargy
- Needle marks on the body, particular the arms
- If the person is snorting opiates, his or her nose may be red and raw
- Sweating even at cool temperatures
- Extreme thirst
- Money problems; begging for money
Factoid: It is possible to overcome the effects of naltrexone addiction treatment medication. However, a person would need to consume alcohol or opiates in such large amounts that he or she would likely overdose on the substances before achieving the desired effect.
The Importance of Seeking Help
Every person’s physiology is different, and someone who abuses opiates or alcohol may not necessarily develop an addiction. However, abuse of these substances is a major risk factor for the development of physical and psychological dependence on them. A person may be addicted to opiates or alcohol if he or she is displaying the following signs:
- Onset of withdrawal symptoms after not using the substance for a period of time
- Abandonment of friends for new ones who support the person’s addiction
- Sudden disinterest in previously enjoyable hobbies or activities
- Consumption of the substance is the focus of the person’s life
- Frequent changes in mood
- Legal problems related to consumption of the substance
- Tolerance to the effects of the substance leading to increased consumption
When confronted about his or her addiction, the person may downplay or deny there is a problem. It may be necessary to enlist the help of an addiction specialist or stage an intervention. We can assist you with finding a rehab center in your area that uses naltrexone addiction treatment medication and other therapies to help a person overcome his or her addiction.
Getting Necessary Addiction Treatment
Prescription Drug Abuse
Most prescription drug use takes place under a doctor’s care and instruction. Drugs are taken as directed in monitored dosage amounts and for a specified period of time. Any prescription medication left over after treatment is then discarded for safety. Prescription drug abuse begins with an increasing number of people because the prescribed drugs are not always being used as directed. This non-medical use occurs among about 52 million Americans at least once during their lifetime.Read More
A person may be treated for alcohol addiction using naltrexone addiction treatment medication in two ways. He or she may be put through the detoxification process and then prescribed naltrexone to promote abstinence. The other option is the Sinclair Method, in which the person is prescribed the medication to be used with alcohol to promote a reduction in drinking and eventual abstinence.
For people struggling with opioid addiction, the drug is used to eliminate their physical dependence on opiates. The person is usually prescribed naltrexone addiction treatment medication and other prescription drugs to help him or her get through the withdrawal stage of addiction treatment. After detoxification, however, the person may be given a different type of medication to prevent a relapse back into the addiction.
In both types of treatment, the person is typically put through counseling or psychotherapy to help him or her deal with the psychological dependence he or she may have on the substance.
What is Rapid Detoxification?
Naltrexone addiction treatment medication is sometimes used as part of a rapid detoxification therapy for opioid dependence. The person is given the medication and then sedated or placed under general anesthesia for a period of time. The goal of the therapy is to induce the blockage of the opioid receptors while minimizing withdrawal symptoms experienced by the person. Afterwards, the person is prescribed naltrexone for up to one year to prevent relapse back into the addiction.
This method of opioid detoxification can be effective at eliminating a person’s physical dependence on opiates. However, naltrexone detox is considered controversial for a few reasons. The primary reason is that rapid detox may lead the person to believe it is a quick fix for his or her opiate addiction. The safety of the procedure is in question, particular for patients that are placed under general anesthesia, because severe withdrawal symptoms can onset rapidly. The procedure is also more expensive than conventional detoxification therapies.
If you or a loved one opts for naltrexone detox, it is important to understand that it is only the first step in opiate addiction treatment. Aftercare that includes counseling or therapy is strongly recommended for the achievement and maintenance of a drug-free lifestyle.
If rapid detox using naltrexone addiction treatment medication is something you are interested in, we can help you find a treatment center that provides this service.
Deciding Which Options is Best for You
Addiction Recovery Programs
For anyone battling an addiction there is hope for recovery through the help of addiction recovery programs for drugs, alcohol and behavioral addictions.Read More
Alcohol and opiate addiction can be treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Because the symptoms associated with alcohol or opiate withdrawal can be severe, the treatment option available to you or your loved one will depend on a number of factors. If the person has been abusing the substances for a long period of time, using them in high doses, or has co-occurring conditions that make it inadvisable for him or her to undergo the detoxification process without supervision, the person may be required to complete treatment on an inpatient basis.
With inpatient treatment, the person must check into the facility where he or she will undergo addiction treatment while under the supervision of qualified professionals. The person will not have access to drugs or alcohol, and his or her consumption of naltrexone addiction treatment medication is supervised to ensure compliance. Since interaction with the outside world is limited, the person can focus on his or her recovery.
If the addiction specialist deems it safe, the person can be treated for his or her addiction on an outpatient basis. Instead of being required to live at the treatment facility, the person remains in his or her environment and travels to the center on a daily basis to meet with the addiction specialist and receive medication. This option allows the person to maintain employment and relationships. However, access to drugs and alcohol is not limited, which increases the chances of relapse.
When deciding which treatment option is best for you, it is important to be honest about your current circumstances. If your environment will hinder your addiction treatment, then it is probably best to elect for inpatient treatment. However, if you have a good support network and strong motivation, then outpatient treatment may be an option.
Outpatient treatment is often less expensive than inpatient treatment. However, that should not be the primary reason to choose one treatment option over another. It is essential to make your decision based on the level of care you will receive while being treated for your addiction.
Finding a Rehab Center
Naltrexone addiction treatment medication can be immensely helpful with overcoming an addiction to alcohol or opiates. There are hundreds of naltrexone rehab centers that are able to design a treatment plan that meets your specific needs and aligns with your goals. If you need help with finding a facility, call our confidential national hotline at for a referral or contact us by email. Our representatives will be happy to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you find a facility.
Overcoming an addiction to alcohol or opiates can be challenging. With the right treatment, support, relapse prevention tools, and coping skills, you can achieve and maintain your sobriety. It all starts with making the decision to get help for your addiction and committing to the process. Take the first step in your journey to sobriety and give us a call.