Vivitrol Treatment in Knoxville

JourneyPure Staff

August 1, 2019

The disease of addiction is one that affects all kinds of people, regardless of their race, gender, financial class, or sexual orientation. When someone is struggling with an opioid use disorder, it can be extremely painful to watch, never mind experience. Addiction can take everything from a person and leave him or her with no family or friends or even a home to live in. Often, all that is left in the rubble of opioid addiction are the opioids themselves.

With approximately 50,000 Americans dying each year due to opioid overdoses, and nearly 88,000 alcohol-related deaths every year, there exists the need to better address our ongoing addiction crisis.

One of the best ways to help those who are currently addicted to opioids is professional treatment. Professional treatment can not only expose those in need to therapy, but also introduce them to medications capable of managing the symptoms that tend to develop after detox. This treatment approach is known in medical circles as Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT. One of the medications used is Vivitrol.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a prescription injectable medicine used to treat alcohol dependence and prevent relapse to opioid dependence after detox. It is only effective when used with other alcohol and drug recovery programs, ones that include individual or group therapy.

The active ingredient in Vivitrol is naltrexone, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a medication to relieve symptoms of alcohol and opioid withdrawal.

Naltrexone is an antagonist, otherwise known as a blocking medication, that creates a barrier the blocks opioid molecules from attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors. The antagonist attaches to opioid receptors but does not cause the release of dopamine. (Dopamine functions in the brain as a neurotransmitter, playing a major chemical role in the kind of reward-motivated behavior involved in alcohol dependence and opioid addiction.) Because they don’t cause the release of dopamine, antagonists are non-addictive.

Vivitrol is injected by a licensed healthcare provider into a muscle in the hindquarters. This happens once per month. People receiving Vivitrol injections must not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until they know how exactly it is affecting them, since the medicine can make a person feel dizzy or sleepy.

Benefits of Vivitrol Treatment

When clients begin Vivitrol treatment in Knoxville, we at JourneyPure ensure that every single person has an individualized treatment plan to address their concerns and meet their unique needs. This not only includes monthly injections of Vivitrol, but several different therapies designed to help them identify, address, and learn how to manage the mental, emotional, and spiritual issues that are connected to their substance use disorder.

Our Vivitrol treatment in Knoxville values the combination of medication and therapy, building a solid foundation for clients.

Clients who receive Vivitrol treatment and who follow a specific treatment plan, are likely to see several benefits from this medication. Most importantly, Vivitrol has been found effective in controlling cravings for further opioid or alcohol abuse.

For some, cravings can become so overwhelming that they feel they have no choice but to give in. Plus, patients often find it difficult to overcome cravings since they have yet to develop the skills needed to manage so many triggers. However, when taking Vivitrol, the client will feel far less intense cravings, allowing for a stronger focus on other areas of treatment.

Additional benefits of Vivitrol treatment in Knoxville include:

  • Increased ability to continue to participate in everyday activities such as school or work
  • Added advantage of only having to obtain medication once a month rather than on a daily basis
  • Improves the likelihood of long-term recovery
  • Reduces the chances of relapse if and when a client decides to stop taking it.

As with many diseases and mental health disorders, just taking medication while doing nothing else to improve the situation is mostly ineffective. In order for Vivitrol to work to its greatest capacity, clients must also include therapy into their overall treatment plan.

Risks of Vivitrol

A 2017 study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) compared the effectiveness of buprenorphine and naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol.

While naltrexone was found to be equally as effective as buprenorphine, once treatment begins, starting a naltrexone regimen is more complicated because it requires a longer detox period—as much as one week, in some cases. That much time can mean the difference between a successful recovery and relapse.

Of course, Vivitrol isn’t right for everyone living with addiction. There are significant risks from the treatment, especially as it related to opioid addiction recovery, including the risk of opioid overdose and sudden opioid withdrawal. Other risks include possibly severe reactions at the point of injection, such as scabbing, swelling, or intense pain.

Anyone who receives a Vivitrol injection must for up to 14 days not use any type of opioid, including:

  • street drugs like heroin
  • prescription painkillers
  • cough, cold, or diarrhea medicines that contain opioids
  • other opioid dependence treatments like methadone or buprenorphine.

Otherwise, the Vivitrol injection could cause the patient to experience symptoms of opioid withdrawal so intense that a hospital visit is required.

Another serious side effects of Vivitrol include depression, an allergic reaction that can cause pneumonia, and other allergic reactions such as chest pain, skin rash, or trouble breathing. Less serious side effects of Vivitrol treatment include nausea, sleepiness, headache, muscle cramps, and decreased appetite.

Get Professional Vivitrol Treatment in Knoxville with JourneyPure

At JourneyPure Knoxville, we understand how hard it can be to admit you have a problem and ask for help. We want you to know that we can help. Our team of devoted, compassionate, and experienced professionals can help make your alcoholism a thing of the past and help build a future worth living for.

Do not wait any longer. If you or someone you love is battling addiction, reach out to us.