In addition to blocking cravings for heroin or other opiates, Vivitrol can affect the brain in other ways. Vice reported that “its active ingredient may also block the brain’s natural opioids, endorphins, and enkephalins.” Vivitrol’s main ingredient naloxone causes a long term release into the brain which can stave off cravings for long periods of time. However, the other ways the brain is affected can create depression or a lack of interest in life which is triggering to heroin and opioid addicts. As depressant drugs, opioids slow down the brain and body so much that people in the thick of their opioid addiction do nothing much more than use opioids. The article explained, “Consequently, it has the potential to reduce normal pleasures like those from food, exercise, music, and perhaps most important, the ‘warmth’ of feeling connected to others.” Depression, suicidal thoughts, and a low tolerance for opioids are other side effects.
Risk For Relapse
Vivitrol is supposed to be administered through a series of six shots. Most patients do not complete their entire series and relapse. Or, knowing their series is coming to an end, plans their relapse and then relapses after the medication finally wears off. “When someone stops opioids- for any reason,” Vice explains, “tolerance is lost within days, and with it, protection from overdose.” Tolerance does not protect someone from an overdose. Addicts with an extremely high tolerance for heroin, for example, will use extremely high amounts of heroin which runs a higher and higher risk for overdose. However, the problem with medications like Vivitrol or returning to opioid use after any time sober is that the body is not prepared for the high amount of heroin or opioid which the brain believes is still the right amount to take. Weakened and intolerant, the body overdoses and dies.
Vivitrol Is Not A Cure
Reduced cravings are just one part of the recovery process for opioid addiction. Relying purely on a matter of reduced cravings is only taking away the chemical craving, without supporting the development of relapse prevention tools, stress management, or emotional regulation. Despite cravings, addiction still lives in the brain as a habit. After many months clean from opioids thanks to Vivitrol, if the medication wears off and someone finds themselves with the opportunity to use, they have no psychological or emotional defense against that temptation. In conjunction with treatment, therapy, and learning about recovery, Vivitrol can be a helpful tool. Without the support, however, the medication is a moot effort.
Avalon By The Sea offers trusted programs with trusted results for treating men and women with heroin or opioid addiction. Every day, dozens are dying of opioid overdose. There is a chance, a hope, and a purpose for your life. Call us today for a free and confidential assessment to learn more about our residential treatment programs healing mind, body, and spirit. 888-337-2602