The way that opioids interact with the brain makes opiate addiction difficult to overcome. It used to be that the main approach to helping people with opioid addiction was to have them go through withdrawal before receiving therapy and other forms of treatment. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) takes a different approach. Clients receive medication that alleviates withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids and other substances. Colorado Medication Assisted Recovery uses naltrexone as part of the MAT treatment offered at our facility.
What Is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug cleared for treating individuals with an opioid or alcohol addiction as part of MAT. It’s available in both a pill and injectable form and can be prescribed by those licensed to give out prescriptions to clients. Unlike other medications often provided through MAT, naltrexone is not an opioid.
Because it’s not an opioid, there’s a much lower risk of clients developing an addiction to naltrexone. You also don’t experience side effects if you decide to discontinue its use. Naltrexone itself can’t help a client overcome an addiction. It’s often used in conjunction with other elements of a client’s treatment plan like dialectical-behavior therapy and dialectal behavior therapy.
How Can Naltrexone Help with Addiction?
People turn to drugs and alcohol because of the feeling of euphoria or relaxation they produce. Opioids specifically bind with opioid receptors in the brain responsible for producing feelings of pleasure. Once your brain starts associating your opioid use with those emotions, you end up with a dependency that can eventually turn into an addiction. Alcohol can have a similar effect on various parts of your nervous system.
Naltrexone blocks the effects produced by drugs and alcohol by keeping the substances from binding with your opioid receptors. That means you don’t experience the highs from opioids or sedated feelings that come with drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Naltrexone also reduces cravings and helps with opiate withdrawal, which can help you get through a treatment program and achieve recovery.
Your system must be completely clear of any toxins associated with drug or alcohol abuse before you start taking naltrexone. Clients should steer clear of using other illegal drugs or drinking while receiving the drug as part of MAT.
What Are the Side Effects of Taking Naltrexone?
Some clients do experience certain side effects from naltrexone treatment, including:
- Stomach troubles
- Muscle pain
- Sleep issues
Make sure you inform your doctor about any adverse effects of naltrexone treatment. They can adjust your dosage or change you to a different medication. You should only take naltrexone as part of MAT and alongside other programs that provide you with the psychological and social support necessary to overcome your substance use disorder.
Naltrexone treatment can reduce your tolerance for opioids or other substances. Discontinuing your use of naltrexone can leave you more vulnerable to a potential overdose because you overestimate what your system can handle.
Receive Medication-Assisted Treatment at Colorado Medication Assisted Recovery
While naltrexone treatment can make it easier for you to get through a recovery program, it’s not a cure-all for addiction. You must still put in the effort needed to face the underlying issues driving your addiction. Our team of specialists sticks with you every step of the way as you learn to live a life free of substance abuse.
Other programs and services available at our recovery center include:
- Mental health treatment center
- Trauma-informed care
- Addiction and pain management
- Neurofeedback therapy program
It’s not too late to change the direction of your life. Colorado Medication Assisted Recovery gives clients the chance to overcome addiction and restore their health. Start your new journey today by calling us at 833.448.0127.