Naltrexone for Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal
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For some in recovery for alcoholism the effort to stay sober is akin to swimming upstream, using every fiber of your being to work against the strong current that threatens to pull you right back downstream into drinking. Someone with a long history of heavy alcohol consumption, who has become chemically dependent on it, may struggle, and fail over and over again to remain abstinent.
The drug, naltrexone, under the brand names Revia or Vivitrol, is the most promising development in alcohol addiction treatment in recent years. Although first developed in the 1960s, naltrexone was eventually FDA cleared to treat alcoholism in 1995. Clinical trials demonstrated that this drug was well-tolerated with few, if any, adverse side effects, and has been successful in helping motivated individuals remain sober.
Naltrexone Alcohol Detox Uses
Naltrexone is a non-narcotic medication that can be used in conjunction with therapy and other sources of support to achieve a life of sobriety. Clients who have repeatedly relapsed and who have a moderate to severe alcohol dependency are the ideal candidates for naltrexone therapy. Clinical studies have repeatedly shown that naltrexone can be highly effective in recovery from alcoholism. Raymond F. Anton, M.D., in a published article entitled Naltrexone for the Management of Alcohol Dependence in the July 2008 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine states, “Typically, the studies have shown that oral naltrexone was superior to placebo in preventing relapse to heavy drinking after an initial abstinence period and in increasing the percentage of abstinence days.” Naltrexone works by attaching to the opiate receptors in the brain, blocking them from receiving any effect from alcohol. With the opiate receptors blocked, the client experiences fewer cravings for alcohol, making it easier to avoid relapse in recovery.
How Does Naltrexone Work for Alcohol Addiction Recovery
No one but an alcohol dependent person can even attempt to explain the persistent drive to consume alcohol that plagues them on a daily basis. Once the brain has been remapped to accommodate the constant infusion of alcohol into the system, it etches a reward pathway that is very difficult to overcome. Even when alcohol becomes merely a medicinal substance that prevents them from experiencing the highly uncomfortable withdrawals that will ensue, they still desire it.
Naltrexone helps to break that connection between the substance (alcohol) and the desire to imbibe. Overcoming this compulsion to drink can be accomplished over a period of months of naltrexone use, as the brain’s opioid receptors are blocked resulting in decreased cravings. If the individual does drink while on naltrexone, they will not experience the high they remember, leading to a reduced desire to drink at all.
Alcoholism Treatment and Aftercare
Professional treatment for alcohol dependence should be a multi-disciplinary program that integrates therapy, 12-step participation, and naltrexone for qualified candidates. This three-part approach to treating alcoholism, combined with a highly motivated individual, can be very effective in breaking free from the addiction. Here is how the treatment elements work together:
- This mainstay component of addiction treatment functions in several ways. As the term indicates, psychotherapy is the interaction between a therapist or counselor and the client that addresses psychological concerns that may be related to the addictive behaviors. Resolving these issues, including life traumas, a mental health condition, a suppressed emotional pain revolving around a relationship, death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, or any such difficulty, is imperative during addiction treatment. The psychological damage that these events may have caused can be contributing to the compulsive alcohol abuse.
Psychotherapy can take many forms, including private meetings with the therapist and group therapy. An evidence-based therapy that has been proven to be effective in addiction treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT addresses the knee-jerk behavioral response the client may experience to a stressful event or trigger that resulted in drinking and helps them to find new healthy solutions and responses. New coping skills are taught in therapy, as well as stress reducing techniques.
- Non 12 or 12-step support groups. Peer recovery groups have been shown to be an important resource for clients, especially in the first year or two of recovery. The meetings provide a safe and supportive venue for sharing, learning, and gaining resolve when it is fading. A sponsor can help the client by providing a backstop resource at times of weakness. Both the sponsor and the peer group provide a sense of accountability, where the client feels beholden to practice (work) the steps and become stronger over time.
- Naltrexone therapy. Cravings are reduced or eliminated, and if the client slips up they will not experience the pleasurable high they had anticipated. Over time, the client will lose the desire to drink.
- Treatment does not end when the discharge papers are handed to the client. Recovery from alcohol addiction is an ongoing process, therefore aftercare planning is important to the overall outcome. Aftercare measures can include living in sober housing for several months while the newfound sober lifestyle takes root, continuing to participate in 12-step recovery meetings, and attending weekly therapy sessions.
Golf Drug Rehab Utilizes Naltrexone Implant Alcohol Method
Golf Drug Rehab is a luxury alcohol and drug addiction treatment rehab situated in the seaside community of Dana Point, California. Golf drug Rehab utilizes the naltrexone pellet as part of its alcohol treatment program, combining it with detox, addiction therapy, and recovery group meetings. Golf Drug Rehab features recreational therapy in the form of three stellar local golf courses for our clients to enjoy. For more information, please contact Golf Drug Rehab at (877) 958-5320
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