Treatment for Opioid Dependence

Opioid dependence, addiction to prescription pain killers and/or heroin, is caused by changes in the chemistry of the brain but is also a treatable medical condition. Opioids trigger a chemical release within your body. These chemicals activate pleasure centers in your brain and initially, the drug makes you feel good. However, with persistent use of opioids, your brain adjusts to the chemical changes and you become opioid dependent. You soon need constant activation of your brain’s pleasure centers to simply feel normal and increasing amounts of opioids to get high. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have defined dependence on opioids as “a long-term brain disease”. When you’re opioid dependent, the need to satisfy cravings or avoid withdrawal symptoms can be intense and difficult to manage on your own. Medications can help with the process. SUBOXONE™ is a medication that suppresses withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings for opioids. VIVITROL™ (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension) is a non-addictive medication that can be used to treat opioid dependence after you’ve detoxed from opioids. It blocks the action of opioids and the pleasurable feeling associated with them, so your desire to use opioids diminishes.Which medication will work best for you depends upon your particular situation and will be determined with the help of your care team. Either medication can help you take the needed steps to manage your condition, so you can focus on rebuilding your life.

Managing a long-term medical condition takes time

Managing opioid dependence is not simply a matter of “getting clean” or stopping all drug use. Typically, the changes that cause opioid dependence will not be corrected right away and will not be fixed with medication alone. In fact, those changes can trigger cravings months or even years after you’ve stopped misusing opioids. It is essential to incorporate counseling and behavior therapy along with SUBOXONE™or VIVITROL™ therapy to successfully treat opioid dependence.Many long-term medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma—are treated with both medication and behavioral changes. Opioid addiction is no different. It is a disease that requires ongoing treatment to keep it under control. SUBOXONE™ or VIVITROL are proven medication-assisted treatment options, meant to help you keep your symptoms under control so you can focus on the changes you need to make.

Treatment for Alcohol Dependence

VIVITROL™ is also indicated for treatment of alcohol abuse. A study showed that alcohol-dependent patients who participated in counseling and took VIVITROL™ (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension) after detox had better results than patients who participated in counseling without VIVITROL™. The active ingredient in VIVITROL™, naltrexone, is a “blocker” of opioid receptors. It is commonly used in patients with opioid dependence, but for patients with alcohol dependence, it can suppress one’s physical desire to drink alcohol. How VIVITROL™ works in treating alcoholism is not entirely understood. For some people, drinking alcohol causes the release of excessive amounts of endorphins, which can lead to pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. VIVITROL™ is thought to block these pleasurable feelings by attaching to certain receptors in your brain. As with opioid dependence, treatment of alcohol dependence is not only about getting sober. VIVITROL™ can help you deal with the physical aspects of alcoholism, so you can participate in psychotherapy and address the issues contributing to alcohol abuse.

How do I get started?

The best place to start is by speaking to one of our mental health professionals, who can discuss treatment options, answer any questions about the process, Medication Assisted Treatment rates, and schedule a confidential appointment. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call or contact us today.