Struggling with opioid or alcohol addiction is tiresome. You want to stop. You try to stop. But it seems like an uphill battle you’ll never win. And when you feel defeated in your addiction, that makes it even harder to quit. You’ll feel better if you have another drink or pop another pill.
It’s a vicious, unfortunate, and dangerous cycle.
There is hope. You can defeat addiction, but attempting it on your own is often futile. You need professional substance use disorder treatment. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re willing to admit you have a problem and need help. That, right there, shows strength.
But what could possibly help you break free from addiction? Should you talk to someone? How about checking yourself into an intensive outpatient program (IOP)? What will it take?
Depending on your individual situation, those things can definitely help. But another powerful weapon you can arm yourself with in the battle against addiction is Naltrexone.
What is Naltrexone, and How Does It Work?
Naltrexone is an FDA-approved prescription drug that effectively treats opioid and alcohol addiction. While it may seem strange to take a pill to help you recover from taking another pill, it has been proven to help many people overcome addiction to opioids and alcohol.
While taking Naltrexone could trigger opioid withdrawal symptoms if you are dependent (we’ll address this in a minute), the prescription drug itself is non-habit forming and won’t add additional withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. One of the most significant benefits of taking Naltrexone to help you recover from addiction is that it helps reduce your risk of relapse.
Naltrexone is effective in substance use disorder treatment programs because it is known as an “opioid antagonist.” Just as the antagonist in any story directly opposes the protagonist, Naltrexone directly opposes the effects of opioids and alcohol.
In other words, Naltrexone blocks the receptors in your brain that produce the euphoric high you feel on opioids or alcohol.
Important Facts About Taking Naltrexone for Addiction Treatment
It sounds like a magical prescription for substance use disorder treatment, doesn’t it? Well, it is pretty amazing how well it works, but there are caveats to taking Naltrexone for addiction treatment.
You shouldn’t just ask your doctor to prescribe you Naltrexone. Detoxing from opioids or breaking free from your addiction to drugs or alcohol is seriously important business. You need professional help and guidance.
Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)
Because Naltrexone could trigger withdrawal symptoms in OUD, it’s best to begin taking it after any opioids are out of your system. That means at least seven days after taking short-acting opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and oxymorphone) and ten to fourteen days after long-acting opioids (morphine ER, methadone, oxycodone controlled-release, and the fentanyl patch).
When taking Naltrexone as part of your substance use disorder treatment plan, you must abstain from taking any drugs or drinking alcohol. Before you begin treatment, be sure to communicate with your doctor about any medications you currently take.
After you complete your treatment for OUD using Naltrexone, you may have a reduced opioid tolerance, so it’s critical to abstain completely to avoid the possibility of overdose.
Naltrexone for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
Your doctor won’t prescribe you Naltrexone for addiction to alcohol until you’ve detoxed completely. This is because taking Naltrexone before you’ve detoxed from alcohol could lead to uncomfortable side effects like nausea.
Naltrexone helps treat AUD because it blocks the endorphin receptors in your body and reduces alcohol cravings. That’s why it’s typically part of your substance use disorder treatment program after you’re no longer physically dependent on alcohol.
What to Tell Your Doctor Before Starting Naltrexone
Naltrexone is an incredibly effective medication to help you on your recovery journey. But it’s crucial to be 100% transparent with your doctor about your current lifestyle so they can begin your Naltrexone treatment at the appropriate time.
Before beginning Naltrexone, be honest with your doctor about the following:
- any current medical conditions
- if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan on becoming pregnant
- all of your current medications, including vitamins and supplements
- any allergies to medications
- if you are taking any opioid-containing medicines for diarrhea, cough, cold, or pain
- if you are already getting treatment for OUD or AUD
There’s no reason to keep anything above to yourself. For Naltrexone to be most effective in your addiction treatment plan, timing is essential.
BOLD Health: Your Choice for Addiction Treatment in San Diego
If you’re ready to break the chains of addiction, BOLD Health can help. Our team of highly-trained clinicians are experts in treating OUD and AUD. We offer evidence-based treatment methods to help you overcome addiction and go on to live an enjoyable, fulfilling, sober lifestyle.
We provide several options for addiction treatment in San Diego, including the following:
- individual therapy
- group therapy
- outpatient detox
- medication management (including Naltrexone for addiction)
- ketamine injections
- intensive outpatient program (San Diego IOP)
You’ll feel accepted, cared for, and supported when you meet with our warm and welcoming team of experts. During your intake evaluation, we’ll take the time to genuinely get to know you and what brought you to seek help for addiction.
Not everyone’s journey to recovery looks the same. That’s why we ensure your treatment plan is tailored specifically to you. We’ll collaborate with one another to curate the ideal addiction treatment plan to suit your needs.
Whatever you need, from support during our outpatient detox program, to therapy sessions, to medication management, to our intensive outpatient program, we’re here for all of it, no matter how long it takes.
Contact us for more information about our San Diego IOP and other addiction treatment options, including a Naltrexone prescription. It’s time to reclaim your life, free from AUD or OUD. And we can help.