Category Archives: Addiction

Opiate Addiction Treatment With Vivitrol

Pathways-- Opiate Addiction Treatment With Vivitrol  -- 08-23-16Opiate Addiction Addiction Treatment (Updated)

Back in October of last year (2010), the FDA approved the use of Vivitrol for treatment of opiate addiction. After opiate detox treatment (usually 7 to 10 days), the person struggling with opiate addiction is provided Vivitrol on a once monthly schedule with an intramuscular injection to help prevent relapse and a slip back into their addiction.

Vivitrol For Opiate Addiction Treatment

As of today, Vivitrol is the only non-narcotic medication approved for the prevention of relapse and a return to opiate addiction. After a period of abstinence usually following opiate detox treatment, Vivitrol is administered once per month by a healthcare professional through an intramuscular injection. Being non-narcotic, Vivitrol is the only non-addictive, non-scheduled opiate antagonist that blocks the euphoric effects of opiates that people seek when they are active in their opiate addiction. While it is not a cure-all for opiate addiction, it is believe that Vivitrol can help opiate addicts maintain their abstinence when implemented with counseling and other non-professional recovery work such as regular attendance at 12 step meetings.

Approval of Vivitrol by the FDA

Approval of Vivitrol by the FDA represents an important step forward in the treatment of opiate addiction because it is the first non-addictive, non-scheduled, opiate antagonist available for the treatment of opiate addiction. Previously only other forms of scheduled narcotics such as Methadone and Buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex) were available for treatment of opiate addiction. Historical data has shown that many opiate addicts treated with these other narcotic regimens for opiate addiction ended up exchanging one addiction for another or bouncing back and forth between their prescribed treatment narcotic (Methadone, Buprenorphine, etc.) and the drug of choice for their opiate addiction (Heroin, OxyCodone, etc).

In addition to opiate addiction, Vivitrol may be suitable for the treatment of alcohol dependence. As with opiate addicts, the patient will need to abstain from alcohol prior to initiation of treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opiate addiction, contact us today to discuss your options for opiate detox treatment as well as longer term opiate addiction treatment including the potential use of Vivitrol.

Substance Abuse Treatment In The Military

Substance Abuse Treatment in the MilitaryMany people use drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. They find relief and distraction with routine consumption. Stressful jobs or past experiences increase the chance that an individual will turn to substance abuse. Naturally, the strain that those who serve in the military endure puts them at an even higher risk for substance abuse.

The suicide rate among our country’s service men and women is rapidly escalating. Experts agree that repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are likely connected to this number. Our forces are traveling to hostile lands multiple times; for them, deployments can feel interminable. The result is that more and more military personnel are seeing longer and more frequent tours of duty.

A Rise In Military Suicides

For the past seven years, military suicide rates have been on the rise. Experts are now claiming that this could be the new “normal” statistic. In 2015, there were 256 suicides for active-duty personnel alone. An estimated 18-22 veterans commit suicide each and every day.

Although all suicide rates have increased nationally, the statistics involving soldiers’ suicides are particularly grim. Those in the military—both who have been sent to wars and those who haven’t—suffer the loss of those men and women. The loss of like-minded individuals and friends at such a rate can cause anxiety and stress. This is one of the reasons why so many veterans and active-duty individuals turn to drugs and alcohol.

Searching For Relief With Drugs

Illicit drug use rates are actually lower in the military than they are among civilians. Of course, they are likely being tested during active duty, when there is little downtime. When they are on base, drugs are much more difficult to procure, and drug tests are common. Instead of using illegal drugs, however, many military personnel rely on heavy alcohol and tobacco use. Others will fall victim to cycles of prescription drug abuse.

Unfortunately, searching for relief through these outlets increases the risk of suicide. Alcohol, for example, is a depressant. Despite the fact that it’s associated with fun and socialization, drinking can pull a person’s mood even further down if he or she is already depressed. In more than 25% of suicides, the individual was intoxicated at the time.

Prescription drugs can boost this risk, too. Dependency and withdrawal symptoms, such as hallucinations and mood swings, may be enough to encourage suicide in an already depressed individual. Painkillers, psychotropics, and antidepressants are some of the most powerful drugs available with a prescription, and they are also ones that present the greatest risk of suicide with their use.

Other Drug Risks

Even without considering the increase in suicide rates, abusing alcohol and other drugs is dangerous. Tobacco is known to cause lung, mouth, and throat cancer among users. Different applications offer different targeted risks, although mouth and throat cancer are the most common. Using cigarettes or chewing tobacco also increases the risk of heart disease and damages the physical appearance. Long-term use manifests with yellowed fingers, rotting teeth, and less elastic skin.

Alcohol causes dangerous and often deadly accidents. Driving under the influence is a factor in 28 fatal crashes per day. It also contributes to countless non-fatal but serious accidents, such as slips falls. Regular consumption negatively affects the liver, gastrointestinal system, and esophagus.

The risks for prescription drugs vary widely depending on the drug in question, but most present strong withdrawal symptoms with continued use. These effects can range from tremors and itching to hallucinations.

Seeking Help

It can be remarkably difficult for active duty personnel to seek help for a drug or alcohol dependence. There’s usually a stigma associated with addiction, particularly among the armed forces. Strict no-tolerance policies can leave staff fearful that seeking assistance will cost them their jobs. Such factors prevent many people from finding the guidance that they need.

There are a few veteran programs available, which the VA partially funds. Individuals must qualify for treatment and enroll in one of the care programs. Active duty personnel are left with fewer options, and unfortunately, this inequality is rarely discussed. It’s hard to cope with deployment on its own, but substance abuse can make it even more difficult.

For now, private treatment facilities are the best option for military staff seeking help. These organizations offer special care while catering to their patients’ specific needs. Different options are available depending on the severity of the addiction, so individuals can get the help that they need to abstain and recover.