Treating Alcohol Addiction with Vivitrol®: All Your Questions Answered

Recovering from alcohol addiction takes strength and determination. It also requires personal and behavioral changes, as well as counseling support. However, medical treatment options can help as well. If you're ready to cut back, medications like Vivitrol® (naltrexone) can support you as you reduce your alcohol intake, making it easier for you to successfully recover from alcohol addiction. 

Dr. Daniel J. Headrick has more than 30 years of experience in working with patients in the San Juan Capistrano, California area who are ready to break their alcohol addiction, and can advise you on the right medical treatments for any current addiction issues in your life. The team offers once-monthly Vivitrol injections, proven to be effective in combination with ongoing addiction support.

Blocking medication for bad days

Vivitrol injections help you reduce your heavy-drinking days. Heavy-drinking days are defined as days when you have five or more drinks (for male patients) or four or more drinks (for female patients). Together with personal counseling, Vivitrol can help you end heavy drinking completely.

The medication acts as an opioid receptor antagonist, creating a barrier between opioid molecules and your internal receptor. You won't feel the euphoric or sedated responses that addictive substances can elicit from your brain. Without those responses, you won't feel as strong a temptation to abuse alcohol or use drugs.

A dose of Vivitrol blocks opioid reception in your brain for about one month. Together with counseling and support, Vivitrol gets you through challenging periods while allowing you to maintain abstinence.

Non-euphoric, non-narcotic

Vivitrol is not a narcotic, and is non-addictive. Because the medication works to neutralize opioids, it's important that you be opioid-free for at least a week or two before beginning treatment. If you're taking Vivitrol to reduce alcohol dependence, you should be clear of alcohol as well before you receive the injection. Vivitrol can induce withdrawal symptoms in patients who are not substance-free, which can become serious. Other side effects, including headache, restlessness, and stomach upset, can occur.

Potentially severe reactions can appear at the injection site, including a risk of tissue death, and complications serious enough to require surgery have occurred for some patients. If you notice intense pain, hardness, or stiffening around your Vivitrol injection site, you should contact Dr. Headrick right away.

Studies show that Vivitrol significantly helps people working to beat alcohol addiction after completing an initial detox. Once you've taken the first step toward breaking alcohol addiction, Vivitrol supports you while you adjust to your new way of life, and protects you from relapse. Dr. Headrick can advise you if Vivitrol is right for you. To schedule a consultation, call our San Juan Capistrano office, or book your appointment online.

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