Why Use Naltrexone over other addiction treatment medications?
Useful for Both Opioid & Alcohol Addiction
Naltrexone in tablet and injections forms has been indicated and approved by the FDA for both alcohol and opioid addiction. Opioid replacement medications such as buprenorphine and methadone are only indicated for opioid addiction, and can exacerbate secondary side effects caused by alcohol.
Naltrexone is Not a Replacement Drug
Buprenorphine and Methadone are both opioid agonists, replacing the effect of the abused substance, with the intent of tapering from the drug without producing serious withdrawals. Withdrawal from these medications, however, may be easier said than done, and typically yields low success rates. To compound this issue, their respective side effects may increase anxiety, psychological dependence, changes in mood, and may precipitate depression from withdrawal.
Naltrexone Allows You to Address the Root Cause of Addiction
Since treatment of addiction with medication are NOT cures, and must be supplemented with psychological and psychosocial therapies, treatment with opioid agonists may not allow for these psychological treatment modalities to be fully effective. Psychological therapies are typically used to address the root cause of the addiction, which in often cases stems from deep rooted mental, psychological or physical trauma.4 Studies have shown that as many of 96% of treatment seeking substance users report experiencing some kind of major traumatic event.4 Since opioid agonists may contribute to feelings of emotional numbness,5 the “real” treatment goal may not be fully realized.
Naltrexone, on the other hand, does not cause emotional numbness and may help with depersonalization,6 allowing therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to have a fighting chance at success by allowing those receiving therapy to feel their emotions and deal with the trauma at hand.