For anyone who is struggling with addiction to opiates/ pain killers or knows someone that is, I am here to tell you that there is hope after all. Years of research has finally proved addiction to be a disease and as a result many doctors have been treating it as such. They have been trying to get a good bead on how to recognize the reasons why a person would go through such extreme behavior while many other behaviors may be indicating it is not at all how they wish to live their life. The truth, plain and simple, is that it is in fact a medical condition that is now recognized by the medical community as one and throughout the years scientists and doctors have come up with a few breakthroughs. One of these breakthroughs has been an opiate antagonist called naltrexone, which was approved for the treatment of opiate addiction in 1984, according to the Food and Drug Administration (document NDA 200063). Naltrexone is a pill to be ingested at least once a day and I can tell you from my own personal experience that it is no fun to get used to, but it is worth it. Once the addict has made his or her mind up to take the medication it may take a little while for their body to get used to the medication’s presence, especially their brain, as continuous abuse can cause effects that are “detrimental to the individual’s physical and mental health (ask.com).
How this medicine works, though, is it binds to the same receptors as the opiates or painkillers that the addict relies on for that high feeling and at the same time rejects the foreign chemicals that have been ingested, thereby creating the inability to get the high feeling and a better ability to learn to control cravings and get back on track. It is said to be able to repair certain brain damage that may have been caused from continued abuse or relapses while in recovery by “blocking access sites” in the brain (Elements Behavioral Health). This addiction medication is fairly expensive, but can be worth it’s weight in the long run. There are ways to get discounts on it by using coupons or going to a free public clinic. Whether you have insurance or not, a little online research could help save the individual a lot of money down the road, which in turn will be one less thing for them worry about.
It is a long, hard road for the addict in recovery. While It is recommended that some talking therapy or counseling may be involved in the process of getting this affliction under control, this is a medication that is not widely known that can help on a physical level and give the individual the additional confidence needed to learn how to live their new, sober life and be the person that they truly are.
Sources: FDA .gov, Ask.com:drug addiction, Elements Behavioral Health
Further reading: Drug Addiction: The Road to Recovery