Relapse Prevention Through Naltrexone

relapseAddiction is extremely hard to recover from, but it is worth the effort if you are willing to take certain steps to improve your quality of life. It could be argued that there has been no other time in American history when addiction recovery has been more vital, in the wake of a prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. One of the reasons that the epidemic has continued as long as it has is the fact that recovering from opioid addiction is arduous and relapse rates are staggering.

There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about improving and expanding addiction treatment services nationwide, especially in rural America. Additionally, substance use disorder centers need to utilize evidence based treatments in order to mitigate the chances of relapse. A number of treatment centers have begun prescribing patients naltrexone – sold under the brand name Vivitrol ®.

Relapse Prevention

Early recovery can be a trying time, filled with strong cravings to use, coupled with new feelings and emotions that can drive such urges. New research suggests that utilizing naltrexone can dramatically reduce the chance of relapse, HealthDay reports. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of opioid narcotics, which means if an addict were to use oxycodone or heroin they would not experience a high. The participants in the study were all opioid-addicted adults with history involving the criminal justice system. The participants were split into two groups, one receiving monthly naltrexone injections; the other group didn’t receive the drug but was referred to counseling and referrals to community treatment programs, according to the article.

After six months, only 43 percent of the Vivitrol group had experienced a relapse, compared with 64 percent in the other group. What’s more, no one in the naltrexone group had an overdose during the six months, compared to five overdoses in the group that did not receive the drug.

Promising Findings

“We believe our study is the first of its kind to look at the real-world effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone in community settings,” lead author at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York said in a news release. “It may be particularly effective with populations, such as recently released prisoners, who typically don’t have access to other evidence-based daily medications for opiate disorders, like methadone or buprenorphine.”

If you are in need of addiction treatment services, please contact N2 Treatment. We can help you determine the best course of action for a successful recovery, giving you the tools necessary to prevent relapse.

Raising The Tobacco Use Age to 21

tobaccoWith election season upon us, most of the talk these days regarding drug use involves what is to be done about the nation’s opioid epidemic or which states will legalize recreational marijuana use next. These are two discussion points that are of the utmost importance when it comes to addiction in America. It turns out there are some other addictive substances that are being discussed as well.

The tobacco debate, despite national smoking rates long on the decline, continues as states consider upping the legal age of tobacco use. Until recently, tobacco products could be purchased in all 50 states at the age of 18. However, there are a number of politicians and health experts who would like to see that age raised to 21, put the cancerous products on the same level as alcohol and recreational marijuana use in the states where it is allowed.

Anti-Tobacco Efforts in the 21st Century

On January 1st, the legal age to purchase tobacco in Hawaii became 21. If you thought the age restriction change was an anomaly, you may be surprised to learn that the idea made it to the mainland. This week, California lawmakers approved a measure that will raise the tobacco use age to 21, the Associated Press reports. The state assembly passed the legislation, and now awaits a signature from Governor Jerry Brown. The bill would also restrict the use of the currently unregulated e-cigarettes.

California isn’t a minor player when it comes to influencing national politics. It would seem likely that other states will follow the lead of Hawaii and California in the years to come. The American Cancer Society has applauded California’s anti-tobacco efforts, according to the article.

“With California having such a huge population, it’s going to be very impactful nationwide,” said Cathy Callaway, associate director of state and local campaigns for the American Cancer Society.

The True Scope of Tobacco

It is widely accepted that tobacco use is extremely harmful to one’s health, and the younger a person starts smoking – the longer people are likely to smoke. Tobacco use has been tied to experimentation with other mind altering substances among teenagers and young adults. On top that, the brains of 18-year olds are still developing and there continues to be much researchers don’t know about the long term effects of teenage tobacco use.

If you are in addiction recovery and still use tobacco, it is advised that you seek assistance with smoking cessation. Research tells us, that people in recovery who use nicotine products are at a greater risk of relapse.

Exercise and Craving Alcohol

exerciseWhen people get sober and begin working a program of recovery, many find themselves with a lot of energy and an urge to live healthy which beg for an outlet. Recovering alcoholics and addicts will often turn to recreational sports or aerobic exercise, joining softball leagues or getting memberships to a gym.

Living with addiction is often a sedentary existence, addicts and alcoholics have a single goal worth putting their energy into, that of finding their next buzz or high. Once accomplished, there is typically a lot of down time. When those in recovery find that the cloud of addiction has lifted from their mind, the desire to be active is strong. Most addiction counselors encourage people in recovery to engage in activities that will release endorphin’s, as long as such activities do not morph into new addictions.

Exercising Into A Glass

It turns out that people in recovery may want to be careful when it comes to exercise, as new research indicates that the activity may result in cravings for alcohol. New research has found that the people who exercise more may drink more alcohol or want to drink, Medical Daily reports. The findings indicate that the trend has to do with the brains search for reward.

When a person exercises, adrenaline is released which results in a feeling of euphoria. After the workout, many people are driven to prolong the high they have been experiencing. The findings should be particularly alarming for those in recovery who work out, lest exercise lead to a relapse.

The Last “Rep” Happens in The Bar

At Pennsylvania State University, researchers examined the health of 150 men and women between the ages of 18 and 75, according to the article. With the goal of determining the link between alcohol use following exercise, those who took part in the study filled out a questionnaire and then used a smartphone app to record daily drinking and exercise habits over three 21 day periods. The study’s authors wrote, “People drank more than usual on the same days that they engaged in more physical activity than usual.” The findings were published in the journal Health Psychology.

“In contrast to proposals that physical activity (PA) can be a substitute for alcohol use, people who engage in greater overall PA generally consume more alcohol on average than less-active peers,” wrote the study’s authors.

Recovery and Exercise

If you are working a program of recovery, it is important that you remain physically active, but it is even more important that your program stays strong. If you are working out and you are finding a heightened urge to consume alcohol afterward, it is probably best to call your sponsor and/or get to a meeting. You never want to be idle when experiencing cravings that if acted upon would jeopardize your recovery.

Working A Recovery Program While Traveling

recoveryThis time of year, for some, often involves a lot of traveling due to the national holidays. Whether you are visiting friends and family, or just looking for a respite from the cold, traveling can be stressful. Bad weather can result in unexpected delays or layovers, which can last for uncomfortable lengths of time. For most people, such occurrences are merely an inconvenience resulting in a headache; but for those in recovery from chemical dependency, traveling can be dangerous environment. People in recovery need to do everything in their power to remain strong, lest their program becomes disrupted. Sadly, many people in recovery have relapsed while on the road, but do not be discouraged, relapse does not have to be a part of your travel story.

There Are Meetings Everywhere

No matter where you are in the United States, and in many countries overseas, you can easily find 12-step recovery meetings. You can look online to find a list of local meetings to attend. If you are staying in a hotel, the concierge may be able to provide you a directory of the meetings in the area.

While 12-step meetings are relatively uniform with regard to the principles and traditions of a recovery program, how meeting houses go about things is always a little different from state to state and from city to city. You may find a new experience by attending meetings in an area foreign to you. On top of that, you will have an opportunity to meet different people who share the common bond of recovery with you. Do not shy away from attending meetings while you are traveling, especially if you find yourself struggling – sometimes your program requires you to do more than call your sponsor.

Plan, Plan, Plan…

It is important to plan your trip out ahead of time, especially if you are vacationing in early recovery. There are a number of getaway destinations that revolve around alcohol, such as Las Vegas or New Orleans. Places where you are likely to have a lot of exposure to alcohol may not be the safest place to visit.

If visiting risky places cannot be avoided, have a plan that revolves around your recovery is paramount. It is advised that you know ahead of time which meetings you plan to attend, so that upon your arrival you have safe place you can turn. It is also wise to have set time scheduled for you and your sponsor to have a conversation over the phone, it is important to be accountable to someone else while traveling in recovery.

The Hand of Recovery

Always remember that you are not alone, your support network and sponsor are always just a phone call away. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel may compromise your recovery, do not hesitate to pick up the phone. It is always easier to call your sponsor before a relapse, than it is after the fact.

Your Recovery During Thanksgiving

recoveryOn the eve of Thanksgiving, it is important that those who are working a program of recovery have a plan for the holiday. Creating a schedule will eliminate the potential of finding oneself in a dangerous situation, something that could compromise your recovery. We have a routine that we stick to every other day of the year, holidays are no different. If possible, stick to your daily recovery routine, i.e.: prayer/meditation, exercise, and meetings. You may find that you need all of these things to help you navigate the obstacles that often arise for people in recovery over the holidays.

Prayer/Meditation

Many working programs of recovery pray and/or meditate every day, sometimes more than once per day. It is an opportunity to clear one’s mind, a grounding technique that helps you stay centered throughout the day. Such practices provide people an opportunity to reflect on that which they are grateful for – family, friends, and their recovery.

The holidays can be tough for those in recovery, especially if your family is no longer present in your life. Take comfort in your peers, those in your support network that you can draw strength from when painful feelings pop up. Recovery is a communal experience, one that requires that we lean on each other for support from time to time. Who knows, your peers may need to rely upon you on Thanksgiving.

Exercise

Thanksgiving is a holiday notorious for having too much food at the table. While holidays symbolize a time for people to take a day off from the everyday and overindulge, again for those in recovery it is critical that you stick to your daily routine.

Letting up on your exercise during a holiday is not necessarily frowned upon, but one should remain cognizant of how they are feeling. If you have an daily exercise routine and you choose to pass on it for the day, you may find yourself feeling a little off, do not let those feelings run away with themselves. Acknowledge that your routine has been disrupted and do your best to pull yourself out of the funk. If you need to call your sponsor or a friend in recovery, pick up the phone.

Meetings

Fortunately, major holidays are time when there are no shortage of meetings being held throughout the day. In many areas, Alcathons and Narcathons are being held, meetings are held at the top of every hour of the day. Do your best to attend your home group, but if you find yourself in need of another meeting – go to another meeting. Nobody ever relapsed by going to too many meetings during a holiday.

Our Hope

At N2 Treatment, we would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. If you are actively working a program of recovery, we hope that you will have a safe and sober holiday.

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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Smoking May Be Bad for Your Recovery

recoveryLiving a life of recovery is not easy, but it is certainly worth it. After living in addiction for many years, learning to navigate the waters of life, coping with the daily trials and tribulations free from drugs and alcohol takes vigilance. It is often said that one’s addiction is right outside the door doing pushups, waiting for you to be off guard.

Whatever one can do to minimize the chance of relapse is crucial. Active members in recovery will avoid dangerous situations like the plague, keeping away from old friends and out of places that can jeopardize one’s sobriety.

Smokey Speed Bumps On The Road To Recovery

New research suggests that people in recovery who smoke cigarettes are at a greater risk of relapse, HealthDay reports. The study found that people in recovery who smoke are twice as likely to start drinking again with three years, compared to nonsmokers.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health used data from 35,000 adults with a past alcohol use disorder. The findings held even after accounting for:

  • Mood
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Nicotine Dependence

Something to Consider

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health. But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it will help them stay sober,” said lead author Renee Goodwin. Goodwin is an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

The findings were published in Alcoholism: Experimental and Clinical Research.

If you or a loved one is entering treatment for a substance use disorder, it is important to discuss smoking cessation options. Smoking is harmful to one’s health, and for those in recovery – quitting may increase the chances of success after treatment.
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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

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