How Can Naltrexone Make Life Better in a Pandemic?

How Can Naltrexone Make Life Better in a Pandemic?

People in true recovery are easy to spend time with.  They are in emotional recovery, not just in a state of not drinking or not using.

They are wounded healers who have found strength through their weakness. They gained wisdom through doing it wrong at first, not by doing it right.

The Cycle of Stress and Drinking

Bev is a medical professional in her fifties.  She used the Coleman Method to detox off of alcohol earlier this year and now has six months of not drinking under her belt.

Bev considered herself a “normal drinker” for many years. She liked partying and began drinking in college.  She paused her drinking when she was pregnant with her 2 daughters, but began to drink more and more as life’s demands and the stress of managing a busy medical office grew later in life.

She woke up daily with a resolution to not drink. Although she was never late or absent from work due to drinking, she often began the day with some fogginess from the previous night’s drinking. When juggling after-school activities (pre-COVID) and work assignments, she started thinking about the “reward” of a drink on the drive home every evening. She would walk into her kitchen and open a bottle of wine before she removed her coat.  She could easily drink 3 large glasses of wine while preparing dinner and listening to her kids’ share the stories of their day.

Symptoms of Opioid and Alcohol Withdrawal 

It requires courage to stop using these substances and to stay off them. At a physical level, suddenly stopping opioid use causes numerous symptoms:

  • Muscular pain
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Restlessness or sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Dilated pupils or watery eyes
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Excessive yawning 
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Insomnia 
  • Goosebumps 
  • Tremors

People dependent on alcohol who stop drinking suddenly may experience: 

  • Tremor
  • Sweating 
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Seizures
  • Fever, or water-electrolyte imbalance
  • Hallucination or delirium
  • Fast heart rate 
  • Anxiety
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Shallow breathing

Choosing to stop taking addictive substances during the COVID-19 pandemic adds another whole layer of complexity. How do I safely get the help I need? Is there a place near me to detox off opiates or alcohol so that I can minimize travel?

Why Using Naltrexone is a Good Idea During the Pandemic?

Perhaps one of the most persuasive reasons to choose naltrexone as your Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) particularly for an opioid use disorderis that unlike methadone or buprenorphine (i.e. Suboxone® or Subutex®), naltrexone doesn’t create physical dependency. Both methadone and buprenorphine-types of medications require multiple appointments and–because by law, urine drug screens are required–some of these will need to be in-person appointments. We use a unique long-acting form of naltrexone which lasts approximately two months. When making plans, this means people complete the actual detox in 5-8 days on an outpatient basis and can have follow-up appointments with our staff virtually, until the next naltrexone implant is due in two months. (Suture removal is necessary 10-12 days after receiving an implant.)

Coleman Addiction Medicine provides one of the safest and most efficient ways to take the first step in recovery, which is to stop taking the addictive substance. The Coleman Method is fully outpatient, allowing the patient and their support person to stay together during the entire treatment. We carefully control the number of patients going through detox simultaneously in order to maintain safe distancing and have implemented other measures to keep our patients safe. Our Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) in Fair Lawn, Erin Short, will continue to follow up regularly and virtually with our patients to help them personally navigate their unique path of recovery. 

If you or your loved one is looking for a safe, convenient option for detoxing during the COVID-19 pandemic that specializes in naltrexone therapy, we are here for you. Schedule a callback with one of our Care Advocates today. 

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP

Learn More About Naltrexone with Joan R. Shepherd, FNP

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