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Vivitrol Aids Recovery from Addiction to All Drugs

by James Heller 26. October 2012 09:20
It’s very rare for addicts to be monogamous with their drug of choice.  They usually abuse alcohol as well.  Even if they don’t, alcohol use in early recovery could pave a path back to addiction with the same or another drug.  Especially when individuals have had multiple relapse issues, prevention of another could come in the form of alcohol craving reduction.
 
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol for alcohol and opiate craving reduction.  This monthly injection of Naltrexone has helped many who suffer from alcoholism and opiate addiction.  They have achieved long-term sobriety when they previously struggled with relapses.  Vivitrol works with brain chemistry to minimize the distraction and temptation of this major relapse trigger.

Alcohol is a drug, just like any other.  Most addicts abused alcohol before they tried the drug they eventually became addicted to, and either combined the two (or more) or cut back on alcohol.  In any of these cases, alcohol holds a psychological connection with dependence on the drug of choice.  

In recovery, the suggestion is to remain abstinent from all drugs, including those that were not a part of the problem.  This is to avoid the problem of cross addiction.  The disease of Addiction causes sufferers to seek an escape mechanism because they can’t cope with normal life occurrences.  So, cocaine addicts in recovery might think it is okay to have a glass of wine because alcohol was not a problem before drug rehab.  

The addicted mind works in such strange ways that alcohol might not be the biggest threat.  Methamphetaminemarijuana, and cocaine addicts may have a history of being prescribed opiate painkillers from a past injury.  This is a great temptation for someone who is desperately trying to remain abstinent.  The “pain” mysteriously reappears, quite often, and the addict requests another prescription.  Unfortunately, there are far too many doctors who are willing to accommodate.

Whether the hope is to avoid alcohol or opiate abuse, Vivitrol is the solution.  After the first 30 days without alcohol or other drugs, recovering addicts of any drug will see the benefits of total abstinence.  By eliminating the possibility of cross addiction with alcohol or opiates, and blocking that psychological path to their drug of choice, addicts to any drug have a better chance for long-term recovery.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol Dependence and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

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Understanding Cocaine Addiction from the Vaccine

by James Heller 9. October 2009 11:57
People who don’t suffer from drug addiction, and most who do, do not understand the process of this disease.  Even if they are curious, it seems like a daunting task to even begin learning about how the addicted brain works.  So it is fortunate that the potential cocaine vaccine is in the news because the information is currently widely available.

Many individuals are content with the knowledge that drug addiction is a physical and psychological disease that operates on obsessions and cravings, if that much.  When the disease hits home, though, that information just doesn’t seem enough.  By then their attention is focused on the visible problem rather than the processes that make it happen.

As interest grows among the general public, more will be written and reported about the cocaine vaccine.  Each new article reveals a piece of the puzzle that makes up the processes of the addicted brain.  This is important for those seeking understanding because the research is bringing many facts to light about the underlying disease of addiction in an easy-to-read manner.  

A basic understanding of the normal brain processes may be necessary in reading some articles.  But most articles on the subject are taking that fact into account and giving brief explanations.  So just starting to read articles about the cocaine vaccine should yield better understanding of the disease of addiction.

An article has been posted on Sciencedaily.com about computer models of cocaine addicts’ brains.  A portion is copied below.  It is a good example of an article that may seem complex, but is understandable and can encourage further reading.

-- Begin external content --

Glutamate is the major chemical released in the synaptic connections in the brain; the right amount present determines the activity of those connections. Using the computational model, MU researchers found that in an addict’s brain excessive glutamate produced in the pleasure center makes the brain’s mechanisms unable to regulate themselves and creates permanent damage, making cocaine addiction a disease that is more than just a behavioral change.

“Our model showed that the glutamate transporters, a protein present around these connections that remove glutamate, are almost 40 percent less functional after chronic cocaine usage,” Mohan said. “This damage is long lasting, and there is no way for the brain to regulate itself. Thus, the brain structure in this context actually changes in cocaine addicts.”

-- Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090922160104.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides addiction education and medication assisted treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

More on the Potential Cocaine Vaccine

by James Heller 8. October 2009 13:14
The trials on a possible cocaine vaccine may lead to promising new developments in Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).  One piece of good news is that this vaccine may lead to more that reduce cravings for other drugs, like heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana for example.  Also, the research to date indicates that we will learn more about how the addicted brain works.

MAT enhances outcomes in alcohol and drug treatment by reducing high-risk factors for relapse.  The potential cocaine vaccine, and possible others down the road, could help patients focus more on treatment without the distraction of cravings.  So even if this vaccine doesn’t succeed in trials, these advancements bring hope to those suffering from drug addiction.

Already, we’ve seen positive results from the use of Vivitrol for alcohol craving reduction.  While these medications should not be considered a cure for alcoholism and drug addiction, they help individuals in treatment to achieve long-term recovery.  The impact can be great in terms of having more recovering individuals participating positively to the community.

The following is a portion of an article posted on Behavioral Health Central’s website.  The full article contains some very interesting details.

-- Begin external content --

It’s important to note that much of the cocaine use that continued was to test the blockade effect. This testing showed that euphoric effects were blocked even when if a participant used 10 times the amount of cocaine they used in the past. “They were describing that they were not getting a high from it, and then they eventually just ran out of money,” said Dr. Kosten. “So the optimal treatment will require repeated booster vaccinations in order to maintain these optimal antibody levels, probably every two to three months.”
 
Dr. Kosten indicated that most patients would need about two years of treatment, some perhaps even longer because of a history long-term cocaine use. He said, in the general population, many patients don’t show up for treatment until they’ve been dependent on cocaine for 6 to 8 years.
 
“It’s at about week eight in the vaccination process that [participants] are getting a sufficient level of these blocking antibodies present. For the future, we see this as a very promising step towards an effective medication for cocaine addiction.”

-- Source: http://behavioralhealthcentral.com/index.php/2009100698964/Special-Features/lead-investigator-in-cocaine-vaccine-study-talks-about-promising-results.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides medication assisted treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

A Vaccine for Cocaine Addiction?

by James Heller 6. October 2009 13:46
Alcohol and drug treatment has seen a new promising advancement in Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).  With the successful use of opioid replacement therapy for heroin addicts and Vivitrol for alcohol cravings, there is now hope for those suffering from cocaine addiction.

MAT is not the pursuit of miracle drugs that cure alcohol dependence and drug addiction.  It is type of therapy that has proven to enhance cognitive behavioral treatment.  When patients add MAT to the alcohol and drug treatment regimen, they are less distracted by the physical and craving aspects of the disease.

Cocaine addiction is driven by strong cravings.  Physical withdrawals are not as much of a factor, as would be the case with alcohol, heroin, or prescription drugs like Vicodin and Xanax.  So reducing or eliminating those cravings can have a significant effect on a cocaine addict remaining abstinent.

The vaccine being tested has shown to reduce relapse rates in enough cocaine addicts to give it a promising grade.  The full study has been published on the Archives of General Psychiatry website at this link: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/66/10/1116.  And while trials continue on the vaccine, this is promising news for cocaine addicts everywhere.

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A vaccine to treat cocaine dependence yielded good results in a phase-2 clinical trial and will be tested next year in a larger study, researchers reported today.

The cocaine vaccine is not intended to prevent addiction but instead is designed for use with other treatments, such as behavioral therapy, to assist people in recovery. The vaccine is among a number of research projects relying on similar technology to treat nicotine, heroin and methamphetamine addiction.

-- Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2009/10/cocaine-vaccine.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides medication assisted treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.