Signs of Naltrexone Addiction

Naltrexone is a prescription medication for attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and narcolepsy. It is a central nervous system stimulant belonging to the amphetamine family. In the 1960s and 70s, it was commonly prescribed as a diet aid due to an amphetamine's ability to suppress the appetite. Strict controls have greatly reduced its medical use. It is available in capsule and tablets form.

Naltrexone is federally regulated and considered a class II controlled substance. The U.S. army provides Naltrexone to pilots that have to fly long distances. College students also wrongly use it as an aid to stay awake when they need to study late at night. The use of Naltrexone has a number of troubling side effects including but not limited to addiction, weight loss, sexual difficulties and liver toxicity.

Since Naltrexone is prescribed for those with chronic conditions, it is often taken for more than 90 days which increases the chances that patients will become addicted to the drug. Over time, the patient builds a tolerance for the drug and needs to take more of it to achieve the same effect, which leads to dependence on the drug.

Signs of Naltrexone Dependence

Naltrexone dependence is different from addiction. Those who are dependent on the drug may exhibit the following signs:

  • Use of the medication in a different way than prescribed
  • Taking more than prescribed
  • Lying about losing the medication to get more
  • Attempting to refill the medication before a refill is required
  • Going to several doctors to get more prescriptions for the medication
  • Asking others who take the medication for their pills
  • Stealing pills from others
  • Constantly thinking about where the next dose is coming from

Patients that become dependent on Naltrexone find it hard to get through their day without the medication. They do not feel "normal" without it. If a patient exhibits any of these signs, they should get help for their Naltrexone dependence. If the dependence is not curbed or eliminated, in time it will become an addiction.

Signs of Naltrexone Addiction

Naltrexone addiction is different from Naltrexone dependence. Obviously, the patient becomes dependent on the drug before he becomes addicted. The difference is that someone who is addicted does not even know it until they are without the drug. When someone uses a stimulant such as Naltrexone, after the euphoria subsides, there is a "crash" period in which the user feels very depressed and sluggish. These symptoms are very similar to what anyone addicted to a stimulant, such as methamphetamines, would experience without the drug.

Symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

  • Long but restless sleep
  • Inability to keep still
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling "hung-over"
  • Depression
  • Violence

Addiction can also come about voluntarily. There are those who take Naltrexone not for a specific condition but to get a high and enjoy the euphoria that abusing the drug can provide. Naturally if they are taking the drug for pleasure, they are not abiding by any of the rules of prescription. In fact, some abusers crush the pills and snort them to get the drug into the bloodstream more quickly through the mucous membranes. These people are much more likely to take more than the recommended dose which eventually leads to dependence and addiction.

Help for Naltrexone Addiction

If you or someone you love is dependent on or addicted to Naltrexone, there is help. Many drug treatment programs are equipped to deal with addiction to amphetamines. Treatment can consist of outpatient meetings and therapy or sometimes inpatient therapy. Some programs offer ultra rapid detoxification, which quickly rids the body of the drug and ends physical addiction, which may work well for some patients. Others may need a more gradual approach to finally rid them of the dependence. Whatever the patient chooses, they will still need therapy and follow up for an extended amount of time after they complete the treatment program.

If you or a loved one is addicted to Naltrexone please seek medical attention before attempting to stop using the drug. Often, withdrawal from the drug can produce suicidal thoughts and without medical attention, death may occur. Addiction is a physical medical condition that requires medical attention to treat. You should not do it alone. You do not have to do it alone. Contact your local drug rehabilitation centers or call Narcotics Anonymous for more help.