Choosing the Best Inpatient Naltrexone Rehab Centers

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Calendar icon Last Updated: 03/7/2022

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Choosing an inpatient naltrexone rehab may seem overwhelming at first, but having the knowledge you need can help ease your worries. Treatment for opioid addiction and alcohol use disorder is available to help you achieve sobriety. Naltrexone (Vivitrol, Depade, Revia) is a medication that can help people stop using opioids or drinking alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved naltrexone in 1984 to treat opioid addiction, and it was then approved for alcohol use disorder in 1994.1 Naltrexone is a safe and effective medication that many rehab programs use to treat patients in recovery.

What is Naltrexone and How Does it Work?

Naltrexone is a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) option that helps people recover from opioid addiction and alcohol addiction. It is non-addictive and is not an opioid. Naltrexone is available in both a pill and a long-acting injectable form. The pill form is generally recommended for alcohol use disorder, and the injectable is recommended for opioid addiction.2

Naltrexone blocks the “feel good” receptors called dopamine in an individual’s brain associated with opioid use, such as heroin, morphine, and codeine.2 In alcohol use, naltrexone reduces cravings by interfering with the rewarding effects of alcohol in the brain. Naltrexone helps people in recovery by preventing relapse and reducing alcohol consumption.3 Combining naltrexone use with various forms of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy is helpful to achieve and maintain abstinence from opioids and alcohol, and it is rarely used as a stand-alone treatment.

What is an Inpatient Naltrexone Rehab?

Treatment options for naltrexone include inpatient rehab centers. Inpatient naltrexone rehab treatment may provide an individual with the opportunity to focus specifically on beginning sobriety in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. While in inpatient naltrexone rehab, you live on-site at the facility and receive on-site medication management, individual and group counseling, recovery coaching, and medical and mental health treatment.4

Starting naltrexone in an inpatient rehab setting allows you to begin medically supervised treatment combined with additional support, relapse prevention, and therapeutic strategies. To help prevent withdrawal symptoms, opioids must be detoxed from your system before the first naltrexone administration. This can take anywhere from 7-14 days, and the rehab staff will take laboratory tests to ensure the opioids have cleared your body before administering the naltrexone.5

A professional at the inpatient rehab will conduct an extensive mental health, substance use, and medical health assessment to ensure that naltrexone is a beneficial option for you and to minimize any risks or side effects from the MAT. The risks and benefits of naltrexone treatment will be discussed with you, and a treatment plan will be established, including the short-term and long-term objectives for your care.6 At an inpatient naltrexone rehab, naltrexone is administered to patients recovering from opioid and alcohol addictions. Various therapies or interventions may be offered, depending on the rehab’s philosophy. These may include:

  • Group Therapy: A mental health professional facilitates discussion on various psychotherapy topics and/or processing issues or concerns with a group of patients.
  • Mutual-Help Programs: These are peer-based group programs that help you receive additional support (e.g., AA, NA, Smart Recovery).
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is done with a trained therapist and focuses on addressing and reframing your thoughts and behaviors with short-term treatment goals.
  • Motivational Interviewing and Enhancement Therapies: These therapies attempt to resolve your uncertainty about alcohol and/or drug use.7
  • Family Therapy: A counselor helps you and your family heal from substance use, learn communication skills, and improve conflict resolution.

Do I Need Inpatient Naltrexone Rehab?

Inpatient naltrexone rehab may be best for those with severe alcohol or opioid addictions. Signs and symptoms of an addiction include:8

  • Unsuccessful attempts to reduce or control opioid/alcohol use
  • Cravings for opioids/alcohol
  • Drinking or using the substance more or more often than intended
  • Giving up or reducing important life activities due to opioid/alcohol use
  • Interpersonal problems caused by opioid/alcohol use
  • Developing a high tolerance to opioid/alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from opioid/alcohol use
  • Continuing to consume the substance despite physical or psychological problems caused by opioid/alcohol use
  • Using opioids or alcohol in dangerous situations, such as while driving
  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining and using alcohol or opioids

If you have six or more of the above symptoms, you may have a severe opioid use disorder or alcohol use disorder and inpatient naltrexone rehab may be a good choice for you.

You may also want to consider inpatient naltrexone rehab if you:

  • Have co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety
  • Don’t have a sober support system at home
  • Don’t have stable housing or transportation to get to an outpatient center
  • Prefer the extra structure and routine
  • Have previously dropped out of an outpatient program
  • Want to escape your everyday using environment

Treatment is most effective with consistency, and being in an inpatient program will provide you with that opportunity.

How to Choose an Inpatient Naltrexone Rehab

Many treatment programs integrate naltrexone into a treatment plan. Choosing the best one for you depends on your needs, treatment preferences, and priorities. Symptoms of opioid or alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and even deadly.9,10 You can choose other options over quitting “cold turkey,” such as a medically monitored detox, which can be offered as part of the inpatient naltrexone rehab process. Therefore, you should ask about the detoxification process options at an inpatient naltrexone rehab program.

Additionally, you may consider certain things when choosing a program, including:

  • Whether the program accepts your insurance
  • The treatment setting and environment (e.g., beach vs. mountain vs. desert)
  • Where the program is located (e.g., close to home or traveling for rehab)
  • The program’s accreditations
  • Staff credentials
  • Program rules
  • Amenities and features

How Effective Is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone’s effectiveness for alcohol and opioid addiction has been extensively researched. Many of these studies have combined MAT with behavioral intervention. A 2007 study in Alcohol and Alcoholism with 234 randomized subjects reported that patients in the naltrexone group significantly reduced their alcohol intake and reported an increase in their quality of life.11 A more comprehensive review of the literature reported positive outcomes for the use of naltrexone for opioid and alcohol dependence. It further reported that the extended-release form of naltrexone had a positive impact on medication adherence.12

As with most conditions, a combination of medication management and therapy is the standard of care. Naltrexone is no different and is the most effective when combined with therapies that teach you coping strategies, impulse control and emotional regulation skills, how to recognize your triggers, and beyond.

If you are having difficulties abstaining from or reducing your opioid or alcohol use, inpatient naltrexone rehab treatment may be right for you. Call 800-926-9037 (Info iconWho Answers?) to speak to an addiction treatment support specialist and find an inpatient naltrexone rehab center near you.


  1. Hartwell, E. E., Feinn, R., Morris, P. E., Gelernter, J., Krystal, J., Arias, A. J., Hoffman, M., Petrakis, I., Gueorguieva, R., Schacht, J. P., Oslin, D., Anton, R. F., & Kranzler, H. R. (2020). Systematic review and meta-analysis of the moderating effect of rs1799971 in OPRM1, the mu-opioid receptor gene, in response to naltrexone treatment of alcohol use disorder. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 115(8), 1426-1437.
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