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naltrexone for self-harm


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Anyone take naltrexone to curb self-harm urges?

I've been half-heartedly taking it over the past two weeks. I'm not having self-harm urges, but I think it's because I don't feel depressed/psychotic (geodon is working wonders).

I guess I'm wondering if it's worth continuing to take. Does this work for anyone?

[Apologies if this is in the wrong spot]

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I had side effects from it that I couldn't handle and wasn't on it long enough to notice any real results or lack thereof. I have heard great things about it from others. 

Just remember that what works for one person may not work for the next. How well a med works is unique to the individual. 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Naltrexone blocks the opiate receptors, as it is used to save people that have overdosed on heroin or other opiates.  It is an opiate antagonist.  There is no direct effect on self harm urges.  However, it does have effects on similar receptors that self harm triggers.  Self harm often releases endorphins, which are endogenous opiates.  Therefore, it likely has some effects at curbing self harm or at least reducing the effects it creates. 

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Naltrexone also can be used for an eating addiction.  I am on it for that and when I tried to wean off of it I gained weight back really fast, so my pdoc put me on it again.

And it isn't all about exercise and a healthy diet to help the eating (if off the naltrexone).  At least not for me anyway.

*I don't normally post on the SI board, but when I see certain posts I like to give my opinion.

 

Edited by melissaw72
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2 hours ago, aura said:

I can't tell if it's working for me. I mean, I haven't self-harmed. But I also haven't been in a position where I really wanted/had to.

I think it could be working ... How long have you been on it?

If you had not been on naltrexone, you might have perceived something and done something to SI, whereas now that you have the med in you, you might perceive the same thing and not SI.

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I think it's important to distinguish between naloxone, aka Nar-Can, which is used for acute overdoses of opiates, and naltrexone.

Naltrexone is a longer acting opioid receptor blocker that can help prevent the endogenous opioid response (body's own pain relieving chemicals) that gives a sense of relief that often comes with self injury.

Naltrexone on it's own isn't really going to stop urges in and of itself. It seems that how it works is to make self injury "less rewarding."

It seems to have mostly been researched for "stereotypic" self injury among people with lower functioning intellectual disability, and not much research yet about non-suicidal self injury for emotion regulating purposes.

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3 hours ago, Wooster said:

Naltrexone on it's own isn't really going to stop urges in and of itself. It seems that how it works is to make self injury "less rewarding."

It seems to have mostly been researched for "stereotypic" self injury among people with lower functioning intellectual disability

Seriously?  I don't SI anymore like I did, but take naltrexone because of a food addiction, which helps get rid of the impulsive urges to do stuff, including eating.

Just saying.

I won't say anymore about this unless a post is directed to me, except to say that I'm pretty sure I am not a person "with lower functioning intellectual disability."

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What I mean when I say that naltrexone seems unlikely to stop SI urges on it's own is that it's not biochemically preventing urges directly. Rather it is decreasing the "reward value" of self harming by blocking the internal opiate response.

The part that I meant about lower functioning intellectual disability was in no way directed at anyone who is taking naltrexone. It is simply to point out that if you do an academic journal search for naltrexone and self injury, there is VERY little research that has been conducted for the kind of self harm we are talking about here. Most of the articles have been written about this drug in a different population that tends to self harm in a different way than we usually talk about here.

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This kind of confusion is why I support letting people doing self-harm research recruit here.  It really looks like people who SH do so for a bunch of different reasons; it's really a symptom and not an indication in its own right.  I tend to think the same of substance abuse. 

 

Naltrexone is known to work really well for some people with a drinking problem but not for everyone, for the exact same reasons.  I'm presently looking for someone who will prescribe it.  

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