Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid generally prescribed to treat severe pain after surgery. It may also be used as anesthesia or prescribed for people with chronic pain and tolerance to opioids. Incredibly potent, fentanyl is stronger than both morphine and heroin. It is also highly addictive, leading to the need for a fentanyl addiction treatment program. If you’re looking for substance abuse treatment programs, Vertava Health is here for you. Contact our fentanyl addiction treatment center today at 844.451.0263 to learn more.
What Is Fentanyl?
It’s been turned from an effective measure for treating severe pain to a commonly used and deadly street drug. In addition, fentanyl is still used in medical settings under the brand names Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. Medical professionals are likely to administer fentanyl via tablet form, a medicated adhesive patch, or injection.
On the streets, fentanyl is bought and sold as a powder, in tablets made to look like other prescription opioids, dissolved on paper tabs, and laced with or substituted for heroin. Fentanyl addiction is likely to develop from these non-medical forms sold on the street and manufactured illegally in labs.
Much of the fentanyl produced is manufactured in China and smuggled across borders, eventually reaching people in the US by mail delivery or drug cartels. Due to its high potency and relative ease of manufacturing, fentanyl has become enormously profitable to make and sell.
Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Opioid Drug Addiction
People suffering from fentanyl addiction will likely show signs of typical drug-seeking behavior. This includes compulsively using fentanyl or other opioids, craving fentanyl, showing impaired judgment relating to fentanyl, and continuing to use fentanyl despite obvious harm.
Fentanyl use is also likely to cause certain symptoms and may include:
- Blurred vision
- Respiratory depression (slowed breathing)
A person with a fentanyl addiction may have initially suffered from another opioid addiction. People misusing opioids are likely to develop a tolerance, meaning their response to the drug, or high, isn’t as powerful as it once was.
It’s crucial to spot the signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction because the misuse of fentanyl is extremely dangerous. Treatment options should be considered immediately in order to avoid the life-threatening dangers of fentanyl addiction.
Potent Dangers and Overdose Of Fentanyl Opioid Drug Addiction
Those suffering from fentanyl addiction are the ones who pay the ultimate price. Fentanyl use creates a powerful state of relaxation and euphoria that makes it highly addictive. By changing the brain in areas that respond to pain and emotion, fentanyl addiction can be very difficult to overcome without treatment.
What’s more, a very small amount of fentanyl can kill a person, making overdose common for people using fentanyl. Knowing the signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction can help a person look into treatment options before the dangers of the drug take hold.
Fentanyl use directly affects areas of the brain that control a person’s breathing. The high potency of fentanyl can cause breathing to be slowed to a dangerous rate that may cause death. Breathing problems for those suffering from fentanyl addiction are usually one of the main factors in overdose deaths.
How Common Is Fentanyl Overdose?
Overdose deaths caused by fentanyl and other opioids have been on the rise since the 1990s. Overdose from fentanyl can occur by taking fentanyl alone or by mixing it with other opioids, like heroin.
Heroin laced with synthetic fentanyl is said to be 30 to 50 times more potent than straight heroin and, therefore, extremely dangerous. Fentanyl-laced heroin is a major contributor to the current opioid crisis facing the United States. If a person is going through fentanyl or opioid overdose, 9-1-1 should be contacted immediately.
Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose may include:
- Blue lips or fingernails
- Cold and clammy skin
- Slow breathing
While a fentanyl overdose can be life-threatening, the deadly effects may be reversed by a drug called naloxone. However, this medication is only effective if it’s given in time, which is shortly after overdose symptoms occur. It comes as a nasal spray or injector, and many professionals are advocating a standard to make naloxone more accessible to save lives.
Due to the potency of the drug, a person suffering from fentanyl addiction may not last long. Consistent use of fentanyl will likely lead to overdose and death. Stopping use, however, can be difficult because the person will likely be dependent on fentanyl, meaning they will experience painful withdrawal when they stop using.
Fentanyl Opioid Overdose, Withdrawal, And Detox
As an opioid, fentanyl is likely to cause uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal for a person struggling with addiction. Withdrawal occurs after a person forms a physical dependence and then stops using the drug; their body requires time and adjustment to recover.
The duration of withdrawal depends on the person, frequency of use, and how much they usually took.
The more severe the addiction to fentanyl, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms.
Early symptoms of withdrawal are likely to include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Abdominal cramping
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Involuntary leg movements
People with a history of fentanyl addiction are assumed to have built a strong opioid dependence. This may lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and irregular heart rate. When withdrawal is severe, people may undergo medically supervised detoxification, or detox, to help manage the pain and severity of symptoms.
Medically supervised detox generally occurs in a hospital or inpatient treatment center where professionals are able to administer medications to make the detox and withdrawal process more tolerable and less painful. Detox is not a cure for addiction, and different treatment options should follow for the effective management of fentanyl addiction.
Can Medication-Assisted Treatment Support Fentanyl Addiction Recovery?
Like other opioids, medication-assisted treatment or MAT may be used to treat a person suffering from fentanyl addiction. Medications such as buprenorphine (Subutex and Suboxone), naltrexone (Vivitrol), and methadone have shown success in decreasing cravings and overdose. It can also increase the likelihood of people participating and completing treatment. Because of the status of opioid misuse in the United States, research is currently being done to find more medications that are effective for people addicted to fentanyl.
While the use of MAT may depend on the particular rehab facility, inpatient treatment centers are likely the best course of action for treating a fentanyl addiction. Inpatient treatment centers will likely have access to medications and can also provide 24 hours, around-the-clock care. Through careful monitoring and observation, inpatient treatment centers strive to give people the best possible chance of managing addiction.
MAT will likely not be effective if it’s not combined with behavioral therapy.
Using Behavioral Therapy to Treat Fentanyl Addiction
Behavioral therapies are likely to be offered at inpatient treatment centers and may include support groups, one on one counseling, and other more intensive behavioral treatment options.
The goal of behavioral therapy is to push a person to reconsider their thinking and attitudes towards drugs. By talking with counselors, medical professionals, and others suffering from addiction, the hope is for people to develop the skills and tools needed to remain sober after treatment and live a balanced life.
Seek Support at Vertava Health Today
If you’re suffering from fentanyl addiction, we can help. Vertava Health has developed a fentanyl addiction treatment program that can address your unique needs. Contact us today at 844.451.0263 for more information on treatment options for fentanyl addiction, and get the help you or your loved one need to overcome addiction.