While fentanyl falls into the opioid category of drugs, a fentanyl addiction can unfortunately raise more alarm than many of the other opioids because of its potency. Fentanyl is between 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and one of the drugs most responsible for the current opioid crisis within the United States.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid legally administered to patients following surgery as a pain medication, or given to an individual with chronic pain who is tolerant of other opioids (meaning they require a higher dose for it to be effective). It is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it is approved for medical use, but also has a high potential for abuse. Prescription fentanyl is administered as Actiq®, Duragesic® and Sublimaze® and should only be taken under the strict recommendations of a medical professional. Even a few days on a fentanyl prescription can lead to an addiction.
Fentanyl can also be administered illegally, in the form of lozenges, eye drops, nasal sprays and powder, to name a few. In order to get a high, very little fentanyl needs to be consumed, but illegal drug dealers are known for mixing fentanyl with other opioids like heroin or cocaine, thereby creating a lethal substance. Some individuals will end up overdosing simply because they were unaware that what they were consuming contained fentanyl.
Fentanyl can have alarming effects on one’s body. Firstly, it’s known to slow down, and in extreme cases, stop breathing. Fentanyl, in addition to the high, can cause drowsiness, sedation and unconsciousness, confusion, nausea and constipation.
Signs of a fentanyl addiction include:
- Tolerance – needing higher doses of the drug in order to achieve a satisfactory high, which can quickly lead to overdose
- Withdrawal symptoms like pain, intense cravings, trouble sleeping and nausea when fentanyl use is stopped
- Exorbitant time is spent seeking out, using and recovering from fentanyl, as well as hyper-focused energy on nothing but the drug use
- Inability to quit or reduce usage even though it has negative effects on all areas of life, including work, home and personal relationships
- The development of risky behavior during usage, which can lead to overdose
Fentanyl addiction treatment
When a brain is addicted to a drug, be it fentanyl or another opioid, breaking the addiction can be an unpleasant and difficult task, but never an impossible one. If you are worried about a fentanyl addiction in yourself or a loved one, it might be time to consider the benefits of fentanyl addiction treatment.
The first stage of fentanyl addiction treatment includes the admissions process, whereby the treatment center learns more about the client and their experience with the drug. Personal and medical history, treatment goals, life stories, are all taken into consideration during admission in order to create a personalized treatment plan. Addiction is not the same for everyone, nor is addiction treatment.
Following admission, clients are led through fentanyl detox, where they might be medically assisted as the addictive drug is expelled from the body. Medically assisted detox is an effective method of slowly weaning the body off fentanyl through the use of medications which ease withdrawal symptoms. It’s not a method of replacing one drug with another, rather, it’s the safe usage of a non-addictive medicine to safely wean the body off an addictive substance.
Partial hospitalization and/or intensive outpatient programs
Once the body is cleansed of the toxins, the second stage of recovery and fentanyl addiction treatment can begin. This might include a partial hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP).
Outpatient programs allow individuals to continue their addiction treatment in a medical facility while still being able to return home each evening. This allows for a secure environment in which to recover, but also the comfortable environment of one’s own home.
Outpatient programs, such as those offered through October Road, also allow you to continue living aspects of normal life – such as continuing to work your job or pursue higher education – while also undergoing treatment. After all, treatment programs should offer you everything you need to get you back on your feet post-addiction, so why not begin that as early as possible?
Perhaps one of the most sought out benefits of outpatient treatment programs is the appeal of a personalized, flexible, effective program. Not only will your therapist work alongside you to develop a rehab plan that best suits your needs and lifestyle, but you’ll find support through group therapy, healing through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and a new perspective through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). You’ll be drawn to the idea of making recovery your own, versus something someone says you should go through. When a desire for recovery comes from within your own spirit, relapse and a temptation to return to old habits are less likely to arise as frequently.
Reach out today
Unfortunately, with a fentanyl addiction, time is of the essence. If you or a loved one are struggling with a fentanyl addiction, or signs of addiction present themselves, it’s vital to reach out for help as soon as possible. To speak with an addiction counselor, or talk about fentanyl treatment options and benefits, contact October Road today at 888-201-5086.