Fentanyl Addiction Recovery Guide
Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug that is a growing problem in the United States. In 2019, fentanyl was responsible for more than 36,000 drug overdose deaths across the country, more than any other substance.1 In 2018 in Nevada, fentanyl accounted for around 22% of all opioid overdose deaths, which was an increase from the prior year.2(1) This page will help you understand the effects of fentanyl and how to get help if you or a loved one has a fentanyl addiction.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is part of the opioid class of drugs. Opioids are powerful painkillers, including both prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin and illicit drugs like heroin. All opioids act on the opioid receptors in the brain. As a prescription medication, opioids are used to control both acute and chronic pain. Fentanyl, in particular, is used to control severe pain, such as pain associated with cancer, as fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than painkillers like morphine. Fentanyl is also used to control “breakthrough” pain, which is pain that spikes at times, even when a person is on a steady dose of prescription opioids to manage pain.3 Although fentanyl is a critically important tool for managing pain in those who need pain control, fentanyl is also frequently abused, and is often made in illegal labs for street use.4
Brand Names for Fentanyl
Fentanyl is known by several other brand names, including:5,6,7,8,9
- Duragesic, which is sold in the form of a patch that stays on the skin to provide extended-release pain control for hours.
- Actiq, a lozenge or lollipop-type product.
- Sublimaze, an injectable form of fentanyl.
- Abstral, which can be dissolved under the tongue.
- Lazanda, a nasal spray for controlling breakthrough pain in cancer patients.
Side Effects of Fentanyl
Fentanyl has an array of short- and long-term side effects, including:10
- Passing out.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Long-term fentanyl side effects can include:11
- Dry mucous membranes.
- Menstrual irregularity in women.
- Sexual dysfunction in men.
- Damage to the blood vessels in the eyes.
- Chronic constipation.
If you inject fentanyl, you also have numerous increased health risks, which include:11
- Heart infections.
- Getting HIV or hepatitis from injecting fentanyl.
- Serious problems with your veins from injecting.
- Skin infections.
You may also develop tolerance, dependence, or addiction. Tolerance is when your body gets used to a drug and needs more and more of a drug to generate the same feelings it used to give you. After tolerance occurs, you oftentimes will develop dependence. Dependence essentially means that if you stop using fentanyl, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal. Dependence is not the same thing as addiction, however. A person who takes fentanyl for a medically valid reason may develop a physical dependence, but this does not mean that they use it illegally or abuse it.12
Fentanyl Addiction Signs
The signs of fentanyl addiction include:12,13
- Numerous unsuccessful attempts to stop using fentanyl on your own.
- Interpersonal conflict around your fentanyl use.
- Using fentanyl instead of engaging in hobbies or leisure pursuits.
- Spending a lot of time using or finding fentanyl to use.
- Engaging in risky behavior, such as using fentanyl and driving, despite knowing how dangerous it is.
- Using fentanyl despite knowing that it worsens your physical or mental health.
- Taking more fentanyl than prescribed, if you are taking it for a medically valid reason.
- Taking fentanyl in a manner other than how it was prescribed, such as scraping the fentanyl out of a skin patch and injecting it.
- Using fentanyl to get high.
Coming Off Fentanyl
Some of the clear signs of addiction are physical dependence which is illustrated by the experiencing of withdrawal symptoms. If you stop using fentanyl after becoming physically dependent on it, you will experience some or all of the symptoms of withdrawal, which include:14
- Abdominal pain.
- Runny nose.
- High blood pressure.
- Abnormal or rapid heartbeat.
- Excessive yawning.
- Insomnia or other sleep issues.
While experiencing these symptoms may not necessarily correlate to addiction 100% of the time, they are a great indicator of physical dependence and prolonged use over time.
Types of Treatment for Fentanyl
If you seek professional help for fentanyl addiction, you are likely to go through some form of detox for a few days to help you withdrawal safely and comfortably. 14
After detoxing from fentanyl, most people will attend therapy in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Where detox focuses on medical stabilization and safety, inpatient and outpatient rehab instead focuses on your addiction to fentanyl and its origins.
Many factors determine whether you need inpatient or outpatient treatment. Some of the factors taken into account include if you previously attended treatment, your physical and mental health, if you are using other substances, and how long you have been addicted. You may be advised to attend inpatient treatment if you also have depression or lack transportation to get to and from an outpatient program that you need to attend several times a week. Only a professional substance abuse treatment assessment can determine the best course of treatment for your needs.14
Finding Fentanyl Rehab Near Me
American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of fentanyl addiction treatment, offering treatment locations in Nevada and across the United States. We can offer you an individualized treatment program that will address your specific needs to treat your fentanyl addiction. Our compassionate and caring staff members will be there to support and guide you in your treatment and help you find your way to long-term recovery. Call us today at our 24/7 free and confidential helpline to get started on your journey to recovery from Fentanyl addiction.
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