The current opioid drug epidemic in the U.S. is all over the news. What often starts off as a legitimate medical need, prescription medication for pain, leads to physical dependency, then to addiction, and then in some circumstances, to overdose and death. One of the most dangerous prescribed opioids today is fentanyl. It’s a powerful painkiller, even in low doses, and like other opioids, it’s extremely addictive.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II opioid drug that has a very high potential for abuse and addiction. Typically, the prescription painkiller is used to treat the acute pain that follows surgery or for the worst chronic pain patients have, often from terminal illnesses like cancer. Fentanyl is a very effective painkiller when it’s used properly. However, with the high risk of dependence and addiction, it can be quite dangerous, even for those who take it as prescribed.
Fentanyl is about 30-50 times stronger than the street opioid heroin, and as much as 50-100 times more potent than morphine. This puts even regular heroin users at risk for overdosing if they choose to use fentanyl in excess. Fentanyl is used in different ways, including as a pill, lozenge, injection, or transdermal patch.
Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse
It’s important to be able to identify the signs of fentanyl abuse and addiction, especially for family members of anyone who uses the medication, or any other opioid painkillers, to manage chronic pain.
Fentanyl addiction signs and symptoms include:
- Feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and a sense of well-being
- Confusion, dizziness, and lightheadedness
- Lethargy, drowsiness, or even sedation
- Stomach issues like nausea, vomiting, or constipation
- Increased tolerance to the medication
- Exhibiting drug-seeking behaviors
- Respiratory arrest
- Withdrawal symptoms when use is decreased or stopped abruptly
While it can sometimes be difficult to recognize fentanyl abuse, multiple signs from the list along with drug-seeking and other addictive behaviors may indicate abuse.
Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction
The good news about fentanyl addiction is that it is treatable when users are fortunate enough to avoid or survive overdoses. Inpatient addiction treatment programs are typically recommended for people who are addicted to fentanyl. Often times, outpatient treatment just isn’t enough for those who are addicted to fentanyl or other opioids.
Inpatient treatment provides clients with the best chances of long-lasting recovery. While attending inpatient treatment, clients will have distraction-free time to work on their recovery. The treatment will focus on group and individual therapy, addiction education, learning coping and life skills, 12-step programs, and relapse prevention techniques. The days in treatment are structured and busy, and you’ll benefit from the peer support and around-the-clock care you receive. Additionally, you will be evaluated for any underlying psychological or psychiatric issues you may have. It’s very common for people who are addicted to drugs to have co-occurring mental health issues.
Another benefit of attending a treatment program is the aftercare you can take part in. Opioid addictions have a high relapse rate, so it’s important to stay connected to your support systems. Most addiction facilities offer programs that clients can attend after they have completed their inpatient treatment.
Finding Fentanyl Addiction Treatment in Fresno
If you or a loved one are using the prescription painkiller fentanyl and want to stop, it’s important that you do so in a medically supervised setting. Detox from fentanyl can be very uncomfortable and may cause serious medical issues. Attending an addiction treatment facility will make withdrawal symptoms more manageable and your detox safer.
The first step to recovery from fentanyl is asking for help. If you are struggling with addiction, My Time Recovery can help. Call us today for more information.