Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. It was first developed as a means of treating intense pain after surgery or due to cancer, yet its abuse and inadvertent presence in other illicit substances has caused a surge in overdose deaths, according to the CDC. This led to media interest and was associated with a record high of 56,000 fatalities last year alone.
Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms
Fentanyl can have a variety of effects on an individual, from extreme happiness to drowsiness to confusion, as well as physical side effects like nausea, constipation, and breathing difficulties. Any opioid, including fentanyl, can cause dependence and addiction. The longer someone takes any opioid, including fentanyl, the more likely they are to become dependent.
A person who stops taking fentanyl may experience severe withdrawal symptoms as soon as a few hours after their last dose. These symptoms include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Sleep problems
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Cold flashes with goosebumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Severe cravings
Generally, withdrawal from fentanyl is not life threatening. However, withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, so to help alleviate these symptoms, medications have been developed, including Lofexidine to provide relief during the process. It's a non-opioid medicine that reduces withdrawal symptoms. NSS-2 Bridge is another option. In the acute withdrawal phase, this small electrical nerve stimulator can ease symptoms. It is placed behind the ear of the user.
Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms
Immediately call 911 if someone appears to be overdosing on fentanyl. Administer naloxone (Narcan) as soon as possible to reverse the effects of the opiate. Signs someone may be overdosing on fentanyl include:
- Blue lips and complexion
- Gurgling or slow breathing
- Chest pain
- Seizure or stiffening of the body
- Confusion or strange behavior
- Passing out
There are test strips available for drug users to determine if fentanyl has been added to other substances, helping to prevent accidental overdoses when the user is not aware of the addition.
Fentanyl Abuse Treatment
The most effective way to treat fentanyl addiction involves a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. Medications such as Buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are prescribed for fentanyl abuse recovery. Health care professionals will evaluate the individual and determine the best treatment combination.
Redemption Addiction Treatment Center was founded by recovering addicts. Our treatment plan, which is based on the most crucial ingredients for recovery: love, empathy, and direction set us apart from the competition by providing and utilizing proven medical and clinical approaches. Call us today to start your journey to recovery!