Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is approximately 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl works to relieve pain through blocking pain receptors in the brain and increases the production of dopamine. Fentanyl is prescribed to treat pain that is severe, such as after surgery, cancer treatment, or pain that breaks through even after the use of other pain management methods.
Fentanyl has a high risk for abuse and addiction due to the relaxation and intense euphoria it causes in those who misuse the drug. Some of the symptoms of fentanyl abuse include:
- Slowed breathing
- Blurred vision
Fentanyl can significantly impact the central nervous system due to the excess amoints of dopamine flooding to the brain. Over time, the excess dopamine can chemically alter the brain of individuals who abuse fentanyl. These neurochemical changes may then cause someone who is taking fentanyl to become dependent on the drug. After someone becomes chemically dependent on fentanyl, they may begin to have to take increased amounts of fentanyl in order to feel normal or bring their body to homeostasis.
Treatment of Fentanyl
For many individuals, it is not safe to quit fentanyl use completely at once. Fentanyl withdrawal can cause extremely uncomfortable or life threatening symptoms if fentanyl use is ceased completely at once or if the dose is reduced. It is important to keep in mind that in order to detox from fentanyl, an individual must be under the guidance and supervision of medical professionals. A medical detox is the only safe way to withdraw from fentanyl. There are both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers that offer treatment for individuals who are dependent on fentanyl. Individuals who go through the detox and treatment process for fentanyl have a better chance of long term sobriety if they attend a treatment facility that offers professional medical treatment and supervision during the process of detox. Withdrawal from fentanyl can cause the following symptoms:
- Abdominal cramping
- Runny Nose
- Muscle Aches
- Muscle Spasms
Due to fentanyl’s powerful effects, the detox process is sometimes difficult. Individuals who detox from fentanyl typically experience extreme discomfort due to the withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals often prescribe medications to individuals going through fentanyl withdrawal in order to help them manage and possibly shorten the duration of the detox treatment process. Further, medical professionals may also prescribe medications to ease other withdrawal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea.
Fentanyl treatment occurs in stages and each person’s treatment plan will differ based on their own individual factors. Treatment for fentanyl dependency is conducted by medical professionals, mental health professionals, and addiction specialists. These professionals are there to guide each individual receiving treatment through each step of recovery including:
- Continuing care
The majority of treatment centers that focus on fentanyl dependency use medication assisted therapy, which is a combination of behavioral therapies and medication management. Medication assisted therapy has been shown to be the most effective in treating opioid and fentanyl dependency. Medications that are often prescribed in medication assisted therapy for individuals with fentanyl dependency include methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, suboxone, and clonidine. After an individual is near the completion of their rehabilitation and treatment, the staff at the center will work with the individual to develop an aftercare plan. An aftercare plan includes the details of an ongoing follow up treatment. This ongoing follow up treatment often includes attending outpatient treatment, group therapy, support groups, or counseling. This plan may also include creating a powerful support group as well as involvement in hobbies that are relaxing or pleasant.
If you or a loved one would like more information regarding treatment for fentanyl use or dependency, please contact us today at 833-610-1174. We look forward to speaking with you.