Right now, the nation is in the middle of an opioid use crisis. These highly addictive pain medications come in many types. One of the most dangerous is fentanyl. Understanding what fentanyl is and how it affects the body can help you take control of your own health.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid. This man-made substance is similar to morphine, but it is 50 to 100 times stronger. Due to its high potency, it is one of the most addictive drugs currently available. Fentanyl comes in many forms, including pills, powders, and even stick-on patches. Prescription medications that include fentanyl include medications like Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze.
This drug affects the brain by binding to opioid receptors and adjusting normal neurotransmitter levels. When a person takes fentanyl, they feel an intense rush of pleasure and euphoria. Some other effects include feeling drowsy, confused, or nauseous. Any pain or negative sensations may seem to go away entirely while using the drug.
There are many ways for a person to use fentanyl. Some people illegally obtain prescriptions for things like Duragesic patches, which can be applied to the skin to get high. Fentanyl can also be turned into a powder that is easily mixed into things like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. Since it is so frequently blended into other drugs as a cheap form of strengthening them, some people may first use fentanyl without even realizing it. Others turn to fentanyl intentionally because it may be cheaper and stronger than other opioids.
Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction
Almost everyone who uses fentanyl will end up dealing with some level of addiction. This drug is so potent that you can develop a physical dependency on it after using it even once. Also called a substance use disorder, this is a behavioral condition characterized by a compulsive desire to use the drug. Signs a person is addicted to fentanyl include:
- Constantly thinking about or using fentanyl
- Wanting to cut down but being unable to
- Neglective responsibilities or self-care to use fentanyl instead
- No longer having an interest in hobbies or time with loved ones
- Withdrawal symptoms when fentanyl use is discontinued
- Use of fentanyl even after experiencing negative consequences due to use
- Participating in risky behavior while obtaining or using fentanyl
What Is Fentanyl Dependency and Withdrawal?
Fentanyl is so addictive because of the way it changes your brain. Your brain tries to adjust its levels of neurotransmitters to balance all the dopamine and other hormones flooding your system due to fentanyl. When you quit taking fentanyl, this new equilibrium makes you feel sick. Your body can no longer function properly without the fentanyl. This condition is called withdrawal, and it is characterized by problems like insomnia, intense muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, tremors, anxiety, and depression. Withdrawal can set in after just a few hours without using fentanyl. It is so unpleasant that many people who want to get sober keep using just because they hate withdrawal so much.
The Dangers of Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl use disorders are one of the most dangerous types of substance abuse disorders because the drug is so potent. Miscalculating a dose by even a microscopic amount can end up killing you by slowing down your breathing so much that you die. In its purest form, just three milligrams of fentanyl can cause an overdose.
Even those who do not overdose are still at high risk. Without fentanyl use disorder treatment, addiction harms a person’s wellbeing. Many people with addictions neglect their own responsibilities, so they can end up dealing with all sorts of financial and social problems. Improper use of fentanyl can also lead to health problems like seizures and liver problems.
Fentanyl Treatment Options
If you want to stop using fentanyl, it is a good idea to get help. The drug is so addictive that it can be hard to quit using on your own.
- Medical Detox: Medical detox for opioids helps you through the first weeks without fentanyl. During medical detox, healthcare professionals monitor your condition and prescribe treatments that help keep you safe and comfortable. This makes it easier to focus on your mental health instead of thinking about how sick you feel.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): This is one of the safest and most effective ways of dealing with opioid addiction. It involves a healthcare professional prescribing you very low doses of a safe-acting opioid like methadone or buprenorphine. This helps to reduce cravings without impairing your daily functioning.
- Inpatient Fentanyl Rehab: Also called residential rehab, this treatment involves checking into a center where you get round the clock care. It is often recommended for those with fentanyl use disorders since the constant monitoring and encouragement helps address more severe addictions. There are all sorts of styles of inpatient rehab, ranging from luxury drug rehab to more basic care. In these centers, you get a blend of therapy. These therapies help you identify addiction triggers and find healthier ways of coping.
- Outpatient Fentanyl Rehab:With this type of rehab, you live at home and go to a medical center regularly for treatments. It is often useful in the later stages of recovery, when you are ready to go back to daily life but still need some attention and care.
Get Help for a Fentanyl Addiction
If you or a loved one is suffering from a fentanyl use disorder, it is important to get help as soon as possible. The right treatment can be literally life-saving. At Defining Wellness Centers, we offer a unique approach. Our luxury drug rehab centers provide a safe and comfortable environment where you can heal and focus on your mental health. We provide all levels of care, including fentanyl detox, inpatient residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and after rehab care. Take the first step to wellness by calling 855-466-4146 today.