27 Mar Do I Need Fentanyl Rehab?
If you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, fentanyl rehab is the safest and most effective way to overcome the addiction.
This is because detox and rehab centers are staffed by medical experts who specialize in addiction recovery. Detox and rehab centers will also have medicines that will keep the patient safe and comfortable.
There are many reasons why a person may not want to go to a drug rehab center, however. Some of these reasons may include shame or other negative emotions that are hard to overcome. In addition, drug addictions are often caused by underlying psychological and emotional issues. This makes it hard to beat drug addiction, as the physical and psychological components must both be dealt with.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What fentanyl is
- How Fentanyl affects the human brain
- Why fentanyl abuse is becoming a huge problem
- What happens when a person becomes addicted to fentanyl
- Why you shouldn’t quit fentanyl cold turkey
- How fentanyl addiction is treated
- The clinical trial that suggests that opiate painkillers, such as fentanyl, can be treated effectively
Of course, if you or a loved one is using fentanyl, don’t hesitate to call one of our Georgia rehab center today.
Fentanyl and its Effects
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid designed to treat terminally-ill patients and those with chronic pain syndrome who needed the strongest painkiller available. This means that though similar to morphine, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent.
Though fentanyl can be legally prescribed by doctors, it’s easy to produce, meaning it’s being manufactured in large scale on the black market. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), “synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States.”
There are many ways to take fentanyl and each way of administering it will change the effects. When used in a medical setting, it might be given as a shot, a patch worn on the skin, or in a lozenge.
Illegal forms of fentanyl can also come in various forms, from eye droppers and nasal sprays to pressed pills and powder.
Of course, a lot of illegal fentanyl is being used to cut other drugs, such as heroin, opiate painkillers, cocaine, methamphetamine, and more. Drug dealers like to use fentanyl with other drugs because of its potency. In other words, adding a small amount produces a much stronger high, saving the drug dealers money.
However, the extra money for the drug dealer results in drug uses taking fentanyl-laced drugs, greatly increasing their chance of addiction or suffering from the dangers of a fentanyl overdose. Part of the risk comes from the fact that the user doesn’t know they’re taking fentanyl, so they may take too much of it or mix it with other drugs. Either of these scenarios can be fatal.
The short term effects of fentanyl can include:
- Happiness and euphoria
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Confusion and disorientation
- Shallow and constricted breathing
- Falling asleep or losing consciousness
Long-term effects of fentanyl can include:
- Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
- Muscle stiffness, poor balance, and other movement problems
- Difficulty speaking
- Hallucinations or extreme paranoia
- Extreme weakness and fatigue
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Weight gain
- Sleeping all day
- Negative life consequences, such as losing a job
As you can see, fentanyl addiction can get very serious. It’s better for a patient to get help from a fentanyl detox center before their addiction worsens.
In the next section, you’ll learn why fentanyl poses such a big problem to those who take it.
Why is Fentanyl a Dangerous Drug?
If you watch or read the news, you’ve probably heard fentanyl mentioned. Some of the reasons fentanyl is being discussed so frequently we’ve already discussed. These include its extreme potency and that it’s easy to be produced.
But fentanyl poses a problem for other reasons as well. For example, in addition to its extreme potency, fentanyl passes the blood-brain barrier much easier than other drugs. This means it binds to opiate receptors (receptors in the brain that interact with neurochemicals and chemicals, such as fentanyl) quickly and effectively. This makes it much more addicting than other synthetic and non-synthetic opiates.
Because it’s extremely potent and crosses the blood-brain barrier readily, fentanyl is also extremely likely to cause overdose and even death. As mentioned, fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, usually without the end user knowing, which makes the drug even more dangerous.
Because fentanyl is so dangerous and likely to cause an overdose, it’s extremely important to seek treatment right away. In the next section, you’ll learn how fentanyl addiction forms and why.
What is Fentanyl Addiction?
According to the NIDA, drug addiction is “characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences.”
Addiction affects multiple brain circuits, especially those responsible for reward and motivation.
This is one of the reasons addictions can be so hard to quit. The drugs, in essence, rewire your brain’s motivation away from normal healthy pursuits and towards drug-seeking behavior.
As the NIDA puts it, “While a person initially chooses to take drugs, over time the effects of prolonged exposure on brain functioning compromise that ability to choose, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive, often eluding a person’s self-control or willpower.”
This is why many refer to addiction as a disease, specifically as a disease of the brain. Of course, some individuals are more prone to addiction than others due to genetics, environment, and other factors.
Of course, addiction, like other diseases, affect more than just the user. Addictions affect their loved ones and community. In fact fentanyl, in particular is starting to have an effect on American society as a whole, with the increasing overdose fatalities causing the first decrease in life expectancy rates since World War II.
Do I need Fentanyl Rehab?
If the high likelihood of addiction, overdose, and possible death don’t convince someone to attend a fentanyl detox and rehab program, the following will. It’s extremely difficult to detox and ultimately recover from fentanyl addiction on your own.
This is because fentanyl addiction has strong psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms. Without medicine, rehydration through IVs, and the guidance and supervision of experts, it can be extremely difficult and even dangerous to try to beat addiction on your own.
Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
Acute withdrawal symptoms are what occur shortly after drug use has been stopped. Acute withdrawal symptoms are intense but relatively short-lived. The intensity and duration of symptoms depends on a number of factors, such as severity of addiction and medical history.
When undergoing acute withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to go to a trusted drug detox center like Georgia Drug Detox. In addition to making sure you don’t relapse, a common occurrence during acute withdrawal, a drug detox center will provide medicine and other medical safety measures to ensure your body detoxes safely and effectively.
Here are some of the possible physical symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal:
- Extreme Mood Swings: Fentanyl withdrawal can bring strong emotions. Everything from anxiety and paranoia to sadness and grief. This is often part of the detox process and poses no serious long-term health risks. However, when undergoing acute withdrawal alone, a user may seek the drug to stop the extreme emotions from arising.
- Hallucinations and Delusions: Along with mood swings can come more intense psychological conditions such as hallucinations. These can be dangerous if unsupervised as someone undergoing hallucinations could be a threat to themselves or others.
- Vomiting or Diarrhea: Dehydration is a serious risk with fentanyl acute withdrawal only made more dangerous when vomiting or diarrhea occurs. This is why being at a detox center, where fluids can be administered via IVs, can prevent serious health complications. Vomiting can also cause death by asphyxiation or choking.
- Sleep Problems: Quitting fentanyl can cause insomnia or trouble staying asleep. In more serious withdrawals, this can be worsened by other withdrawal symptoms. Often, fatigue is felt during this period. This can be frustrating as one is tired yet restless.
- Spasms: Sometimes, withdrawal can cause uncontrollable movements and spasms. This can be dangerous as people undergoing withdrawal unsupervised have been known to hurt themselves.
Post Withdrawal Symptoms
Post withdrawal symptoms are the more gradual withdrawal effects felt in the days to months (for severe cases) after stopping fentanyl use. These effects will be much less intense but can still be difficult to handle and lead to relapse for many.
This is where a lot of the psychological healing and behavioral changes take place. For example, it’s often important for a recovering addict to change habits and behaviors that often lead them to use fentanyl.
There are many post withdrawal symptoms, but some of the most common include mental and emotional difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, or drug cravings.
Why You Shouldn’t Quit Fentanyl Cold Turkey
Because of the intense acute withdrawal effects, it’s not generally advised to quit fentanyl all at once. Not only can this cause health complications (or death in extremely severe cases), but the extreme symptoms almost always lead to relapse.
This is because the decision to go cold turkey often does come along with a change in behaviors, habits, and the structure of a person’s life. These are the things that led to addiction, so to overcome addiction they must be changed.
Of course, before these behaviors can be changed effectively, a user must detox from the drug in order to reduce overwhelming cravings. This first part should be overseen by medical professionals. They will be able to provide medications that will reduce the severity of the effects.
How Does Fentanyl Rehab Work?
Fentanyl rehab is a two-part process, similar to the two-part withdrawal discussed above. The two parts will be discussed in greater detail below, but the first part consists of a medically-assisted detox, while the second phase involves a routine of behavioral therapies and medications if needed.
Phase One: Detox
Phase one is often considered to be the most difficult stage. This is because Phase one is when acute withdrawal occurs. During this time, it’s important to be in a drug detox center like Georgia Drug Detox.
Here, patients are closely monitored for any medical complications. They also receive medications when necessary. These medications can reduce discomfort, relieve cravings, and help with other medical issues.
Of course, simple measures such as IVs for hydration can make a patient much more comfortable and safe as well. Most importantly, a drug detox center will ensure you don’t relapse and seek drugs to relieve the withdrawal symptoms.
Phase Two: Rehabilitate
Phase two occurs at a drug rehab center. This phase is much less intense but can be extremely difficult due to the behavioral changes required to eradicate drug addiction in the long-term.
This phase consists of a daily routine of group and individual behavioral and cognitive therapies aimed at addressing the root problems of addiction. Plus, those recovering are able to live in a structured, drug-free environment and have the support of fellow recovering addicts.
Because friends can often trigger a relapse into old habits and drug use, it’s important for recovering addicts to make friends away from drugs. This is a perfect time and place to do it.
The Science Behind Fentanyl Rehab
Detox and rehab centers have had good success getting those addicted to fentanyl and other opiates on the road to recovery. And a recent NIDA-funded clinical trial suggests that a drug rehab protocol is the most effective way to beat an opiate addiction.
This trial was performed as a three-step process that involved the medications suboxone and naltrexone. With the addition of therapy and support structure, rehab centers are the safest and most effective way to beat a fentanyl addiction.
If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction, call our Georgia drug rehab today. Asking for help is often the hardest part of recovering from addiction. But once you ask for help, you won’t have to beat it alone.
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NIDA. “Fentanyl.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 Jun. 2016,
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/fentanyl. Accessed Mar. 2019.