Fentanyl addiction treatment options can include a combination of detox to treat withdrawal, live-in inpatient rehab where patients can attend therapy programs under supervision, medication assisted treatments, as well as part-time outpatient programs to provide on-going support.
Prescription opioid pain relievers are one of the most common drugs of abuse in America. In 2012 alone, over 2 million people reported abusing them, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Only 169,868 of those people sought treatment, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports.
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Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid and schedule II controlled FDA approved substance. It was first synthesized in 1960 by Paul Janssen and went on to be marketed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. It is one of a handful of prescription opiates that are approved for long-term treatment plan. That being said, this may be one of the reasons that it is one of the most addictive painkillers. Fentanyl works by binding opioid receptors in the brain which are responsible for regulating pain and emotions. Prescription names for fentanyl include Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®, while common street names might include Apace, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever.
Illicit fentanyl can come as a powder, may be mixed in with other illicit drugs, or be made to look like other prescription drugs to name a few.
Symptoms of fentanyl addiction may include:
Some people may end up dependent on opioids like fentanyl due to a genetic predisposition to addiction. Children of alcoholics are a strong example of this. They are 3-4 times as likely to end up dependent on a substance as an adult in comparison to children with non-alcoholic parents, the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
Others might be at risk because of health issues. Some start using fentanyl to treat their pain and end up abusing it. Health ailments aren’t limited to physical health either. If you have a mental health disorder, you are also more likely to engage in substance abuse as a way of self-medicating the symptoms of your mental health issue.
Dependency is partly a psychological issue, but primarily a physical one for most addicts. Long periods of time spent abusing fentanyl cause dysfunction in the brain. When you abuse opioids for a while, the dopamine receptors in the brain start to malfunction and cannot operate effectively without opioids driving them.
One of the biggest demographics that abuse fentanyl includes individuals who were prescribed the drug for pain. Over time, users may begin to misuse the drug by using it more often than prescribed in belief that it will be more effective. Not only is this untrue, but it poses many risks to the user’s health. Abuse stems from the pain relieve effects of use such as feelings of euphoria, sedation, and relaxation.
According to NIDA, opioid analgesics were involved in half of all cases treated in American emergency rooms during 2012 for non-medical reasons. Many of these patients suffered from depressed breathing, coma, and a loss of sensation for pain. Many others suffered from an overdose of prescription opioid painkillers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes 46 people die daily as a result of using these drugs.
Side effects associated with fentanyl withdrawal may include:
There is no quick fix for fentanyl addiction. Bouncing back won’t happen overnight. In fact, treatment for opioid dependency generally takes at least a year. In that time, most recovering individuals opt for medical maintenance programs, such as those that use methadone and buprenorphine.
If a person is overdosing on fentanyl, Naloxone can be administered to help reverse the overdose.
Holistic treatment is always an option, too. Most addicts are not strangers to stress and anxiety ” two issues that practices such as meditation and yoga can help to improve. According to one study, 300 people who took part in a two-hour session of yoga reported a 14.7 percent decrease in anxiety. These therapeutic practices can also aid people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. One study that compared the effectiveness of varying relapse prevention tools noted 17 percent of people who participated in a traditional program had relapsed within the following year, while 14 percent in a 12-step program did. Only 9 percent who practiced mindfulness returned to substance abuse, Reuters states. In general, comprehensive care that incorporates various treatment approaches can best address complex cases.