In recent years, the number of people who are addicted to opioid drugs like fentanyl, which is a very strong opioid, has continued to rise. Too many people are addicted to fentanyl, and this addiction can be fatal. Someone who is having trouble with fentanyl addiction can get help. But detoxing from fentanyl at home is not a good idea. In fact, a safe and successful detox needs medical supervision and follow-up care. Do you or someone you know want to detox from fentanyl? In this blog, we’ll discuss fentanyl, what it is, and how to treat it. 

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic pain reliever made in a lab that is very strong and is most often used to relieve severe pain. People say it is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl can be used after an intense surgery or while treating cancer. This substance has many different names, but it does the same thing in the end. Here are some of the most common brand names and types of fentanyl:

  • Actiq is an under-the-tongue form of fentanyl, like a lollipop. Used when someone is already taking painkillers
  • Sublimaze is used in hospitals and sometimes with painkillers. A form of fentanyl that is given by injection to ease pain before and after surgery
  • Abstral is a quick-dissolving tablet that you put under your tongue to feel better right away. Can also be given to people who are used to taking opioids
  • Duragesic is a one-of-a-kind fentanyl patch that helps with moderate to severe pain where effects can last up to 3 days
  • Subsys is a spray that is put under the tongue to relieve pain right away. Used to treat cancer pains that get worse
  • Lazanda is a fentanyl nasal spray that is used like other sprays for stuffy noses. Most of the time, it’s used to treat cancer

Symptoms and Side Effects of Fentanyl Addiction

A person who is addicted to fentanyl would be clinically diagnosed with an opioid use disorder. Here’s a list of the signs that someone has an opioid use disorder, and specifically, fentanyl:

  • More fentanyl is taken, or it is taken for a greater length of time than initially intended, known as the slippery slope from recreational narcotics use to addiction
  • The individual has the ongoing desire to stop abusing fentanyl, or at least cut down on the abuse, but is unable to do so.
  • A significant portion of one’s day, energy, time, and money is used to obtain fentanyl, abuse it, or recover from its use.
  • The person has urges or cravings to use fentanyl.
  • As a result of the ongoing fentanyl abuse, the person is not able to adequately meet obligations at home, work, or school.
  • Even though the fentanyl abuse is causing various problems, the person continues to abuse this narcotic.
  • The person withdraws from or reduces participation in work, social, recreational, and other opportunities to abuse fentanyl.
  • The individual continues to abuse fentanyl even when there is awareness of the dangerous situations that arise, such as while driving.
  • Use of fentanyl continues, even though it is causing or exacerbating a psychological or physical problem.
  • The person develops a tolerance to the drug – the natural process whereby the body demands more of a drug in order for the person to experience a high similar to that of an earlier period of use.
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when the fentanyl use stops or the familiar dosage is decreased

When fentanyl is abused, the side effects can be worse. Because of this, it can be helpful to think about some of the most common side effects, including but not limited to:

  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Convulsions
  • Blurred vision
  • Black stools
  • Labored breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Feeling of a tight chest
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Decrease in urine flow
  • Cough
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Pounding in ears
  • Pale skin
  • Back pain or side pain
  • Nervousness
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands, lips, or feet
  • Ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • Sneezing, sore throat, or sunken eyes
  • Swelling in the calves, ankles, feet, and hands
  • Fatigue

Addiction is one of the most common effects of using too much fentanyl. When the body keeps getting fentanyl, it makes changes on its own, including the change  to build up a tolerance, which means the person has to take more fentanyl to get the same effect as before. 

Can You Safely Detox from Fentanyl with Medically Assisted Detox?

In the case of Fentanyl, it is not advised to suddenly stop using the drug. The medicine has a calming effect on the body, slowing the heart rate, decreasing blood pressure, and slowing the person’s breathing. These mechanisms can go awry if the medicine is suddenly withdrawn. An unexpected spike in blood pressure can cause serious health issues like a heart attack or stroke. In addition, there are a wide variety of persistent mental health problems associated with Fentanyl withdrawal. People who try to quit cold turkey on their own are at a higher risk of relapsing and harming themselves because of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms they may encounter.

Detoxing from opiates like Fentanyl requires medical supervision. A patient can be placed on a weaning off schedule in which they receive progressively lower dosages of Fentanyl under the supervision of a physician. Buprenorphine/Naltrexone may be used in conjunction with the original medication, or the two may be used independently. Weaning off an opioid gradually reduces withdrawal symptoms and their length.

What to Expect in Fentanyl Rehab

Fentanyl withdrawal syndrome is made up of many different signs and symptoms, and I t can be very painful, uncomfortable, and even dangerous. Because fentanyl is such a strong opioid, many people use it again just to get rid of these symptoms, which include:

  • Runny nose, watery eyes, and yawning
  • Lack of sleep or anxiety
  • Irritability or changes in mood
  • Increase in pain
  • You might get goosebumps, chills, or sweat.
  • Stomach cramping
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loose stools

Many people feel terrible pain in their muscles, joints, and bones when they stop taking fentanyl. There may also be intense mental symptoms, such as extreme fear, depression, or irritability. Any of these signs could get worse at any time. Withdrawing from fentanyl can be much easier to deal with and less likely to be dangerous if you go to a detox center or drug rehab facility. There are many different treatment options including medication-assisted-treatment which includes the use of medication and therapy to help patients recover from opioid use disorder. 

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction to Fentanyl? Have more questions regarding rehab and what we can do to help? Contact us here, or give us a call at (877) 959-5866.