Addiction to Fentanyl
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a highly dangerous, very potent type of synthetic opioid. Its structure is similar to morphine, but it is as much as 100 times more potent. Doctors prescribe this drug for people facing intense pain after a severe injury or surgical procedure. They often use the smallest dose possible for the least amount of time. That’s because fentanyl is highly addictive and dangerous to use.
In 2017, about 59 percent of people who died from opioid overdose were using fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Fentanyl is one of the most common drugs involved in overdoses. Often, people who overdose don’t know that they’ve taken fentanyl, as distributors sometimes lace other drugs with fentanyl to make those drugs more addictive.
How Do People Use Fentanyl?
Fentanyl, which is sold under prescription names such as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®, may be given through an IV, a transdermal patch that is worn on the skin, lozenges that are sucked like cough drops, or in pill form. Those who misuse fentanyl typically take it in pill form.
Fentanyl is a powerful drug that causes an intense high characterized by a short period of euphoria. The high is created when fentanyl binds to the opioid receptors in the brain that control emotions and pain sensations. Those who use this drug on a consistent basis quickly develop tolerance, which leads to a diminished sensitivity to the drug. Tolerance means that more of the drug is required to get the same effects. Soon, it becomes impossible to feel pleasure from anything but the drug itself.
When addiction forms, a person recognizes that continued use of the drug is dangerous, but they are physically and psychologically unable to stop using it. Someone who is addicted to fentanyl is physically dependent on it, meaning that they will feel intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the drug.
What Is Fentanyl’s Impact?
Using fentanyl creates both short-term and long-term effects. These may include:
- Extreme happiness
Some people have more significant reactions to it. These may include:
- Problems with breathing
- Sudden death
Overdose is a very big risk for anyone taking fentanyl and can occur on a first dose. Because of how potent this drug is, it takes very little of the substance to overload the brain and body’s organs, putting a person at risk for death.
Overdose is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical intervention. It can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, and death. If you think that you or someone you love has overdosed, call 911 immediately.
Long-term use of fentanyl may cause other complications, including cognitive function decline, kidney and liver damage, heart-related damage, and lung-related damage. It will also interfere with the person’s relationships, ability to work, and ability to enjoy life.
What Can Be Done to Help a Person with a Fentanyl Addiction?
If you’re using fentanyl from a prescription provided by your doctor, only use the recommended amount and avoid using it when possible. The shortest use with the lowest dose is recommended. If you are misusing the drug, seek help right away. Professional treatment often involves a medical detox in which doctors can monitor your health and provide support to help your body and brain stop seeking out this drug. You may need detox if you experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance. Some of those symptoms may include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Cold flashes, sometimes with goosebumps
- Sleep problems
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Severe anxiety and depression
After detox, therapy and ongoing support are crucial to continued healing. Learning how to deal with chronic pain and how to manage any mental health disorders like depression or anxiety may also be important aspects of recovery.
How Can We Help You?
As a drug treatment center in Lafayette, LA, Victory Addiction Recovery Center is committed to providing you with the tools you need. We offer a full detox program to help you break through your addiction. You’ll have access to a residential treatment program that can provide you with a safe place to work through trauma, mental health disorders, and numerous other complications often brought on by addiction. Don’t wait to get the help you need to overcome a fentanyl addiction.
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