Struggle with Fentanyl Addiction
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States, with prescription rates quadrupling over the last 20 years. However, some opioid painkillers are stronger and more dangerous than others, adding significantly to the threats involved with prolonged use. Fentanyl is among the strongest and most addictive painkillers on the market, putting recreational users at serious risk. Fentanyl addiction has grown substantially in the United States in recent years.
While extremely effective and quite safe when used as prescribed in a hospital setting, fentanyl can be very dangerous when taken without appropriate medical oversight. When mixed with heroin – an extremely common new trend in illicit drug production – fentanyl increases the likelihood of fatal overdose significantly, creating a rash of preventable deaths across the country.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl, like other kinds of opioid painkillers, is a prescription narcotic used primarily to address severe pain, like orthopedic surgery cases and advanced cancer diagnoses. It is not often prescribed for more routine procedures, like a tooth extraction or broken bones. Considered to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, too much fentanyl can be a recipe for disaster.
Like its peers, fentanyl functions by attaching to opioid receptors throughout the brain. These receptors are located closest to the brain structures that address pain and emotion and, when activated, trigger the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. This can produce relaxation and euphoria, helping patients to feel intensely calm and happy. When used properly, this mechanism helps to dull the sensation of extreme pain, but when abused, fentanyl provides a similar effect to heroin and Fentanyl addiction, or worse, could ensue.
Numerous negative symptoms can arise from continued fentanyl addiction and abuse. As opioid receptors are also present in the part of the brain that controls breathing, excess doses can cause respiratory arrest – the leading cause of death in opioid overdoses. Just a puff of fentanyl in the air is enough to send a grown adult to the emergency room.
The Presence of Fentanyl in Heroin
In modern culture, fentanyl is most commonly known for its role in the ongoing heroin epidemic. Over the last several years, heroin producers and dealers have started to use fentanyl to extend heroin supplies, helping to increase the high from their products.
However, many heroin users are not aware of the presence of fentanyl in a particular batch. When this occurs, users take a normal-sized dose expecting a predictable high. However, fentanyl is so much stronger than heroin that a previously acceptable dose results in overdose and death. Experts believe that fentanyl is behind the growing rate of fatal heroin overdose, with related deaths more than doubling from 2015 to 2016 and over 20,000 cases in 2016.
Signs of Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction
Signs of fentanyl addiction are quite similar to other opioids, including emotional, physical, and behavioral effects. Most users display common symptoms, including:
- Drug-seeking behavior, like lying and sneaking around to cover up use
- Doctor shopping to receive further prescriptions
- Relationship, legal, and financial problems
- Reckless behavior and compromised judgment
- Skipping work, school, or family obligations
- Lack of interest in hobbies
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Physical consequences including gastrointestinal issues, trouble sleeping, erratic behavior, and trouble focusing
Fentanyl can be extremely challenging to procure outside of a hospital setting. Accordingly, many affected individuals purchase fentanyl made illegally on the street, or make the switch to heroin instead.
Fentanyl Addiction Detox
Due to the dangers involved with fentanyl addiction and abuse, detox is an extremely important part of the process of coming clean. Designed to mitigate the negative side effects of addiction, seeking help through withdrawal and recovery can help you break your addiction with as few consequences as possible.
Medical detox for a Fentanyl addiction is best completed in a licensed and certified rehabilitation facility. In an inpatient detox, patients are monitored 24/7 by addiction medicine professionals to ease the pain of withdrawal and ensure safety throughout treatment. With medical intervention, it’s possible to sever ties to fentanyl addiction effectively and fully.
Fentanyl Addiction Withdrawal
As with most strong opioids, withdrawal from fentanyl is highly unpleasant. Symptoms often begin within 12 to 30 hours depending on usage habits and span the next one to two weeks.
Initial symptoms are quite minor, with peak effects including muscle aches, insomnia, sweating, agitation, runny nose, and watery eyes. The worst physical side effects begin to set in around day three to five, like vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, and psychological impacts like mood swings, depression, and anxiety. After this point, symptoms will begin to lessen, fading away within the next seven to 14 days.
Throughout this time because of their Fentanyl addiction, users will often feel intense cravings to continue using. These urges can be almost unbearable, forcing a deep desire to acquire more drugs. In a rehabilitation facility, additional fentanyl is inaccessible, forcing patients to progress through withdrawal without risk of relapse.
Getting Help for Fentanyl Addiction
With tens of thousands of associated deaths each year, both in conjunction with heroin and independently, fentanyl is a serious drug that should never be used without doctor oversight. Boasting high potential for fatal overdose, those addicted to fentanyl should seek immediate assistance to begin the process of recovery.
Call Lumiere Today
If you or a loved one are struggling with Fentanyl addiction in Florida, give Lumiere Detox Center a call now at 855-535-8501. The specialists at our detox and treatment program in Florida are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the admissions process. Break free from addiction now and live the life you are destined for.