What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a prescription opioid used to treat severe pain, such as after surgery. It is also prescribed for cancer patients with chronic pain who have developed a tolerance to less powerful opioid drugs. However, it is also manufactured and sold illegally. It is a schedule II-controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for addiction. Prescription fentanyl is available as a lozenge, nasal spray, sublingual tablet, shot, or patch. Illegally produced fentanyl comes as a liquid or powder. It is often found in other illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine to increase their effectiveness. Additionally, it is also made into pills to look like other prescription opioids and medications, such as Oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax. Some name brands of fentanyl include:

  • Duragesic (transdermal patch)
  • Ionsys
  • Fentora
  • Abstral
  • Actiq
  • Subsys
  • Lazanda
  • Fentora

Some street names for fentanyl are China Town, China White, Goodfellas, Poison and Tango, and He-Man.

Fentanyl Effects

Fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors. These are the same receptors that bind endorphins which are the body’s natural painkiller. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl can overload the brain with endorphins and cause feelings of euphoria while binding to receptors in the brain reward system, causing individuals to want to repeat the experience. Besides pain relief and euphoria, there are some unwanted effects. Fentanyl side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Increased risk of fentanyl overdose

Signs of Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction

Anyone can easily develop a fentanyl addiction, even when used as prescribed. Signs and symptoms of fentanyl and drug abuse vary from person to person. You may notice many behavioral changes in a fentanyl abuser as well as some physical and cognitive symptoms. Substance use disorder to fentanyl signs and symptoms include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Social withdrawal
  • Declined performance in school or work and frequent absences
  • Forging prescriptions to get more fentanyl
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed movements
  • Impaired memory
  • Cravings
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Depression
  • Decline in interests

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Those with opioid addiction to Fentanyl will develop a physical dependence, which causes withdrawal symptoms to develop when they stop using. Fentanyl withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and painful, causing many people to relapse quickly when attempting to go cold turkey on their own. Medical detox treatment can help ensure you complete drug detox through medication-assisted treatment. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Aching muscles and bones
  • Cold flashes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Goosebumps
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Severe cravings
  • Uncontrollable leg movements

Long-Term Side Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl abuse can lead to addiction and substance use disorder. Long-term fentanyl use or opioid addiction can lead to:

  • Breathing problems during sleep
  • Heart attack and heart failure
  • Lowered immune system
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental illness disorders
  • Decline in fertility
  • Bone fractures
  • Chronic and severe constipation

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl addiction can take a hold of anyone who uses such a powerful drug, but the good news is there are treatment programs available that can help with any substance abuse disorder. Addiction treatment programs with personalized therapy plans are your best chance for recovery. Substance use disorder requires treatment plans that address the physical and psychological components of drug addiction. Most treatment centers will offer various levels of care to provide the best drug addiction treatment plan for each other clients. Levels of care can include medical detox, residential inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization program (PHP), intensive outpatient program (IOP), and outpatient treatment. Types of treatment available differ between treatment centers, however, most offer evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, family therapy, medication-assisted treatment, other forms of group and individual therapy, and 12-step programming. If you are dealing with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD, it is important you find a drug addiction treatment facility that offers dual diagnosis to address both disorders simultaneously. This will give you the best chance to fully recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol and for long-term sobriety. You should also look for medical detox when attempting to stop using Fentanyl because it can help you safely and comfortably go through withdrawal and detox from opioid addiction.

Addiction treatment is available to help you or your loved ones overcome substance use disorder. If you would like more information about addiction therapy available at drug rehab, DayBreak Treatment Solutions is available to answer your questions about substance use treatment.

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