Fentanyl is a prescription medication generally used to treat a patient with severe pain. It is a very powerful synthetic opioid that is like morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent. It is generally prescribed in forms such as patches or lozenges for pain management but this drug can easily be misused or abused, causing addiction to the substance. However, most overdoses and deaths are linked to illegally made fentanyl made in labs and sold illegally on the streets due to its heroin-like effect. According to an article written by the CDC:
Rates of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, increased 10% from 2017 to 2018. Over 31,000 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone) in 2018.
Fentanyl’s potential for abuse and addiction is extremely high and this drug can do some serious damage to your health. When a person takes an opioid drug, the brain chemistry changes. The drug will fill the opioid receptors in the central nervous system and change the way the neurotransmitters move. One dependence on the drug has set in, the brain will only rely on drug interference. If the drug is taken away, opioid withdrawal symptoms will begin to set in as the brain tries to find a way to restore the balance. Withdrawal and detox from fentanyl are extremely painful and a person will usually experience several different, uncomfortable symptoms.
Fentanyl Detox Protocol
The body’s detox and withdrawal from fentanyl will usually begin from 12-30 hours from the last dose taken and a person will usually feel the symptoms for several weeks before the stop. These symptoms will likely be the worst in the first 3-7 days before they begin to taper off. These symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Stomach cramps
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Elevated heart rate
- Elevated respiratory rate
Even after the physical symptoms have worn off, psychological symptoms such as cravings, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and irritability will persist for up to months. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This refers to a set of impairments after refraining from drug abuse. Symptoms include Difficulty with cognition such as learning or memory recall, irritability, anxiety, and depression. These are just some of the common symptoms.
It is never a good idea to attempt to detox yourself on your own. The recommended way is through a medical detox with the help of doctors so that they can monitor your symptoms and help alleviate them as much as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction
A person who is addicted to fentanyl will show many different signs and symptoms. If you or a loved one may think they are addicted, you should look out for the following warning signs:
- Acting lethargic
- Pulling away from family and friends/isolation
- Lying or engaging in secretive behavior
- Reckless behavior
- Shallow breathing
- Slowed heart rate
- Confusion or disorientation
- Inability to focus
- Impaired judgment
- Mood swings
- A rapid decline in physical appearance
- Weight loss
We Can Help with Fentanyl Detox
We at Recreate Life Counseling understand the seriousness of fentanyl use, and we believe fentanyl addiction must be treated as soon as possible. If addiction is left untreated, the chances of fatality continuously increase. We focus on treating addiction with a combination of effective treatments, predominantly focusing on group and individual therapy. If you or someone you love has been struggling with fentanyl addiction, please feel free to give us a call today. We will discuss treatment options, and do our best to point you in the right direction. Now is the time to turn your life around. Let us help you do it.