Fentanyl Addiction

Table of Contents

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s used to treat severe and long term pain. It is incredibly potent, delivering a strength 50,000 to 100,000 times that of morphine. In recent years, fentanyl abuse has hit the streets of our communities – and usage has only increased over time. Users seek out fentanyl for its euphoric effects. The effects are similar to heroin, morphine, and prescription drugs like Percocet. But, what is fentanyl and why is it so addictive?

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl abuse and addiction is a big problem in our communities – and it’s really no surprise. This synthetic substance is incredibly addictive, delivering up to 100,000 times the power of morphine in every dose. A person might find themselves addicted to fentanyl when less potent drugs stop working for them. The user builds tolerance, moving up and up and up in the drug food chain until now the only way to get high is to take fentanyl. In other circumstances, a person may not even know that it’s fentanyl they’ve been taking. Fentanyl often gets laced into other drugs, including opiates, causing big time problems for unsuspecting users.

Why is fentanyl so dangerous? It’s dangerous because of its potency. The big difference between street fentanyl and fentanyl dosed out in a medical setting is the likelihood of overdose. In medical settings, fentanyl is tightly controlled. The strength of each dose is monitored by a trained professional who knows the correct dosage and what is too much. On the streets this level of insight simply doesn’t exist. For this reason, fentanyl causes hundreds of thousands of overdoses each year and an estimated 42,000 overdose deaths per year. Even worse, fentanyl is said to be the top cause of death among people 18 to 45.

If you or someone you love is struggling with synthetic opiate addiction, including fentanyl addiction, getting professional help is extremely important. Addiction to fentanyl is serious and can have lasting implications on your quality of life, mental and physical health. For some, fentanyl addiction may even result in death. Prioritizing your health and wellness is of the utmost importance. Getting help begins by recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction.


What Are The Symptoms Of Fentanyl Addiction?

Fentanyl addiction may lead to you or your loved one sneaking around and doing things that are out of character, causing you or your loved one to be a shell of their former self. That’s why getting immediate help is always the best course of action. If you suspect that someone you love is abusing fentanyl, look out for the signs and symptoms below. Of course, signs and symptoms vary based on the person and their frequency of use, but still, there are certain things you should look for.

Signs And Symptoms Of Use

An individual currently using and/or abusing Fentanyl may show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Lethargy/lack of motivation
  • Sleepiness
  • Frequently falling asleep
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Exhibiting signs of euphoria and ecstasy
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Itchiness
  • Constant facial scratching
  • Vomiting
  • Complaints of nausea
  • Complaints of headaches

As they progress in their Fentanyl addiction and/or abuse, individuals will also display symptoms similar to the following: 

  • Doctor shopping
  • Searching for fentanyl outside of your prescription
  • Violating prescription guidelines, like operating a vehicle while under the influence of the drug
  • Abusing fentanyl while also using/abusing other drugs and/or alcohol
  • Increasing the dosage without letting your doctor know
  • Using too much (outside the guidelines of the prescription)
  • Hiding usage of the drug
  • Combining fentanyl with other drugs or alcohol
  • Continuing to use fentanyl even though it has had a negative impact on your life and/or health

Addiction is a serious disorder with serious complications. Addiction will eventually cause mental and physical symptoms in the user, affecting their ability to function as normal. A person experiencing addiction may withdraw from social settings and isolate themselves from friends and loved ones. You may notice changes in their lifestyle, behavior and personality. Although this is hard to watch from the outside, just know that addiction is a treatable disease. Help is only a click away.


What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal Like?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug, prescribed to relieve long term pain. If someone stops using fentanyl after a period of use they will incur severe withdrawal symptoms. Usually, the symptoms of withdrawal are similar to what you would experience with a severe cold or flu. Mental symptoms come along with the physical symptoms. Many people say that the mental symptoms of withdrawal are the worst.

These symptoms will present if you quit, and even if you just reduce your dosage. For people in poor health or with severe health issues, fentanyl withdrawal can cause fatal complications. That’s why proper detox procedure includes working with a trained medical professional.

Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Extreme sadness
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Anger
  • Pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Cramping
  • Restless leg
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hot flashes/Cold sweats
  • Sweating

Treatment For Fentanyl Addiction

If you or someone you love is addicted to fentanyl, getting professional medical help is critical. Addiction is a serious disease – but it is treatable. The sooner you seek medical intervention, the better the chances of recovery. When a person is addicted to fentanyl and other opioids, their recovery process is different from the way you’d withdraw from other drugs. With opioid recovery, the focus is on supporting the person through a safe detox first and foremost. Detox can be medically assisted or it could be simply monitored by a medical professional. Once you’re over the hurdle of detoxification, the focus is on therapy. The best therapies for addiction treatment are cognitive behavioral therapy and personalized counseling. With therapy and our Intensive Outpatient Program you’ll learn coping skills, relapse prevention, and stress management. You’ll understand the patterns and behaviors that lead to addiction and you’ll unlearn some of the behavior patterns that lead to addiction. When you work with someone that respects you and wants to see you flourish and grow, the results will speak for themselves.


Virtual Treatment Center: Who Are We?

At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.


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