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Fentanyl: Addiction, Side Effects and Recovery

Fentanyl addiction may not be as well-known or popular as other addiction, but it can be serious. This drug is an opiate in the same category as heroin, morphine, OxyContin and many other drugs. It's most often used in anesthesia to reduce pain after a surgical procedure. Doctors may prescribe it for pain relief if other medications aren't effective.

The problem is that there are a lot of risks associated with this medication. Since it became popular, it has also become a drug that people often abuse. When they do, they're likely to become addicted to it.

This might be the situation you're in right now. If so, you need to know you have options. You don't have to continue abusing this medication for the rest of your life just to feel good. If you need to recover from a drug addiction, detoxification will be your very first step. You also want to know about Fentanyl side effects, withdrawal symptoms and treatment.

Why is Detoxing from Fentanyl Important?

When you make the decision to stop using Fentanyl, going through a prescription drug detox program is vital. Sometimes people are confused about this. They assume that this drug is relatively safe simply because it was prescribed by a doctor. Please understand that Fentanyl is not safe when it is misused. It is highly addictive, and it's a drug that's difficult to stop.

Going through a detox program will give you the best chance at being successful in recovery. You'll be able to get assistance with managing your withdrawal symptoms. This will make recovery much easier. Your risk of relapsing will also be greatly decreased when you choose to go through detox first.

Withdrawal and What You Can Expect

This is a medication that goes by several different brand names. You may see it referred to as:

  • Duragesic
  • Subsys
  • Abstral
  • Fentora
  • Actiq

No matter which brand you're taking, stopping it will result in withdrawal symptoms. You should know what to expect when you quit using the drug. This potent medication is likely to result in several side effects, which may be both psychological and physical in nature.

Fentanyl produces some serious psychological side effects when it's abused. It makes sense that it would also produce withdrawal symptoms that are psychological in nature.

When you stop using Fentanyl, you're likely to experience:

  • The onset of anxiety
  • Mild to moderate panic attacks
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Problems with insomnia, or other sleep disturbances
  • The possibility of becoming anorexic

Most people find these withdrawal symptoms to be fairly disturbing. It may be difficult for you to concentrate and focus as well. You may be tempted to use the drug just to get some relief from these side effects.

What Happens to Your Body When you Detox from Fentanyl?

The physical withdrawal side effects of Fentanyl can be very hard for people to endure.

They will often suffer from:

  • Physical aches and pains, including backaches
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • The chills
  • The onset of diarrhea
  • Hot or cold sweats
  • Increased breathing rates
  • An increased heart rate
  • The onset of high blood pressure
  • Intense cravings for the drug

As you can probably imagine, combining the two types of withdrawal is unbearable for most people. It's not surprising that people have a hard time getting through the side effects of coming off Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a drug that usually comes in the form of a patch. It is placed on the skin, and medication is absorbed that way. When you remove the patch, it can take a while before symptoms begin. This is because this drug has a half-life of about 17 hours. You should begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms within a day or so. However, the question most people ask is, how long is the duration of withdrawal?

Once your symptoms begin, they should be relatively mild. At that point, going through withdrawal might seem to be fairly easy for you. You might only have a few of the symptoms on the above lists. However, as time goes on, you should expect symptoms to get worse.

As the symptoms you have in the beginning worsen, more will develop. Withdrawal should peak for you around the third day after your last dose of this drug. Some people will experience it longer, and some may get through it more quickly. After the peak, you should start to feel quite a bit better. In most cases, this type of withdrawal will improve drastically after one week.

You should keep in mind that this is not the case for everyone. It is possible to experience rebound withdrawal symptoms from Fentanyl. These could even occur after you've been off the drug for several months.

Fortunately, the chances of dying from Fentanyl withdrawal are very slim. This is true even if you quit using the drug on your own, without going through detox. A small amount of people may experience serious withdrawal symptoms that could be life threatening.

Everyone reacts to withdrawal in different ways. Sometimes people begin to have seizures or they have heart complications. If this is the case for you, please seek immediate medical treatment.

If you decide to quit using Fentanyl cold turkey, you should do so with caution. The symptoms you experience could include those on the above list. However, you are at a greater risk for potential medical complications.

Also, when you quit during a detox program, the duration of withdrawal is generally shorter. If you quit cold turkey, you're likely to experience symptoms that linger for a while. You're much more likely to have rebound symptoms after withdrawal seems to have improved.

Overall, you'll probably find that withdrawal is much more intense when quitting cold turkey. The likelihood of you suffering from a relapse is much higher because of this.

Like with some other drugs, you can attempt to detox from Fentanyl on your own at home. However, you should not expect it to be easy. It's much easier to work with qualified professionals who understand the detoxification process. They know what your body needs, while you might not.

Still, there are some home remedies for opiate withdrawal that might work well for you. Please proceed with caution. At the very least, talk with your doctor about what some of your detoxification options might be.

There are a few different withdrawal remedies you can attempt if you want to quit Fentanyl on your own. These include:

  • Attempting to taper down your dosage. This can be tricky, and you should talk with your doctor first. You mighli ind that if you're able to taper the dosage, you can effectively stop withdrawal. At the very least, you could make it more bearable.

  • Drink plenty of water. You need to flush those toxins out of your system, and water will help. Other hydratinli luids are good choices too. Keep plenty of Gatorade and Pedialyte on hand for this purpose.

  • Pick up some Imodium for diarrhea. While you were taking Fentanyl, you probably experienced constipation. This ili known side effect. Upon quitting, people usually experience the opposite effects.

  • Use Tylenol or Ibuprofen for pain. Without this opiate drug in your system, your pain is likely to return. Yoli robably won't be able to control it well with OTC pain relievers, but it will help.

  • Try medications to help with nausea. Benadryl and Dramamine can be very effective to help settle your stomach.

You shouldn't try to quit this medication without proper support nearby. This could be a friend or family member you ask to remain with you. You may need something at a store and be unable to go and get it yourself. Or, you could just need someone to talk to.

It's also a good idea to have a loved one with you in the event of an emergency. If you're not able to call 911 yourself, they can do it for you.

Again, if you do want to attempt to quit Fentanyl on your own, please talk with your doctor. He or she may be able to offer you prescription medications that might help you. These could be much more effective than using over the counter drugs.

Detox: The Best Way to Get Off the Patches

The best and most effective way to quit using the patches is to go through detox. Detox programs are set up to provide you with the support you need during this critical time. They're run by professionals who understand what happens during this type of detoxification. You'll have the benefit of their expertise as you go through the process.

There are several different ways that you can detox from Fentanyl. One of the more common ways is to go though a medical detox program.

Medically assisted detox is a form of detoxification that often effectively manages withdrawal symptoms. It involves the use of medications to aid in the process. Usually, these medications are given to help with withdrawal symptoms. Some medications may also be given to help speed up the process of withdrawal as it occurs.

You should know that there are some risks associated with medical detox. Some of the drugs that are typically used can be addictive. Some experts even believe that a holistic approach might be more beneficial for this reason.

There are a few different medications that can be used to treat withdrawal from opioid drugs. One of them is called Clonidine. This one may be used because it helps with a lot of the symptoms of withdrawal. It can control blood pressure and reduce anxiety. It's quite effective, but it should only be used for a short time.

Benzodiazepines may also be given to people as a part of a medically assisted detox program. They can help reduce agitation and anger. They can also effectively treat paranoia and symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks.

For someone who is deemed to be at risk of seizures, an anticonvulsant drug may be prescribed too. This could help to prevent them in the first place.

Again, these medications should be taken with caution. You need to know what the potential is for a secondary addiction. For example, benzodiazepines can easily lead to an addiction. The same is true for many other drugs as well.

ORT (Opioid Replacement Therapies) Used During Detox

Opioid replacement therapy, or ORT, is commonly used to help people come off Fentanyl. However, there are some risks involved with this approach as well. The biggest risk is that secondary addictions may occur. This is because other opiate drugs are used in place of the one being detoxed from.

Even though the risks are there, most experts believe that the benefits outweigh them. The drugs used during ORT are typically weaker than other opioids. Many people have benefited from this type of treatment.

Some of the medications that are commonly used during ORT include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Suboxone
  • Subutex
  • Bunavail
  • Zubsolv

These medications can help to alleviate withdrawal symptoms very effectively. The problem is that sometimes they're prescribed for too long. They should also always be used along with a counseling program. Not everyone is compliant with this though.

Withdrawal After Short-Term Use: Should You be Concerned?

If you've only been using Fentanyl short-term, you may be concerned about withdrawal. Fortunately, you probably don't have much to worry about. If you've been taking it according to your doctor's orders, you shouldn't have a hard time stopping.

If you are abusing this drug, there may be a cause for concern. You may have slight withdrawal symptoms that can make quitting difficult. You may want to consider talking with a therapist as you quit. That may be all the treatment you need to stop successfully if you don't have an addiction to it.

There are several risks involved with quitting Fentanyl cold turkey. You should be aware of what these risks are if this is the quitting method you choose.

You May Relapse

The chances of you having a relapse are quite high if you quit this drug cold turkey. A relapse is dangerous for a couple of different reasons.

The first is that you are teaching yourself that you need this drug in order to be okay. Right now, you probably know that this isn't really the case at all. However, if you relapse, it will reinforce that idea in your mind. This is what is known as the cycle of addiction.

You May Suffer from an Overdose

There is also the chance that if you relapse, you'll use too much of the medication at one time. You may just go back to the dose you were taking previously. However, what you probably won't realize is that your tolerance levels have changed. You can no longer take that much.

An overdose can be deadly; especially when it involves the use of opioid drugs. It's important to know what the symptoms are if you or a loved one suspects an overdose.

Overdose Symptoms

In the event of an overdose on Fentanyl, you should see the following symptoms:

  • Lips and fingertips that turn blue
  • Lessened breathing rates, possibly with gurgling sounds
  • The possibility of seizures
  • Stiffening of the body
  • Strange behaviors and confusion
  • Becoming unresponsive

Medications can be given to reverse the effects of an overdose. However, they must be given quickly. Waiting too long to call 911 can result in an overdose that quickly becomes fatal.

What to Look for in an Excellent Detox Program

If you've never gone through detox before, it can be helpful to know what to look for. You should seek out a detoxification program that:

  • Offers treatment plans that are individualized for each patient
  • Will provide you with nursing care 24⁄7
  • Also includes a Fentanyl rehab program
  • Can provide you with medical detox, if you need it
  • Maintains a small patient population
  • Is an accredited facility

Rehab Treatment after Detox

Once you complete detox, it's important to know that you're not finished. You must go through drug addiction treatment to help avoid relapse. You have the option of either inpatient or outpatient treatment at a drug rehab facility.

Outpatient rehab allows you to live at home, continue working at a job and meet other obligations while still receiving the treatment you need to overcome addiction. You will attend therapy once or twice a week for an hour or two. If you choose to attend intensive outpatient treatment, therapy will increase to at least three times a week and two or three hours or even longer per session. An IOP may be necessary for someone who cannot attend inpatient rehab but needs more support than what they would receive with a traditional outpatient program.

You may choose inpatient addiction treatment if you need 24-hour support. With an inpatient facility, you have a room where you stay while you attend regular therapy sessions. You'll be monitored and be away from temptation while you're learning how to manage your addiction.

There are also 12-step groups and other support groups where you can go for help. If you are abusing drugs or have just developed an addiction, you may find this type of program meets your needs. For those with a more serious addiction problem or someone who has spent years in addiction, they may need more support than what these groups can provide. However, they can serve as support after completing an inpatient or outpatient program. Many addicts continue to attend 12-step meetings for years after overcoming addiction. They realize that they are always susceptible to addiction and don't want to relapse. In fact, the groups are one of the reasons for success with the addicts who don't relapse.

No single program works for everyone. That's why so many options are available and each person must decide what is right for them based on the drug they were addicted to and the length of addiction along with other factors. Places like Northpoint Washington will conduct an assessment and provide recommendations for what treatment plan is right for your situation. If their facility is not the best place for you, they can recommend other resources based on partnerships they have with treatment centers in the state.

Regardless of whether you choose inpatient or outpatient rehab, you'll still receive many of the same types of treatment to help you overcome addiction. While it may be frightening to think about talking to strangers about your addiction, it can help if you know what to expect and understand the reasons behind the treatment.

One aspect of treatment that you will receive is individual counseling. You'll work one-on-one with a therapist to understand your addiction. This is where the real work is done. You'll learn how to recognize triggers and how to avoid them. The therapist may delve into your fears, your past or other issues that contributed to your addiction. Once you complete individual counseling, you'll be better prepared to avoid relapse in the future.

It's important to understand that Fentanyl addiction is just as serious as any other addiction, even if you started using it as a prescription medication. You must deal with the issues behind the addiction so you don't go back to using once you leave treatment.

Group therapy is another important part of treatment. You will meet others who are in recovery and are at various stages of treatment. You'll form bonds from a shared experience and will build friendships with people who can support you and encourage you on this journey as you do the same for them.

If your addiction was caused by a medical condition and prescription for the drug, you'll need to find an alternative method of treatment. This will help ensure you don't end up back in the same place.

What to Do When a Loved One is Abusing Drugs

You may not be the person with the drug addiction problem, but you may be a family member of someone you suspect is suffering from drug abuse with Fentanyl. You need to look for the signs of abuse, such as taking more of the medication than what was prescribed as well as changes in behavior.

Fentanyl Detox Information

Don't be afraid to talk to the person about their drug use. It may be possible that they don't realize what they're doing. It can also help them be more aware of their actions and make changes before addiction happens.

If you are concerned that the person may be addicted to Fentanyl, you can recommend drug rehab to them. Sometimes all it takes is someone showing concern to convince the person they need to get help. In other cases, you may need to schedule an intervention if they deny having a problem.

An intervention allows you to bring together people who are concerned about the addict and let them tell about their concerns. Many times, an intervention leads the addict to check into rehab immediately. It works best if you have a professional interventionist organize the meeting and prepare everyone.

How to Know If You Have an Addiction Problem

One of the common things people who are using prescription medications like Fentanyl say is that they don't have a problem. They just need it for pain, but they can stop at any time. This may be true if the person is merely abusing the drug.

Drug abuse occurs when someone takes a medication more often than what is prescribed. They may increase the frequency or the dosage without consulting with their doctor. The person may start out taking it for pain, but they continue because they like the way it makes them feel.

When someone is abusing drugs, they aren't yet addicted. They could stop but often don't want to. With opiates like Fentanyl, it doesn't take long to move from drug abuse to addiction because it's such a highly addictive drug.

When drug abuse has become addictive, the body requires it to function. It expects the drug to be present in the system or the body suffers withdrawal. At this point, the person cannot quit on their own even though they may want to.

It's important to know that even if you determine you aren't addicted and are only abusing drugs, you still can seek treatment through rehab. You'll learn how to stop the abuse before it becomes an addiction.

Mixing Fentanyl with Other Drugs

It's not uncommon for a person who is abusing Fentanyl to start using other drugs as well. It may intensify the effect because the body gets used to the drug which makes it less effective. Fentanyl becomes more difficult to access if you can't get a prescription for it, so the person may switch to another opiate which is more accessible. A common option is heroin since it's readily found on the street.

People may drink alcohol or take other painkillers with Fentanyl. The result is an increased risk for overdose because the combination of medications may disguise symptoms that tell the person they have taken more than they should have.

Drug Rehab is Available to Help You Reach Your Recovery Goals

Here at Northpoint Washington, we want you to know that we understand the situation you're in. A Fentanyl addiction is extremely dangerous, and you're right to want to quit. We can provide you with the tools you need to get started in your recovery the right way.

Northpoint Washington offers a premium drug rehab facility with many benefits for addicts who want to change their lives. A low patient to staff ratio means you get one-on-one treatment when you need it. You also receive 24-hour supervision to help stay on track. There's more to this facility than just rehab. You can attend exercise classes, take yoga, go hiking and participate in other activities. The goal of the center is to treat the whole person and not just the addiction.

Even your nutrition is a concern with healthy food options available every day. Treatment plans are customized to the individual to ensure you are on the right program to help you overcome addiction. We help you develop a sense of community through volunteering and joining support groups so you can maintain sobriety after you leave the program.

If you aren't familiar with our facility or programs, you can contact us for a tour or to have your questions answered. We want you to feel comfortable about the place you select for drug rehab and we want to help you be successful.

We care about our patients. Our goal is always to provide them with excellent support. The beginning of your recovery doesn't have to be difficult. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist Today

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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Northpoint Washington: Opening April 2019

Our facilities currently open for services:

Ashwood Recovery at Northpoint

Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Boise, Idaho.

Northpoint Recovery

Our National Medical Detox and Inpatient Addiction Facility.

The Evergreen at Northpoint

Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Washington State.