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Fentanyl Addiction, Side Effects and Recovery

The common use of Fentanyl is as an intravenous anesthetic prior to surgical or medical procedures. It is a synthetic opioid, and it’s chosen because it acts so quickly. Fentanyl has been around since the 60s, and since its arrival in the medical community, the use has expanded tremendously. Today, it is used as a pain reliever for cancer patients, those with back injuries and other serious conditions that cause a great deal of pain.

For those who need Fentanyl to get through the day, the drug can be a lifesaver. However, it is also highly addictive, and when it is taken for too long, or when the dosage is increased too much, the chances of becoming addicted are dramatically increased. In a way, Fentanyl acts much like heroin. People who use it quickly build up a tolerance to it, and the euphoria that it produces is something that people can begin to crave soon after they’ve started taking it. The drug can be obtained by prescription, but it’s also available by dealers on the street. It is not uncommon for it to be combined with heroin, and if this occurs, death can be the result.

Some of the street names Fentanyl is commonly known by include:
  • China girl
  • Dance fever
  • Friend
  • Apache
  • Shug
  • GoodFella
  • Jackpot
  • TNT
  • Tango and Cash
  •  Murder Eight

If you’re addicted to this dangerous drug, it’s important for you to get help right away. Because Fentanyl is a prescription drug, it’s possible that you didn’t realize that it had such high potential for addiction, and you ended up getting addicted on accident. Even if this is the case, rehab is the solution you need in order to stop taking it safely.

Side Effects and Uses of Fentanyl

Fentanyl can be given in medication, through a nasal spray, as an injection and with a transdermal path which provides extended release. Several side effects have been noted with this medication, including the following:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hypoventilation
  • Diaphoresis
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased thirst
  • Convulsions
  • Mood changes
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Unusual bleeding or bruises
  • Muscle cramps

As you can see, this drug can be dangerous if not taken as prescribed or taken in excessive doses.

The drug is a synthetic opiate designed to relieve pain. This means it has the same aptitude for addiction as other opioids, such as heroin and morphine. In fact, it is 100 times more potent when prescribed for pain than morphine. A person who takes the drug may experience feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

It can be mixed with cocaine or heroin to increase the effects of the other drugs. A person may speed up the effects of the drug by changing how it is used. For instance, someone with a patch may add heat to override the time release design to get the effects faster.

Abuse and Addiction

A person can start out using this drug as prescribed and develop an addiction to it by accident. Others seek it out on the street or through another person’s prescription to experience the euphoric feelings. There are signs you can see to tell that someone is abusing this drug. Drug abuse is defined as taking a drug not prescribed to you or taking it in another way than how it was prescribed. Signs of Fentanyl abuse include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Labored breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Shaking
  • Stiff muscles
  • Confusion
  • Problems with walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Itching
  • Pinpoint pupils

Abuse of this drug can lead to seizures, coma and even death, especially when it’s combined with other drugs.

Drug abuse can turn into addiction, but the two aren’t the same. A person may be abusing a drug and not be addicted. However, Fentanyl is highly addictive so you can expect to reach that point with continued use. Addiction occurs when the body has become dependent on the drug to function. It has gotten used to the drug being in the system and thinks something is wrong when it’s gone. The brain will send out warning signals in the form of withdrawal symptoms until the person gets more of the drug. At this point, it may be said the person is addicted.

When a person abuses this drug for some time, they can end up with unpleasant changes to the body and mind. These effects may go away in a few weeks or months after the person stops using. Other effects could take longer to improve or be permanent.

Short-term effects:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakened immune system
  • Gastrointestinal problems, which include obstruction of the bowels
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Changes to personality
  • Loss of motivation
  • Social withdrawal

If you continue to use this drug, you can end up permanently harming your body. You may suffer from permanent organ damage as well as anoxic injury, which is a condition which means damage to the body from decreased oxygen in the tissues. You also increase the risk for overdose which could lead to death. You may develop mental health conditions from abuse of the drug or worsen any you already have.

Overdosing on Fentanyl

As your body develops tolerance for the drug, it will take more of it for you to experience the euphoria. The risk with increasing the dosage is you are also at an increased risk of overdosing. If someone has taken too much Fentanyl, they will have difficulty with swallowing and become dizzy. They may even faint. They will feel extremely tired and have shallow breaths.

As the condition worsens, they may go into cardiac arrest and become unresponsive. They may also become extremely confused or have an altered state of consciousness. If your loved one or friend begins experiencing these symptoms, you need to call for medical help immediately. If left untreated, it’s likely to lead to death.

Reasons to Attend Rehab

You might be concerned about why you need to reach out for addiction help instead of just trying to stop taking the medication on your own. Many people feel the same way you do, and they’re surprised to find out what happens when they try to stop on their own.

Fentanyl Rehab Information

Since you first started taking the drug, you’ve been training your brain to expect that daily amount. Over time, your brain and body chemistry adjust, and starts to expect that dosage. At this point, you’re addicted, and you feel as though you need the drug just to act like your normal self again.

It takes professional knowledge to know how to overcome this type of addiction, and your recovery requires a treatment plan that was designed especially for you. You want to be comfortable while you go through the detoxification portion of your recovery, and you also want to minimize any withdrawal symptoms. Finally, there is always the risk of dangerous medical complications that can result from stopping use of Fentanyl, and rehab programs can help to safeguard you from them.

The idea that you’ll go through withdrawal when you stop taking this medication might be a surprise to you, but symptoms should be expected with a drug that’s highly addictive.

Everyone is different when it comes to how they experience Fentanyl cessation, but some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia and fatigue during the day
  • Excessive cold or hot sweats
  • A high or low-grade fever
  • Chronic and painful headaches
  • Digestive issues, including diarrhea
  • Twitching or pain in the muscles

Your heart could also be affected, which is why it’s better to allow the professionals at drug treatment programs guide you as you stop taking the drug slowly.

Detoxing from the Drug

If you’ve become addicted to this drug, you’ll need to detox, which is a process where your body gets used to not having it and gradually resumes normal function. You’ll experience withdrawal symptoms which can be unpleasant and even dangerous, depending on how long you’ve been addicted and how much you have been using.

Detoxing from any opioid is a serious situation and it shouldn’t be tried at home. You’re at a greater risk for relapse when the symptoms of withdrawal are at their worst. You also have an increased risk for medical problems as your body tries to adjust to not having the drug in the system.

A detox facility will provide 24-hour monitoring to ensure you are safe during this period. In some cases, they may recommend that you taper off the drug use rather than quitting cold turkey. You may even go through medical detox, which is a method of treatment which uses other medications to help with withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid detox can be quite painful and hard to go through, which is why some people are given medications to reduce or eliminate the symptoms. Some of these medications mimic the effects of the drug and are given in reduced dosages until the person no longer needs them to function. This process can take weeks or even months for serious or long-term addicts.

Another concern with medical detox is the risk of developing a secondary addiction. The medications used in treating opioid addiction are often opioids which are deemed to be less addictive. However, they still carry some risk of addiction and must be removed slowly to not trigger withdrawal.

You should never attempt detoxing from an opioid at home. Your likelihood of being successful increases when you go to a detox facility.

Another method of detoxing from addictive substances is holistic detox. It is designed to let the body recover naturally with a focus on nutrition and exercise. A person who uses this approach may be given a specific diet to help them get the vitamins and minerals they need for the body to function normally. Many times, someone who is an addict will not be eating right and getting good nutrition.

The right nutrients can help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal from drugs. It can help with the physical symptoms as well as the psychological ones.

Exercise is also important. It allows the person to experience a natural high which comes from endorphins being released in the brain after working out. These endorphins can “trick” the mind into thinking it’s getting the high it craves, which will reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of withdrawal.

More people are trying the holistic approach to detoxing because it doesn’t come with the serious side effects and risks of medical detoxing.

Rehabilitation from Drug Addiction

Once you’ve completed detox, you’ll probably feel like a new person. Your mind won’t be in that haze you’ve been in since you started abusing drugs. You’ll be able to think more clearly, and you’ll have more energy. You may feel like you’re ready to go back to your normal life and responsibilities.

This is seldom the case for addicts. Just because your body has readjusted to functioning without the drug, it doesn’t mean you’re cured. Addiction is a disease that has no cure. However, you can learn to manage it through rehab.

When you go to a rehab center, you will learn what caused the addiction in the first place. You still need to go through this process even if you started using Fentanyl as a prescription. You must develop an understanding of the path that led to your addiction so you know how to avoid it in the future.

You will also learn about the triggers that led you to use. These triggers may be people, places or events that cause you to have a craving for the drug. It can be a stressful situation, severe pain or a number of other things.

One of the things you’ll learn in rehab is how to either avoid the triggers or develop a plan to deal with them when they arise. For instance, a person who turns to the drug because they are in pain will need to find another method of dealing with the pain. Someone who turns to drugs when they’re under stress will need to find other ways of dealing with it.

You need these tools to help you avoid relapse in the future. Without rehab, you’re more likely to turn to the drugs the next time you face a trigger or at some point in the future.

Options for Rehab

You can treat your addiction through different types of drug rehab. No single approach is right for every person, and the method of treatment you choose will be based on your own needs and situation.

Inpatient rehab is highly recommended when stopping this drug because of the adverse effects that can result from trying to do it on your own. Also, it’s important to remember that every addiction has a source, and it usually doesn’t happen just because you enjoy the high you experience when you’re using. There is generally an underlying cause to any type of drug addiction, and healing from the root cause is so critical to your long-term recovery goals. When you choose inpatient rehab, you’ll be able to work on the root cause through:

  • Family sessions
  • Group therapy and counseling sessions
  • Relapse prevention therapy
  • One-on-one counseling with an addiction therapist
  • Participating in various events and activities

For some, they may need even more intensive treatment than inpatient rehab. They can turn to residential treatment, which allows them to stay in treatment for several weeks or even months until they are able to deal with life on their own. This option is often used with people who have been addicts for many years or those who have relapsed with other treatments.

Another option for treatment is an outpatient program. With outpatient addiction treatment, you attend therapy a few hours a week and then go about your normal schedule. You’ll still get the benefits of all the treatment options with inpatient rehab, but you’ll be able to go home and to work.

The main advantage of this type of treatment is that it allows you to meet your other obligations. You can take care of your family, go to work or school and handle other responsibilities while getting the support and therapy you need.

Outpatient rehab works best for someone who has family and friends to support them after detoxing. It’s important that you avoid people and places that encouraged your drug use so you don’t relapse while in therapy. You will have to deal with everyday stress and other issues even before you’re fully equipped to handle it. You don’t want to miss any therapy appointments, and you want to work hard in rehab so you can be successful with your treatment.

Outpatient rehab is a good option for those who cannot attend inpatient due to other obligations. It’s ideal for someone with short-term addiction problems or those who have been abusing the drug but not addicted to it.

Intensive outpatient drug addiction treatment is a form of outpatient care, but it is more intense. You may spend several hours in therapy each week – sometimes all day. You can go home and may even be able to go to work, but you’ll need to focus on treatment for longer periods at a time.

Choosing the right type of treatment is an important decision. You’ll need to consider how much support you have outside of rehab and what issues or triggers you’ll face.

What to Expect in Treatment

You’ve probably heard something about drug addiction treatment, and you’ve formed some idea about what will happen. It’s important to know the truth and not rely on myths so you can be prepared for the experience.

You will attend various types of therapy while in treatment. Whether you go to outpatient rehab or check in to an inpatient center, you will need to go through individual counseling to learn about addiction and your issues.

Group therapy is also part of treatment, and it’s often one of the most frightening aspects for many recovering addicts. They dread the thought of talking about something as personal as drug addiction with strangers. They don’t like the thought of being vulnerable with people they don’t know. However, this part of treatment is one of the most important and often becomes a favorite with those who go through the program.

When you attend group therapy, you aren’t forced to participate. You can listen to others who are just like you talk about their addiction problems. They may tell their story or ask for help with a particular issue. You can learn a lot about addiction, and group meetings help you feel less alone. You will build friendships with people who understand what you’re going through.

Family therapy is another option in treatment. It can help you heal relationships that have been broken because of your addiction. It also may help others know how to support you. This therapy can also allow you to deal with problems that may have led to your addiction.

While you’re in therapy, you may be given medication for some aspect of your addiction. If you began abusing Fentanyl because of pain management, you may need to get a new prescription for a medication which won’t be addictive.

Many people who abuse drugs, including prescription drugs like Fentanyl, do so because of a mental health disorder. They want to mask the symptoms of the disorder so no one knows what is happening. Instead of seeking out professional treatment, they self-medicate through a drug they can access. This situation is called a dual diagnosis and must be treated differently than a regular addiction.

With a dual diagnosis, therapy is an important part of the treatment. However, the person may need medication to manage the mental condition. Unlike self-medicating, a prescribed medication is monitored and given at the correct dosage for it to be effective. While a dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorder, is more complicated, it can be treated with the right program.

More drug treatment centers are focusing on treating the whole person and not just the addiction. They do this through several methods, including a focus on the health of the addict. A nutritional program may be created to ensure the person is getting the nutrients they need. They will also get involved in exercise on a regular basis. Not only does this type of treatment help with the addiction, it can be beneficial for a dual diagnosis. While it may not cure the condition, it can reduce some of the symptoms. For example, a person with depression may benefit from an increased intake of foods rich in vitamin B. Someone who can’t sleep may need to change their eating habits to fight insomnia.

Addiction treatment that focuses on helping the entire person feel their best will be more successful than one that ignores these components. You can find many addiction treatment centers that incorporate some type of health and wellness programs in their treatment plans.

Understanding the Cost of Rehab

Cost is the one factor that keeps many people from getting information about this type of professional treatment for their addictions. In the past, this argument was understood, but changes in our healthcare laws have made it possible for anyone to get help for any type of addiction. Your health insurance plan is now required to help you pay for rehab, which means it is affordable for everyone. This is such a welcome change, and it’s resulted in more people getting professional help for their addictions than ever before.

How to Choose a Drug Addiction Treatment Center

If you do a search for drug addiction treatment in your area, you’ll probably come up with a lot of results. You don’t want to take a random approach to select the place where you will go for treatment. Instead, you should do some research to ensure you find a program that will work for your specific situation.

You can tour many of these facilities which will give you an idea of what to expect in treatment. You’ll want to look for a center that offers a comfortable, state-of-the-art facility where you will spend your time in treatment. During this tour, you should be able to ask questions about the staff knowledge and experience, what types of treatment are available and what the success rate is for addiction treatment.

You should also look for a program that provides help with transitioning to your new life after treatment. This is often referred to as aftercare, and it plays an important role in preventing relapse. You can read online reviews from other patients where have completed treatment.

You’ll want to consider detox as part of your treatment. Not all drug treatment centers provide detox at the facility, but they should be able to recommend an option which is nearby.

Once you have all your information, you should select the facility that is most likely to help you meet your goals. Since health insurance pays for drug rehab treatment now, you don’t have to let price be the determining factor in your recovery.

Amytal Addiction Treatment

Opting for the Best Rehab Facilities in Washington State

Here at Northpoint Washington, we understand the importance of drug rehabilitation that works, and one that produces long-term results. Perhaps you’ve been to treatment centers in the past, but you weren’t really all that impressed with the level of treatment you received while you were there. You might be hesitant to try again, but we want to assure you that we are different.

We’ve taken the time to ensure that every patient receives personalized attention and care during addiction treatment, and we understand how important it is to provide the most modern types of treatment available. We want to help you overcome your addiction, and we’re confident you’ll believe you choose correctly when you select Northpoint Washington.

While Northpoint Washington is an outpatient facility based in Edmonds, Washington, we have many locations where we can refer you to near where you live or work. We provide individual treatment plans that are developed based on your needs and addiction history. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to ensure your success. We also offer a high staff to patient ratio so that you can get the care you need.

You can participate in yoga classes, aerobic exercise, hiking and other fun activities that will help heal your mind and body. We also provide a nutrition program that instructs you on eating healthy to not only help you during treatment but to educate you for the future.

Here at Northpoint Washington, we create a sense of community through our support groups and other socialization opportunities along with reaching out to our local community. You will realize you’re not alone, and you have many people in your cheering section, hoping for you to break free from addiction and live a new life. Our drug treatment programs are centered around the holistic method with medication used when necessary.

If this sounds like a place where you’d like to go for your recovery, get to know us and find out more about what we have to offer. For more information, or to get started on your recovery journey right away, contact us.

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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.