Fentanyl, although available on prescription, can be extremely addictive. In fact, fentanyl is a stronger drug than other opioids such as heroin and morphine.
If you or a loved one has a fentanyl addiction, it’s important to seek addiction treatment sooner rather than later. Fentanyl abuse can be extremely dangerous, and increase the risk of overdose.
Fentanyl overdose deaths have been increasing in the UK since the first fentanyl-related death in England was registered in 1999.
Continue reading to learn more about fentanyl, fentanyl addiction, and fentanyl addiction treatment. On this page, we’ll also be explaining how our friendly team of addiction experts at Help4Addiction can help you overcome your opioid addiction.
Fentanyl, like morphine and heroin, is an opioid drug that affects your body’s opioid receptors, relieving pain and anxiety related to pain. This can make you feel relaxed.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid – however, synthetic fentanyl is around 50 times more strong than heroin – and up to 100 times more strong than morphine. Synthetic opioids should be used with caution and doctors’ advice should always be taken seriously.
There are two types of fentanyl – pharmaceutical fentanyl that is prescribed, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl that can be dangerous and deadly. Illicitly-produced fentanyl isn’t regulated, and there is always the risk of overdose when taking it.
This type of fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs as it is so potent- and has a heroin-like effect. People will add fentanyl to street drugs to make them cheaper and more addictive – however, this is much more dangerous than using pharmaceutical fentanyl as prescribed.
Because fentanyl is a dangerous and addictive drug, it is only available on prescription. You can find fentanyl in the form of nasal spray, lozenges and tablets that dissolve in your mouth, as well as patches that you place on your skin. You can also be given fentanyl via injection – but this is only usually available in hospital settings.
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You may be prescribed fentanyl or other opioid analgesics for pain relief – to treat chronic pain. For example, cancer patients may be prescribed fentanyl to relieve intense pain as it can help to control breakthrough cancer pain – pain that occurs despite taking regular painkillers.
Fentanyl may also be administered to treat pain during an operation. Your doctor may also prescribe fentanyl for severe pain if other painkillers – for example, codeine – have stopped working.
Fentanyl is a highly addictive drug – frequent and repeated use can lead to you developing a tolerance to the drug. This can quickly turn into a physical dependence and psychological addiction.
If you are addicted to fentanyl after being prescribed, you may seek to buy the drug elsewhere – for example, from drug dealers. You may struggle to control your fentanyl use, and drug abuse may become a priority.
There are many behavioural symptoms of fentanyl addiction, as well as psychological symptoms and physical symptoms. For example:
If you notice these signs of drug addiction in yourself or a loved one, then we recommend speaking with one of our friendly Help4Addiction advisors to find out the treatment options available to you.
When you abuse fentanyl or use illegal fentanyl, you may experience a fentanyl overdose. This is a medical emergency and usually requires hospital treatment.
Likewise, mixing fentanyl with other drugs can also increase the risk of overdose. Here are some signs and symptoms of a fentanyl overdose to look out for:
A fentanyl overdose can be extremely dangerous and can result in serious damage and even death.
If you are physically dependent on fentanyl or other illicit/ prescription opioids, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal when you suddenly stop taking the drug.
These symptoms can be unpleasant and sometimes dangerous – and may require medical assistance. Often, to manage unpleasant physical symptoms and psychological symptoms, pharmacological management is necessary.
This may involve taking methadone or buprenorphine in an inpatient setting/ residential rehab or an outpatient treatment centre.
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and drug withdrawal symptoms in general can be unpleasant and sometimes dangerous. Here are some common symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal:
If you feel as though your fentanyl use and drug abuse are getting out of control, we recommend that you seek addiction treatment.
This is something we can help with at Help4Addiction – continue reading to learn more about drug addiction treatment, and how Help4Addiction can help you overcome your addiction to fentanyl.
There are two main forms of addiction treatment – inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. As an inpatient, you will reside in a residential rehab facility throughout your course of rehab.
However, if you opt for outpatient rehab, you will continue living at home and travel to your scheduled rehab sessions.
Read on to learn more about what to expect from fentanyl rehab including detoxification, therapy, and aftercare.
The first stage of substance use disorder treatment involves detoxing from the drug. If you have a severe physical dependence on fentanyl, you’ll likely experience more severe withdrawal symptoms.
In this instance, you may need medical assistance when detoxing – or a medically supervised detox with methadone or buprenorphine.
The detox process can last between five and seven days – however, with more severe addictions, it can take over ten days.
Several factors can affect how long it will take to successfully detox from the drug – for example, your height and weight, the length of your addiction, and the amount of fentanyl you’re used to taking.
We recommend that you complete a drug detox as part of a larger treatment plan – this is because detoxification alone does not tackle all aspects of addiction. Instead, a fentanyl detoxfocuses on physical dependence.
Once you have successfully completed the fentanyl detox process, you will move on to the next stage of rehab treatment – therapy.
Therapy can help you to gain an understanding of yourself and your addiction, your triggers, and the root causes of your addiction. This can help prevent detox and can ease the transition back into society. Addiction therapy can also improve your confidence, well-being, and general mental health.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help understand your thoughts, behaviours, and feelings and how they may affect your addiction. You may learn effective ways to manage unpleasant feelings and sensations; coping strategies that can help you in your everyday life.
You may also be offered holistic therapies or counselling on a one-to-one basis – as well as group sessions. Some other forms of therapy in rehab include interpersonal therapy, family therapy, group therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), and many more.
Secondary treatment, also referred to as aftercare, can help to ease the transition and to help you to live a drug-free life.
After completing therapy or residential rehab, you may go home but remain attending therapy sessions or support groups on an outpatient basis.
You may also receive online support and telephone support, which can help to manage and prevent relapse.
At Help4Addiction, we can help to find the right rehabilitation centre for you and your circumstances. With centres located around England and Wales, we can find you the ideal local treatment centre.
You don’t have to deal with drug addiction or drug abuse alone. Our friendly team understands how difficult it can be to deal with addiction, which is why we dedicate ourselves to ensuring people struggling with addiction receive the treatment they deserve.
Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.
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