Risks Associated With Fentanyl Use
Fentanyl can be deadly, even in small doses. It’s often prescribed to patients undergoing surgery or recovering from an injury because of its ability to relieve pain, reduce anxiety and relieve nausea. Street fentanyl is created in a clandestine lab and often mixed with other substances like heroin or cocaine, making its potency unpredictable. This unpredictability makes overdose more likely and puts people in danger of experiencing potentially deadly side effects.
Symptoms of fentanyl abuse can include:
- Respiratory depression, leading to reduced oxygen levels, slowed heart rate or cardiac arrest
- Nausea and vomiting with abdominal pain
- Cognitive impairment, including risk-taking or poor judgment
- Skin breakdown and infection
Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose
One of the most significant risks of using fentanyl is overdose. Overdose deaths in 2020 topped 56,000 in the United States, and without resources to help those facing addiction, that number will continue to rise.
If you or someone you love is addicted to fentanyl, familiarize yourself with these overdose signs:
- Shallow or stopped breathing
- Blue lips, nails or skin
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Extreme drowsiness
- Tiny pupils
If you notice any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.
If you or your loved one is ready to overcome opioid addiction, it can be helpful to know what to expect throughout the fentanyl detox process.
Detoxing from fentanyl can be a long process, and fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are almost always intense, as is the case with most opioid withdrawal symptoms. Fentanyl addiction requires a medical detox facility where the person can undergo detox with supervision and 24-hour care.
The fentanyl withdrawal timeline varies for everyone, but in most cases, it can take as long as 5 to 7 days after the last dose to overcome withdrawal symptoms. That said, depending on how long the user has abused prescription medications and how much they are typically used in one session, detox from fentanyl can take more or less time.
Withdrawal symptoms users can expect to experience after they quit cold turkey, or even while weaning off the drug, can include:
- Extreme cravings
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Enlarged pupils
- Runny nose
Subacute Fentanyl Detoxification
At Ranch Creek Recovery, we provide subacute fentanyl detox treatment. Our clients are admitted as inpatients and provided with full-time care and medical supervision to ensure they can undergo fentanyl detox as comfortably and safely as possible.
Those who suffer chronic pain will be guided through safe pain management techniques as they overcome their opioid use disorder.
Common Challenges Faced During Fentanyl Detox
Fentanyl addiction is complicated, and fentanyl withdrawal comes with many challenges. Like other synthetic opioids and prescription drug opiates, fentanyl binds itself to opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in the user becoming physically dependent and mentally dependent at the same time. This is why detox from fentanyl typically takes a long time after the user’s last dose and comes with various uncomfortable symptoms.
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms result from how the drug impacts brain chemistry. Those who undergo opioid withdrawal experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms simultaneously, often making medical detox a far more uncomfortable process for those who abuse fentanyl and other opiates than those who visit a treatment center to recover from other types of addiction.
Because of the discomfort associated with fentanyl withdrawal, the risk of relapse is high.
Whether you or your loved one has used prescription fentanyl or synthetic fentanyl, the road to recovery may be long. However, recovery is possible with medically supervised detox and the right treatment plan.
After a successful fentanyl detox, clients at Ranch Creek Recovery receive a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their specific needs, including treatment of any lingering fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. This plan may include group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapy, medication-assisted therapy and one-on-one drug abuse counseling, and alternative therapy techniques like music, art and physical fitness.
The most successful users recover in a residential setting, receiving drug abuse treatment 24 hours daily under medical supervision. Once a residential program has been successfully completed, most clients move to outpatient care and, eventually, group therapy to ensure their recovery remains successful.
Tools and Resources for Recovery
If someone you love is suffering from fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and undergoing medical detox, you can support their substance abuse recovery by being there for them with love and support.
A person in recovery from fentanyl addiction may experience intense emotions and cravings, mood swings and various other physical and mental symptoms. Forgiveness, safety and support are the most important resources friends and family members can offer.
Loved ones can also educate themselves about withdrawal by utilizing books and podcasts and ensuring they attend all family therapy sessions.
There Is Life After Addiction — Call Us Today!
Are you or a loved one struggling with fentanyl addiction? If so, the time to start your recovery journey is now.
Contact Ranch Creek Recovery at 877-997-8931 to speak with one of our admissions counselors and discover your treatment options.