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What is a Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an incredibly potent opioid that has become increasingly popular in the country over recent years. As the opioid epidemic continues, the use of fentanyl on the street persists. Fentanyl is responsible for a staggering number of overdoses throughout the United States on a yearly basis. While prescription fentanyl is not quite as dangerous as the version of the drug that is found on the streets, it is extremely addictive regardless of its origin. Fentanyl is a very powerful drug, with the potential for overdosing on the medication posing a serious danger to those who use it.
Fentanyl is typically prescribed in a hospital setting for the treatment of acute pain, either from surgery or chronic pain issues. Because of the high risk of developing dependence and addiction to Fentanyl, the drug is considered to be dangerous even to those who are prescribed it by a doctor. Fentanyl is often mixed into other street drugs, such as heroin, to achieve a higher level of potency. The ratio of fentanyl present in the mixture is typically unknown to users, which can very easily lead to an accidental overdose. There are also many dangerous side effects when it comes to using fentanyl, even when it is used properly according to a prescription.
What is Fentanyl Abuse and Detoxification?
Fentanyl is a particularly dangerous drug when it comes to addiction and abuse because of its high potential for dependency and overdose. Commonly mixed with other street drugs in order to provide users with more of the desired effects of consumption, many individuals may not know that they are ingesting fentanyl at all. Repeatedly ingesting fentanyl, knowingly or otherwise, can easily lead to the development of a dependence on the drug. Once a dependency is formed, the body is no longer able to function properly without the presence of fentanyl. Fentanyl overdose slows the heart rate and respiration rate of the user, which can lead to respiratory arrest, coma, and death if medical assistance is not provided. If symptoms of overdose occur and medical assistance is not sought, long-term or fatal consequences are likely. This potential is especially severe for those taking fentanyl in the form of street drugs, as the level of fentanyl present is unknown. Detoxification is the first step towards sobriety from drugs like fentanyl and should take place under medical supervision due to the danger fentanyl addiction poses.
The Effects of Fentanyl Abuse on the Body
The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases the risk of serious side effects from the prolonged consumption of the drug. Instances of overdose are also highly possible, as fentanyl is many times stronger than other street drugs like heroin. Those who take street drugs in the form of powder or pills may be consuming fentanyl unknowingly. There are a multitude of physical and psychological symptoms of fentanyl abuse. Even those who are prescribed fentanyl by a medical professional have the potential to become addicted to form a dependency on or become addicted to the substance. For this reason, those taking fentanyl for medical reasons should be closely monitored by a doctor and should only take the medication for as long as is necessary. Some of the signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse and addiction may include:
- Feeling lightheaded
- Feeling sedated or drowsy
- Feeling euphoric
- Feeling relaxed
- Feeling a sense of well-being
- Respiratory Arrest
- Stomach upset, vomiting, nausea
Those who consume fentanyl can easily become hooked on the medication. Once a dependency develops, detoxification is required, and withdrawal symptoms may be encountered.
Fentanyl overdose is a serious risk to those who consume the drug. The symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include:
- Pale skin
- Blue lips and extremities
- Slow heart rate
- Slow respiration rate
- Respiratory arrest
- Choking sounds
What are the Symptoms of Fentanyl Detox?
Fentanyl detoxification typically takes place over about a week’s time, with the peak symptoms of withdrawal occurring on days two through four. The duration of fentanyl detox varies from person to person, as do withdrawal symptoms. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are also possible when it comes to fentanyl addiction. Withdrawal is a highly uncomfortable process, which is why a fentanyl detox program should be attended by those dealing with addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms usually begin around six hours after the last dose of fentanyl is consumed. Users may experience symptoms during this time that include feelings of anxiety, agitation, trouble sleeping, sweating, hot and cold flashes, body and muscle aches, joint pain, and a runny nose.
After a couple of days, detox symptoms hit their peak. Symptoms include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is the most difficult stage of withdrawal for patients.
Symptoms of withdrawal from fentanyl typically dissipate within about a week. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can occur and may last for weeks or months after fentanyl use is discontinued. Symptoms of post-acute withdrawal include mood swings, sleep disturbances, and cravings.
How Long Does it Take to Detox from Fentanyl?
There are a number of factors that can influence how long it takes to detox from fentanyl. Even once the drug is no longer present in the body, withdrawal symptoms can persist as the body relearns how to function without fentanyl in its system. One of the main factors that can impact the length of time it takes to detox from fentanyl is the method of consumption. Those who use fentanyl intravenously take less time to detox than those who use patches, lozenges, or other methods of consumption. IV fentanyl typically leaves the body within about 24 hours, while fentanyl consumed in other ways can take up to two days to leave the system completely. There are many other factors that can influence the length of your detox, including:
- The amount of fentanyl consumed
- The length of time an individual has been consuming fentanyl
- Other drugs that are in the body, which may interact with the fentanyl
- The genetic makeup of the patient
- The overall health of the patient
- The person’s history of drug abuse
Recognizing if Fentanyl Detox May Be Right For You
Those who consume fentanyl that is not prescribed by a doctor are in need of fentanyl detox programs to help them get off the drug. Even patients who take fentanyl at the recommendation of a doctor will likely need assistance when ceasing use of the drug. Fentanyl detox programs may be right for you if you experience one or more of the following:
- Intense cravings for fentanyl
- Taking fentanyl frequently or in larger doses than prescribed
- Having your thoughts consumed by the need to find and take fentanyl
- Faking symptoms or lying to healthcare professionals in order to obtain fentanyl
- Requiring fentanyl to feel like you are able to function properly
- Stopping activities you previously enjoyed in favor of taking fentanyl
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking fentanyl
- Being unsuccessful in prior attempts to stop taking fentanyl
What Are the Different Types of Detox?
Many different detox programs are available to those seeking help. Clients who are addicted to fentanyl as a result of consuming the drug when combined with other substances can benefit greatly from detox programs. These programs are confidential, safe, and take place under the supervision of medical professionals who can assist clients through the detox process by providing medication to lessen withdrawal symptoms.
Detoxification programs are available for:
- Fentanyl addiction
- Alcohol addiction
- Cocaine addiction
- Barbiturate addiction
- Percocet addiction
- Vicodin addiction
- Oxycodone addiction
- Heroin addiction
- Crystal meth addiction
- Morphine addiction
- Lortab addiction
- Hydromorphone addiction
- Norco addiction
- Tramadol addiction
Getting Help and Fentanyl Detox
Getting help is important when detoxing from fentanyl. Withdrawal symptoms can be hard to manage on your own, and attempts at detoxing may lead to relapse. Detoxification programs help clients rid their bodies of toxins under medical supervision. Clients who complete detoxification programs should go on to attend residential or outpatient treatment for their addiction, where they will learn positive coping mechanisms, how to avoid cravings, and how to prevent instances of relapse, leading to long-term, healthy recovery.