Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Options

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available for overcoming an addiction to fentanyl. Common and successful treatments include medication-assisted treatment and behavioral therapies.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has swept the nation by storm. This drug has played a major role in the opioid epidemic and is responsible for countless overdose-related deaths each year.

Fentanyl is only available by prescription. It is typically reserved for treating severe or chronic pain. It may also be used as an anesthetic or for people who have a high tolerance to opioids.

This drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and significantly stronger than heroin. Due to its potency and fairly cheap production, fentanyl has become a common drug illegally sold and abused.

As a prescription medication, fentanyl is available as Actiq, Duragesic, or Sublimaze. It’s offered as a patch, injection, lozenge, or tablet. On the street, fentanyl is available in a variety of forms, including lollipops, blotting paper, and powder.

Fentanyl tolerance and dependence can quickly build, especially when this drug is abused. Dependence on fentanyl can lead to opioid addiction, which can be dangerous and even deadly.

Symptoms And Signs Of Fentanyl Addiction

People who are addicted to opioids like fentanyl often show signs typical of drug-using behavior. This can include lying about using the drug, hiding drug use, and withdrawing from friends and family. People addicted to fentanyl may also have financial hardships and trouble with school or work.

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Abusing fentanyl can also elicit certain symptoms that may include:

  • slowed breathing
  • blurry vision
  • confusion
  • euphoria
  • upset stomach
  • sedation
  • constipation

People abusing fentanyl may also go “on the nod,” or go in and out of consciousness. Another noticeable sign that someone is abusing fentanyl is pinpoint pupils.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction is important, as abusing fentanyl can have dangerous and even deadly consequences. Getting help for a fentanyl addiction is the best way to prevent the life-threatening dangers of using this drug.

Treatment Options For Fentanyl Abuse And Addiction

There are several options available for treating fentanyl or other opioid addictions. These include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as well as behavioral therapy. While these two options are effective on their own, success in recovery is more likely when they are combined.

Most people who are addicted to fentanyl will need to partake in a comprehensive treatment plan. This may include a medically monitored detox program, inpatient treatment, medication management, and aftercare.

Detox Programs For Fentanyl Addiction

A medically monitored detox program is often needed before someone can begin treatment for fentanyl addiction. Detox programs help individuals rid the body of fentanyl. They also provide support for managing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Patients may be given medication to ease withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can include vomiting, diarrhea, pain, and upset stomach. Withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the level of dependence on the drug.

How long a patient spends in a detox program will depend on his or her condition.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) For Fentanyl Addiction

There are a variety of medications that are used in the treatment of fentanyl addiction. Medications used to treat opioid addiction work similarly to opioids in the brain. However, they are much less likely to result in addiction and are far safer than fentanyl.

Medications used in fentanyl addiction treatment come in three different categories: agonists, partial agonists, and antagonists.

Common medications used in the treatment of fentanyl addiction include:

Naltrexone — This drug is an opioid antagonist that works by preventing other opioids from having an effect. This can help to prevent relapse.

Methadone — Methadone is one of the most common drugs used in opioid addiction treatment. This substance is a slow-acting agonist that reduces withdrawal symptoms and eases cravings.

Buprenorphine — This drug is a partial opioid agonist that helps reduce fentanyl cravings.

The medication used in treatment will be based on each individual’s unique needs. Medication-assisted treatment is most often combined with other forms of therapy.

Behavioral Therapy For Fentanyl Addiction

Behavioral therapies are a common form of treatment for fentanyl addiction. Two of the most popular behavioral therapies are cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management. These therapies can be used in both inpatient and outpatient programs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — CBT focuses on uncovering and changing a person’s thoughts and behaviors as they relate to addiction. It also emphasizes the development of coping strategies and dealing with cravings.

Contingency Management — This form of behavioral therapy centers around a reward system for positive behavior. For example, a reward may be given for a negative drug test.

These therapies can be used separately or together and are commonly combined with other treatment methods.

Getting Help For Fentanyl Addiction

Overcoming an opioid addiction isn’t easy, but it’s important to know that you don’t have to do it alone. Seeking treatment is the best decision you can make and will help you get on the road to long-term recovery and sobriety.

To learn more about fentanyl addiction treatment options, contact our treatment specialists today.

NIDA - DrugFacts: Fentanyl

NIDA - Addressing America’s Fentanyl Crisis

MedlinePlus - Opiate and opioid withdrawal

NIDA - Research on the Use and Misuse of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

NIDA - Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction

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