The opioid epidemic continues to be a significant public health crisis in the United States. Many of us are aware of prescription painkillers and illicit drugs like heroin, but another opioid has grown in popularity in the last ten years: fentanyl.
Fentanyl, compared with other opioids, is much more potent and has made headlines across the country for its dangerous and highly addictive qualities. It’s also commonly mixed with other street drugs, unbeknownst to the users, with tragic results.
If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to fentanyl, seeking substance abuse treatment is crucial since just a small amount of this drug can be deadly.
Overcoming Fentanyl Addiction with Treatment at Northpoint Nebraska
Northpoint Nebraska offers individualized and integrated treatment plans that address the physical and psychological aspects of your fentanyl addiction, as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Our evidence-based inpatient treatment programs give patients both a safe and comfortable place to overcome their addiction. Patients will learn what contributes to their fentanyl addiction, how to avoid fentanyl relapses, and how to maintain long-term sobriety.
We also offer outpatient programs that give patients the option to keep their family and work schedules while receiving proven and effective treatment. However, when it comes to fentanyl, inpatient treatment is typically recommended.
Our evidence-based treatment approach, highly qualified team of healthcare providers, and medication-assisted detox services give patients a variety of tools to overcome their fentanyl addiction.
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, our 44-bed facility with state-of-the-art technology is designed to produce positive outcomes for patients. We also offer free assessments for anyone considering entering our inpatient or outpatient programs.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50-100 times more potent. Natural opioids come from the opium poppy plant. While some come from the plant directly, synthetic opioids are manufactured. Much like morphine, fentanyl is usually used to treat patients with severe pain, typically after surgeries.
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are the most common drugs associated with overdose deaths in the United States. Fentanyl can be mixed with other drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Many people may not even realize the drugs they’re taking are mixed with fentanyl, which can be dangerous since such a small amount can cause serious side effects.
Fentanyl works by altering how the body responds to pain. While it can be an effective treatment under medical supervision and the right circumstances, misuse is always dangerous. Medical professionals will typically try other medicines before moving to fentanyl.
Signs of Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl can be very dangerous when misused. Extreme care must be used when taking this drug, even under medical supervision and at prescribed doses. When fentanyl is misused, which includes obtaining and taking the drug illegally or taking more than prescribed, it can lead to addiction. Signs of addiction include:
- Building a tolerance and needing more of the drug to obtain the same effect
- Attempting to quit taking the drug, but being unable to
- Strong cravings
- Frequent mistakes at school or work due to fentanyl
- Relationships are being affected negatively due to fentanyl
- Taking the drug longer or more often than intended
If you think you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. Northpoint Nebraska can help–call us at 402.698.3475 to get started on your road to recovery.
What You Should Know About Fentanyl’s Side Effects
Typically, the reason people misuse opioids is that they’re seeking a feeling of euphoria (well-being, elation, or great happiness).
However, there are adverse side effects associated with fentanyl, and some of them can be quite severe, as with most opioids. Common side effects of the drug may include:
- Feeling weak
- Slow breathing
- Becoming unconscious (fainting)
- Slowing heart rate
- Dry mouth
More severe and dangerous side effects include:
- Loss of coordination
- Pounding heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Swelling of the face, throat, lips, or tongue
Those who take too much fentanyl can overdose, which can be fatal. Symptoms of overdose include blue lips, gurgling sounds when breathing, seizures, foaming at the mouth, confusion, unresponsiveness, or difficulty breathing. If you believe you or a loved one may have overdosed, call 911 immediately.
The Fentanyl Detox Process
Medical detox may be necessary to treat fentanyl withdrawal. Detox is a period of 7-10 days during which you rid your body and mind of the substance and eliminate the harmful toxins from the body.
Withdrawal symptoms are your body’s response to no longer having the drug in your system, and they can be pretty uncomfortable and possibly hazardous. A medically supervised detox can help treat withdrawal symptoms and make the process more comfortable for the patient.
Early symptoms of fentanyl and opioid withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Not being able to sleep
Later symptoms may include:
- Dilated pupils
- Abdominal cramping
Medical detox is typically the first step taken for someone addicted to fentanyl.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Available
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is one of the most common forms of treatment used for those battling an addiction to opioids such as fentanyl. MAT combines medications with behavioral health therapies to combat opioid addiction.
The FDA approves three medications for MAT, including buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone (Vivitrol). These treatments are safe and effective when combined with counseling and psychosocial support.
MAT has been shown to improve patient survival, keep more people in treatment, decrease illegal opioid use, increase the ability to gain and maintain employment, and improve birth outcomes for women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant.
Call Northpoint Nebraska Today
If you or a loved one are struggling with fentanyl addiction, you don’t have to fight your battle alone. Reach out to Northpoint Nebraska today at 402.698.3475. We’re waiting for you.