What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid drug that is often provided to people who are in extreme pain after surgeries or due to a serious illness like cancer. It can be prescribed as a lozenge to be sucked on, a slow-release skin patch, or an intravenous injection, with common brand names including Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze, and Abstral.
Fentanyl causes feelings of euphoria and sedation that can be pleasant as it attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain that affect emotions and pain. Some effects of fentanyl include:
- Drowsiness or relaxation
- Slowed breathing
- Constricted pupils
- Slurred speech
- Stomach problems like constipation
- Slowed heart rate
It is a narcotic drug that is heavily regulated because the use of this medication, even as prescribed by a doctor, can easily lead to physical dependence, making quitting difficult and leading to addiction.
Fentanyl that was made in illicit laboratories can also come from drug dealers. This unregulated and extremely dangerous drug can come as a powder, liquid nasal spray, eye dropper, or drop onto blotter paper, made without quality controls. It can be snorted, smoked, swallowed, or injected. Every time you use street fentanyl you are at serious risk of overdose, with around 150 people in the U.S. dying per day of a fentanyl overdose. Even the additives put into fentanyl before it is sold may cause harm to your organs.
For more information on how our addiction treatment programs can help heal drug or alcohol dependence, please give The River Source a call at 866-294-9331.
Does Fentanyl Cause Withdrawal?
Yes, the cessation of fentanyl use, especially if it is done “cold turkey,” will usually lead to withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms vary from person to person and depend on factors like how long they have been using fentanyl, how much they were using each time, and biological factors like metabolism and genetics.
Finding out how to manage fentanyl withdrawal symptoms is the first step to stopping fentanyl abuse for many people. Withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that they may try to quit but find it too difficult, preferring to continue using opioids than experience the distress and pain of withdrawal.
Getting through your withdrawal period is not easy, but it is important. Deaths from fentanyl overdose are increasing yearly, as this drug slows heart rates and breathing down to dangerous levels if too much is used or if it is used along with other substances like alcohol. Quitting fentanyl use is the only real way to be able to avoid fentanyl overdose or other serious health complications that can come from using fentanyl for a long period of time, including lung infections, falls and injuries due to impairment, serious digestive issues, sleep issues, and worsening mental health problems.
11 Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms from fentanyl include:
- Restless and anxiety
- Muscle, joint, and bone pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Yawning uncontrollably
- Chills, sweating, and/or goosebumps
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Rapid heart rate
- Tremors and muscle twitches
- Strong cravings for fentanyl
3 Ways to Manage Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are not easy for anybody to handle. You are not “weak” if you cannot stop using this drug alone. In fact, it is one of the most addictive and powerful drugs out there, and getting real help is imperative to stop it for good. Some ways to manage your withdrawal symptoms include:
- Slow taper – If you are wondering how to manage fentanyl withdrawal symptoms at home, only do so under a doctor’s guidance. You may be able to taper off your use of fentanyl on your own at home, especially if you have only been using fentanyl for a few weeks. Opioid withdrawal can become dangerous to your health, so it is important to never quit suddenly. Stay positive, eat healthy food, reduce stress, get enough exercise and sleep, follow your doctor’s orders and be honest with yourself and others to stay safe and off fentanyl. Joining a 12-step group like Narcotics Anonymous and leaning on other social support may be key to some people’s success in recovery.
- Medical detox – The best way to get through fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and stay safe as your body works hard to remove the toxins from your system is to stay inside an inpatient residential detox center for your detox. Fentanyl withdrawal can be incredibly difficult to get through on your own, but with the support of doctors and nurses who are around 24 hours a day to monitor your health and provide prescription doses of medications if you need them, you will be much more comfortable in a detox center. In a medical detox program, you will have all the care you need provided by nonjudgmental, experienced, and accredited practitioners you can trust.
- Medication-assisted treatment – A medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program can also help you if you have a severe addiction to fentanyl, if you have been using a lot of fentanyl, or if you have been using the drug for a long period of time. This long-term program helps your body to wean slowly off its fentanyl dependence with doses of prescription medication approved by the FDA to eliminate the most severe symptoms, pains, and cravings so you can begin to take back control over your life through therapy and rehab. Medications may be provided in a methadone clinic or another outpatient setting and can last for weeks, months, or years, depending on the person’s unique scenario.
Find Relief from Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms and Addiction at The River Source
If you have been using fentanyl and are having difficulty stopping, you are not alone. Thousands of other Americans are struggling with the same affliction, but it does not need to be a life sentence. At The River Source treatment center, we can help you. Through a customized program tailored to your needs and preferences, we will do all we can to get you through detox so you can discover your life’s purpose and work toward personalized recovery goals, getting sober and gaining the skills and tools you need to live your best life.
Our programs include a healthy combination of evidence-based treatments, behavioral therapies, naturopathic services, family therapy, group therapy, and much more. We use a whole-patient approach to healing, providing care that treats your body, your mind, and your spirit, so you can achieve wellness in all aspects of your life as you heal the underlying causes of addiction, take on new accountability for your actions, and gain new recovery skills.
We also provide long-term addiction treatment, continuing care coordination, and connections to sober living homes and 12-step programs, providing you with the best possible recovery scenario, treating drug and alcohol addictions, and providing the best possible chance of living a healthy, well-balanced life in recovery.
At The River Source, we believe in the full spectrum of treatments so much that we offer a recovery guarantee: if you complete the full 150-day continuum of care, from your 1-to-10-day medical detox through 30 to 90 days of inpatient rehab and 6 months of outpatient treatment (one month of partial hospitalization treatment, followed by 2 months of intensive outpatient programming), and you still end up relapsing, you can return at no additional cost. Call us today at 866-294-9331 to learn more about our detox programs, addiction treatments and different insurance coverage programs.