Treating Fentanyl Addiction Near Atlanta
Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is a leading cause of drug overdoses in the United States. Even small doses of fentanyl can be fatal. While fentanyl has medical benefits if prescribed by a doctor, illicit fentanyl use can quickly lead to addiction. If you suspect a loved one is using fentanyl illicitly, knowing the risks and warning signs can help you get them the treatment they need to save their life before it is too late.
At Twin Lakes Recovery Center in Monroe, GA, we understand the dangers of fentanyl as well as how easily opioid addiction develops, even among those who use prescription opioids. If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl, prescription opioid, or illicit opioid use, our compassionate team offers individualized treatment delivered without judgment.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that doctors sometimes prescribe to patients who are in serious pain, but it has quickly become part of the world of illicit drug dealing and drug use. Fentanyl is linked to the increase in overdose deaths from opioids. Illegal forms of it are highly dangerous, especially because fentanyl may be added to other drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine without the users’ knowledge.
What makes fentanyl so worrisome is that it is 50 to 100 times more potent than the average dose of morphine doctors prescribe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fentanyl has no taste or odor. It comes in various forms, such as:
- IV drip
- Pain patches
- Pills or film
Why is Fentanyl Use Increasing?
Fentanyl is highly lethal and yet it creates such an intense high that it is often sought after by those suffering from substance use disorder. Fentanyl can produce sedative effects and cause relaxation and drowsiness. It can also cause feelings of peace and euphoria.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2016, the use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surpassed the use of prescription opioids as the most common drug linked to overdoses in the country. That year, 42,248 people died from overdoses related to opioid use. Of those, synthetic opioids were behind 19,413 deaths.
Though commonly used by doctors for pain treatment, such as during cancer treatment and to relieve severe pain after surgery, fentanyl is often misused by patients. Brand names such as Actiq, Sublimaze, and Duragesic are some of the most commonly used prescriptions.
What are the Effects of Fentanyl Use?
Fentanyl affects a person’s central nervous system and can cause both mental and physical side effects. It can also decrease a person’s oxygen level and slow down the heart rate. Long-term fentanyl use can lead to serious complications. Some of the most common side effects of fentanyl use are:
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic constipation
Fentanyl is highly addictive. A person with an addiction to fentanyl may show various behavioral and personality changes. You may notice them withdrawing from family and friends, and they may not be motivated to work or do the activities they once enjoyed. Some other signs of a fentanyl addiction are:
- Rapid mood swings
- Episodes of paranoia
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Impaired judgment
- Drowsiness or nodding off
- Loss of appetite
What are the Warning Signs of an Overdose?
Fentanyl can be deadly when used by itself. If it is mixed with other substances such as heroin, the risks for death or other severe complications, including coma or respiratory distress, are much higher. Warning signs that can indicate an opioid overdose from substances such as fentanyl include:
- Small or constricted pupils
- Trouble walking or talking
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Losing consciousness
- Stopped or shallow breathing
- Making gurgling sounds
- Skin that is cold and clammy
If your loved one has signs of an overdose, seek immediate medical attention and call 911. To reverse the effects of an overdose from fentanyl, naloxone may be administered by a first responder or medical professional. Depending on the amount of fentanyl taken, a person may require more than one dose of naloxone.
What is it like to Withdraw from Fentanyl?
Withdrawing from fentanyl can be painful and difficult. Therefore, medical detox is recommended to keep the person safe and as comfortable as possible. Withdrawal symptoms include severe cravings for the drug as well as the following:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Anxiety and depression
- Extreme restlessness
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Aches and pains
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Sweating or chills and fever
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
Contact Our Georgia Recovery Center
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, contact Twin Lakes Recovery Center. Our facility near Atlanta offers a variety of treatment programs for those with substance use disorders. We are also “co-occurring capable,” which means that if your substance use disorder is complicated by a mental health disorder, we can treat both disorders simultaneously.
Your treatment will likely begin with medically supervised detox. This will safely remove fentanyl from your body and is the first step toward healing. But detox is just the beginning. For a full and sustainable recovery, further treatment is needed. Depending on your situation, we may recommend residential treatment or our intensive outpatient program. Both programs include individual and group therapy, psychoeducation, relapse prevention, family programming, and more.
After your time in treatment ends, we will encourage you to join our alumni program. This program offers the CaredFor App, our secure, online platform that allows our alumni to connect, engage, and support one another, while also staying in touch with Twin Lakes Recovery Center. The alumni program also offers weekly AA meetings and monthly events to support your sobriety. Contact us to find out more about what we have to offer.