Fentanyl is a highly addictive drug at the forefront of the current opioid crisis. Because it is both cheaper and more potent than opioids like heroin, fentanyl is widely becoming one of the most abused drugs on the street. Fentanyl is responsible for a large percentage of overdose deaths in the United States.
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid. The effects of fentanyl are similar to morphine, although fentanyl is nearly 100 times stronger. Because it can be synthetically manufactured, it is also far cheaper than morphine or heroin. This is a dangerous combination often, as people accustomed to heroin use may accidentally overdose on fentanyl by taking too large of a dose. Many people may use fentanyl thinking it is weaker than heroin because it is so much cheaper without realizing it is a far more potent substance.
Fentanyl is a Schedule II substance. A Schedule II substance is considered by the United States government to be approved for medical use but also runs a high risk of being abused. In this case, fentanyl may be used to treat severe pain in a medical setting. Because of the risk of abuse and addiction, fentanyl may only be used in extreme circumstances, such as when a person has developed a tolerance to other pain relief medications.
Due to the potency of fentanyl, symptoms of use are often strong. When injected, fentanyl will cause effects within seconds. Effects of fentanyl can be serious and cause a negative impact on a person’s mental and physical health. Some symptoms of fentanyl use include:
Fentanyl use can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. Not only are the effects of fentanyl use harmful, but it is also incredibly easy to accidentally overdose while using fentanyl. Injecting the drug directly into the bloodstream also introduces new dangers outside of the effects of drug use. Some dangers of fentanyl use include:
Due to the potency of the drug, it is incredibly easy to accidentally overdose on fentanyl. An overdose occurs when the body takes in too large of an amount of a toxic substance. When the body becomes overloaded by toxicity it can no longer process the substance and fails as a result. This can lead to coma or death. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you believe you or someone around you has overdoses on fentanyl.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, is a book used by medical professionals to diagnose a variety of different disorders. Substance use disorder is one mental health condition that often uses the DSM-5 during the diagnosis process.
The DSM-5 lists eleven symptoms that represent a substance abuse problem. A medical professional will evaluate a person’s symptoms based on these eleven criteria during the diagnosis process. The eleven criteria of a substance abuse disorder are:
Not only is the DSM-5 used for diagnosis, but it can also be used to determine the severity of the disorder. For example, if a person displays two or three of the above symptoms, they would be diagnosed with a mild substance abuse disorder. Four or five symptoms suggest a moderate condition, and six or more symptoms represent a severe disorder.
Because fentanyl is such a powerful drug, addiction will often cause severe dependency and withdrawal. Withdrawal can be a difficult process, especially when potent opioids are involved. Someone entering recovery from a fentanyl addiction should not attempt to go through the withdrawal process alone. It is essential to seek the help of medical professionals, who can provide support and supervision during the detox process.
Substance abuse treatment should always be catered to the needs of the individual. Each person in recovery may respond differently to various types of treatment, so no one treatment program will work for everyone.
Psychotherapy options, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, can be beneficial in the treatment of substance abuse. Group meetings, such as SMART Recovery or Narcotics Anonymous, may be helpful tools for people who find group support helpful.
If you or a loved one may be suffering from fentanyl addiction, the first step is to seek a medical professional’s help. Getting help with addiction treatment is a vital step in the recovery process. Symptoms associated with withdrawal are often challenging and can be dangerous to face alone. Treatment facilities can help guide you through the initial stages of the recovery process safely and effectively.
At AM Health Care, we believe in finding the recovery method that will work best for you. Every person has different needs when it comes to addiction treatment, and not one thing will work for all people. We can find the facility and program that best fits your needs to receive the best chance at recovery possible. Please reach out to us at 818-383-1297 to learn more about substance abuse treatment options.