What is Fentanyl?
Before we can understand the withdrawal process and symptoms of Fentanyl, we must understand the drug itself. Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate analgesic. It has some similar features to morphine. However, it is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin.
When used correctly through a prescription, Fentanyl is prescribed to patients who suffer from chronic and unrelenting pain. These people can’t find relief through less potent drugs. Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II prescription drug in the United States. These drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse and may result in severe mental and physical dependence.
“...lack of awareness about the potency of Fentanyl, along with its variability, availability and increasing contamination of the illicit drug supply, poses substantial risks to people who use drugs.”
National Institute on Drug Abuse
The drug’s effect on the brain is what causes the dangers of Fentanyl use. When Fentanyl enters a person’s system, they feel a rush of euphoria. This rush of euphoria evolves to an intense calm and relaxed state. Other effects on the body include reduced breathing and heart rate, impaired focus and attention, slurred speech, and a desire to go to sleep. Due to its intensity and potency, Fentanyl is highly addictive.
45.9% opioid deaths in 2016 were caused by Fentanyl
Abuse of Fentanyl
There are three types of Fentanyl abuse. These three types are:
- prescription drug abuse,
- recreational prescription drug abuse,
- and illegal recreational drug abuse.
In prescription drug abuse, the Fentanyl prescription belongs to the person but is not followed correctly. Due to the level of pain the person is experiencing, they may take more of the medication or increase the frequency of the medication taken.
With recreational prescription drug abuse, the user procures Fentanyl from another person who has a prescription. This individual may be unaware of how dangerous the medication is, or they may steal the drug from other family or friends, who have a valid prescription.
Illegal recreational drug abuse is when the abuser uses “street” forms of the Fentanyl, either alone or in combination with other street drugs such as heroin. In many cases, heroin manufactures use Fentanyl to add potency to their product. As a result, the person purchasing the product is not prepared for the consequences of the drug.
If you think you might have an addiction to Fentanyl? Call 800-492-QUIT to get help today
Fentanyl is highly addictive, and stopping use can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. This is especially true if the person has been taking high doses of Fentanyl for an extended period of time. At this point, the person’s body, as well as mental state, are dependent on the drug.
In such cases, abruptly quitting Fentanyl can lead to extreme withdrawal effects. Some symptoms of withdrawal include muscle cramps and pain, sweating, headaches, fever, insomnia, fatigue, rapid heart rate, nausea, and vomiting. Some other symptoms can include tremors, muscle tension, and rapid, strained breathing. The effects of Fentanyl withdrawal usually begin between 6 and 36 hours after the last usage of the drug, and they can last for 1 to 2 days.
While 1 to 2 days does not sound like a very long time, someone dependent on Fentanyl will constantly suffer throughout the duration. Without the proper support and resources, it is very difficult to escape a Fentanyl addiction. The person suffering from the withdrawal symptoms will not be able to think rationally and, in most cases, will end up turning back to Fentanyl to ease the agony they are enduring. Sadly, each time this occurs, the person delves a little deeper into their addiction and dependence.
Although beating a Fentanyl addiction is difficult, it can be done with the proper resources and assistance. If your loved one is ready to quit Fentanyl use, contact someone for expert help. There are rehab centers available that can help a person handle withdrawal symptoms medically by weaning them off the drug.
Rehab centers can also provide proper doses of other medications such as anti-anxiety or anti-convulsant medications to help with withdrawal. It’s also important to receive mental treatment in addition to physical treatment, to address the person’s psychological reasons for using.