Fentanyl, a human-made drug once available exclusively in hospitals, is driving the recent alarming spike in opioid overdose deaths. Because it takes effect quickly and binds more completely to the brain’s opioid receptors, fentanyl has a higher potential for abuse and addiction. Even a small amount can cause respiratory failure. If you are dependent on fentanyl and want to stop using, you should be aware of what to expect.
What Makes Fentanyl the Most Dangerous Opioid?
Most fentanyl enters the U.S. from Mexican drug cartels, where it circulates in the illegal black market. To avoid detection, drug traffickers may disguise their products as legitimate medications, such as pressing fentanyl into pills that resemble legal prescriptions. In powdered form, fentanyl can look like cocaine, methamphetamines, or heroin. That’s why it’s possible for some people to become addicted to fentanyl without realizing what they’ve taken.
All opioids affect brain chemistry by altering the pleasure and reward pathways. Once a fentanyl tolerance escalates into a chemical dependence, you will experience multiple uncomfortable symptoms when you try to quit using. Withdrawal happens because your brain has become accustomed to having fentanyl in your system and cannot achieve equilibrium without it. If you have abused fentanyl for a long time, you may start feeling mild withdrawal symptoms as soon as the drugs in your system dip below the baseline level your brain and body are used to.
Fentanyl Withdrawal – What to Expect
The severity and onset of your fentanyl withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on factors like your age, weight, metabolism, and history of substance abuse. Still, you can expect to experience fentanyl withdrawal eight to 24 hours after your last use, with symptoms becoming increasingly intense for the next week or more.
Attempting to quit using fentanyl on your own with no medical supervision can be dangerous due to complications like these.
- Flu-like body aches, joint pain and chills
- Stomach and muscle cramps
- Irritability, mood swings and anxiety
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Suicidal thoughts
- Drug cravings
- High blood pressure
Medically Supervised Detoxification at Lakeside-Milam
Experiencing intense cravings and feeling ill when you try to stop using fentanyl can make it challenging for you to recover from an opioid use disorder without professional help. As part of our client-focused approach, Lakeside-Milam offers medication-assisted treatment for people with a fentanyl addiction as clinically appropriate. Naltrexone and buprenorphine can ease the discomfort associated with the fentanyl withdrawal process until you are medically stable.
In combination with our comprehensive program that includes therapeutic and wellness programming, you can safely detoxify from fentanyl and move into the next phase of your recovery journey with us. To provide the foundation for lifelong sobriety, we will educate you on the disease of addiction and the biological underpinnings of this illness. With proven cognitive behavioral therapy, you will learn how to address the negativity at the heart of addictive patterns. We will also orient you to 12-step recovery principles and the spiritual benefits of finding a fellowship.
To learn more about our accredited Washington addiction treatment centers, please reach out to our supportive team today.