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As a popular opiate painkiller, fentanyl is typically prescribed to patients to manage severe pain related to surgery or injury. In addition to its potential to quickly eliminate pain in the body, fentanyl also carries a very high addiction potential. This staggeringly high abuse liability has made fentanyl a vital contributor to the ongoing opioid epidemic across the United States, leading to catastrophic results. 

Originally manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the 1960s, fentanyl provides immediate pain relief effects that quickly subside. Moreover, it may bring about a state of relaxation and euphoria, forcing others to abuse it to achieve these feelings regularly. Ultimately, such users fall victim to fentanyl addiction that quickly takes over their lives, destroys relationships and careers, and significantly lowers the overall quality of life. Fortunately, help is available as hundreds of drug rehabs continue to provide life-saving rehabilitation services to those fighting opioid addiction.

Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms

Fentanyl refers to a powerful manmade pharmaceutical medication belonging to the opioid family. It is commonly used for relieving pain and carries up to a hundred times higher potency than morphine. Most experts prescribe this drug to alleviate pain from an intense surgery or due to cancer treatment. 

Fentanyl is available under different brand names and forms but has the same function. Following are some of the most common conditions and brand names for this drug:

Actiq

Actiq is a type of fentanyl that must be placed under the tongue, similar to a lollipop. Experts recommend it to those already taking painkillers but require extra cover.

Abstral

Abstral comes in the form of a quick-dissolve tablet meant to be placed under the tongue for immediate pain relief. It also works well for those with an underlying opioid tolerance.

Sublimaze

As an injectable form of fentanyl, many hospitals use it to relieve pain before and after surgical processes.

Subsys

Subsys comes in the form of a spray that provides quick pain relief when placed under the tongue. Most experts prescribe it to deal with breakthrough cancer pains that fail to respond to less potent painkiller medications.

Duragesic

Duragesic comes in the form of patches that relieve moderate to severe pains for up to three days.

Lazanda

This fentanyl nasal spray typically suits patients undergoing cancer treatment to manage associated pain.

Identifying the presence of addiction can be very difficult, even in people close to you. This is because, in many cases, the shame and stigma associated with addiction may force an addict to go to great lengths to conceal their issue. This is particularly true for fentanyl addiction, as people typically associate its use with the consumption of highly stigmatized heroin use. Nevertheless, some multiple signs and symptoms may indicate that someone is battling a fentanyl addiction. These include:

  • Frequent intoxication
  • Altered sleep habits
  • Increasing financial troubles
  • Abusing other opioids, including prescription medications
  • A preoccupation with getting and consuming fentanyl 
  • Changes in eating habits
  • A manipulative, furtive, or deceitful behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • Involvement in criminal activity
  • Neglecting professional and personal obligations
  • Adopting new vocabulary associated with drug use
  • A loss of interest in hobbies
  • Changes in sexual preferences or sex drive
  • Negligence in self-care or personal hygiene
  • General apathy
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Losing optimism regarding prospects
  • Developing a wide range of physical health problems
  • Developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression
  • Altered behavior
  • Manifesting withdrawal symptoms when fentanyl is not used

Apart from the signs mentioned above, some other psychological and physical symptoms indicative of fentanyl consumption may include:

  • Shaking
  • Labored breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Scratching
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Stiffness in muscles
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden weight loss

It’s easier to think of how drug addiction affects the individual using it. As the addiction progresses, its impacts on life only get worse. These impacts are both long- and short-term and may include loss of job, frequent run-ins with the law, increasing financial troubles, and more. However, most people fail to acknowledge that these effects, secondary to addiction to a drug such as fentanyl, may extend far beyond the individual using it. The immediate family members of the addict may also feel these effects, each in their own way. 

How fentanyl addiction affects children

Surveys suggest that one in eight children in the Use live with a parent with an active drug or alcohol addiction. How these addictions affect them depends on a few factors, such as:

  • Whether a child comes from a single-parent or a two-parent household
  • Whether one or both parents are under the influence of addiction

Children with a single parent with a fentanyl addiction do not usually have anyone to run to. The situation is similar for a child who lives in a two-parent household with both parents struggling with addiction. When one of the parents has fentanyl addiction, the other one may step in to alleviate at least some of its effects on children. Nevertheless, most children with an addicted parent spend their childhood in an unpredictable environment with role reversal and secrecy. Due to the inconsistent emotional and physical support they receive, such children may have poor self-confidence, health, social development, and more. Moreover, the risk of violence and abuse against these children is much higher. 

How fentanyl addiction affects parents

Parents whose children suffer from fentanyl addiction experience a unique set of difficulties. Worries and fears about their child’s well-being and safety continue to plague them all the time. Sometimes, they may feel responsible and guilty for their child’s path and spend a lot of time thinking about where they went wrong. Watching a child suffer due to addiction can be extremely painful for parents. While some may feel powerless in such circumstances, others may take on an enabling and overbearing role. However, such roles lead to an inappropriately dependent relationship once their child grows up.

How fentanyl addiction affects siblings

Siblings of a fentanyl addict are usually the “invisible victims” in the entire scenario. These siblings may undergo a variety of emotions, such as shame, confusion, resentment, frustration, and more. Since parents are always consumed by the sibling fighting the addiction, others may feel neglected and ignored. Some of them may refuse to follow the path of their sister or brother, while others may also turn to alcohol or drugs, adding to the family problems. Some of them may also use fentanyl to escape the pain or to draw their parent’s attention back to them. 

The road to recovery from a fentanyl addiction can be uncomfortable and painful; however, seeking treatment is crucial. Plenty of fentanyl drug rehab programs available across the United States help individuals break free from the chains of addiction. 

Mentioned below are some common elements expected to be included in a typical fentanyl addiction treatment program:

Detoxification

Detoxification is usually the first step in any fentanyl recovery program. The process helps addicts slowly taper off the drug safely while taming some of the intense withdrawal symptoms. The process typically occurs in a specialized fentanyl rehab center with highly experienced detox specialists and nurses providing round-the-clock care. Sometimes, medications are used to ease the withdrawal and make the process as easier as possible. Most people spend 7 to 10 days in a detox center, while others may require longer durations to get off fentanyl completely. Once the process is complete, individuals can join rehabilitation programs to achieve long-term sobriety. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Because fentanyl is a potent drug, it may bring out some of the most uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. To reduce its intensity, experts routinely prescribe other medications, such as buprenorphine or methadone. These medications bind to the same receptors in the brain as fentanyl to manage the withdrawal while reducing the intense cravings for the drug. 

Therapy Options

One of the essential elements of any fentanyl addiction treatment program is therapy. Addiction to any drug or alcohol is much more than just a physical dilemma; but comes with a variety of mental effects. To deal with these mental effects while ensuring that they do not return once an individual returns to a high-risk environment, seeking therapy is imperative. Some of the most common therapies that help with fentanyl addiction treatment include the following:

  • Motivational interviewing helps individuals feel motivated enough to accept therapy and addiction help.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular method of treating addiction that focuses on identifying and replacing negative behaviors and thoughts with positive ones. It also helps individuals manage stress while keeping their addiction triggers under control.
  • Group therapy provides a safe platform to sit together and discuss their stories. They can easily share their struggles in similar situations without fearing judgment or negative remarks.

Apart from the therapy options mentioned above, many other treatment methods are used for dealing with fentanyl addiction. Remember that the process of treatment is entirely subjective, with some treatment modalities working better than others. An addiction expert can help you choose the best option after assessing your circumstances and evaluating your past and present health.

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