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Medically Assisted Fentanyl Detoxification

At Guardian Recovery Network we understand how difficult Fentanyl withdrawal can be. Many times withdrawal symptoms are so serve that those struggling with Fentanyl addiction return to using within 24 hours. The key to overcoming this obstacle is a medically supervised detox where withdrawal symptoms can be identified and treated immediately. At Guardian Recovery Network we perform an in-depth initial evaluation and tailor a treatment plan unique to each clients needs and recovery goals. Guardian Recovery Network provides 24 hour medical supervision and comfort care for our detox clients. Our medical and client support team’s goal is to make sure all clients have a safe and comfortable detox so they can begin the next phase in their recovery journey.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent and habit-forming synthetic opioid analgesic, one that is currently characterized as a Schedule II chemical substance under the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This synthetic opioid is between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine (which itself is one of the most potent prescription painkillers currently used by medical professionals in hospital settings). When fentanyl is used medically it is generally used to treat severe short-term pain, such as pain related to a surgical procedure or an acute injury. Over the course of the past decade, the country has seen a major increase in fentanyl abuse rates. This is predominantly due to the fact that a significant number of heroin dealers cut the drug with fentanyl in order to increase its potency and its street value. Many men and women who purchase heroin are unaware that the drug is cut with the synthetic opioid, and they end up overdosing as a result.

The way fentanyl works is by bonding with the receptors within the brain that signal pain and control a person’s emotions. However, they react so powerfully and instantly that every single dose is a risk. Even taking regularly prescribed doses of fentanyl carries with it a risk that the dose could be fatal, so it must always be taken with extreme care. If a contradictory medication, alcohol, or other drug is used with it, the stakes could even be higher. Some drugs, like alcohol, can depress breathing further, making it to where someone using fentanyl may not be able to breathe at all.

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Prescription fentanyl is typically administered in three forms. The patient can get a shot of the medication directly, suck on a lozenge that slowly reduces pain, or wear a transdermal patch for relief. When someone takes fentanyl they often have a temporary euphoric feeling. It leaves users feeling happy, confused, and tired. This is often accompanied by slower respiration and a reduction in blood pressure. When someone uses too much fentanyl it can lead to fainting, a struggle to breathe, seizures, and even death.

Fentanyl Abuse and Overdose-Related Death

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were a total of 67,367 drug related overdose deaths throughout the country in the year 2018. Synthetic drugs like fentanyl are considered the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the CDC, of the nation’s 2018 total overdoses, Opioids were involved in 46,802 of them (69.5 percent of all drug overdose deaths). Two out of three (67 percent) opioid-involved overdose deaths involve synthetic opioids. Because most people who abuse fentanyl remain unaware of the fact that their heroin has been cut with the drug, it can sometimes prove difficult to specifically nail down a fentanyl abuse disorder. In most cases, men and women who are abusing the drug appear as if they are struggling with heroin abuse.

Fentanyl Overdose Signs

There are symptoms to watch for in case someone experiences a fentanyl overdose. These symptoms may start off slowly or they may come on very quickly. The faster they show up, typically, the faster the overdose is occurring. Some doctors even require patients using fentanyl to have a rescue dose of naloxone available nearby, just in case. While you could not likely help yourself, someone nearby could administer it and potentially save your life in the event of an accidental overdose.

If you suspect an overdose, watch for signs such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Tiny pupils in the eyes
  • Confusion about who or where you are
  • Breathing that becomes very slow or shallow
  • Breathing stops completely

Fentanyl Withdrawal

The symptoms associated with fentanyl withdrawal typically begin within the first 12 to 30 hours after the last dose and peak in severity between one and three days. If treated in a medical detox facility these symptoms generally resolve within one to two weeks.

Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal:

  • Flu-like symptoms including watery eyes, runny nose, stomach cramping and chills/profuse sweating
  • Excessive yawning
  • Insomnia and other sleep-related issues
  • Anxiety, which can lead to rapid heartbeat and panic attacks when left untreated
  • Agitation and irritability/mood swings
  • In inability to get comfortable and general feelings of discomfort
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Changes to blood pressure
  • Depression, which can lead to suicidal ideation when left untreated

When it comes to fentanyl withdrawal there are several ways to alleviate severe symptoms. Treatment options vary on a person-to-person basis and might include tapering, medications like naltrexone or buprenorphine, holistic treatment methods like acupuncture and massage therapy and a range of safe, over-the-counter medications used to reduce pain and promote relaxation.

Fentanyl Addiction

The most common signs and symptoms associated with fentanyl abuse and addiction:

  • Excessive drowsiness and noticeable changes to sleep patterns
  • More time spent isolated and away from family members and close friends
  • Continuing to use fentanyl despite related consequences, which could be interpersonal, work-related, legal or financial
  • A lack of interest in hobbies and activities that were previously enjoyed
  • A lack of attention paid to personal hygiene
  • A loss of appetite, which often leads to noticeable weight loss
  • A desire to cut back or quit coupled with an inability to do so
  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using and recovering from the effects of fentanyl
  • An increase in risk-taking behaviors, which might include driving while intoxicated, sharing needles or stealing in order to support the drug habit
  • Developing a physical tolerance, meaning that a larger amount of fentanyl is required in order for the same effects to be produced
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped suddenly

Substance abuse disorders are categorized by severity — mild, moderate and severe. When it comes to fentanyl abuse, however, it is safe to say that immediate intervention is always necessary. Even if an individual believes that he or she has fentanyl use “under control,” using slightly more than intended, even one time can easily lead to overdose.

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Is Medical Detox Necessary for Fentanyl Withdrawal?

When it comes to treating the symptoms associated with fentanyl withdrawal, entering into a medically monitored detox program is absolutely essential for several reasons.

  • In a medical detox facility the symptoms associated with fentanyl withdrawal are effectively treated as soon as they develop – At Guardian Recovery Network we consistently prioritize client comfort, providing a safe and pain-free fentanyl withdrawal by utilizing a number of evidence-based detox methods.
  • When it comes to fentanyl withdrawal, the psychological drug cravings must be treated in order for relapse to be prevented – At Guardian Recovery Network we employ medication assisted treatment (MAT) in order to treat these drug cravings. Most commonly we prescribe a short-term course of buprenorphine and naltrexone, which we combine with intensive therapy and holistic recovery methods.
  • Medical detox centers like those developed by Guardian Recovery Network offer a range of addiction services – many of which are not found in a traditional hospital setting or impersonal, state-funded facility. The services we provide include individual and group therapy, family therapy, case management services and aftercare planning.

At Guardian Recovery Network we do much more than work towards physical stabilization. We provide each and every one of our clients with the tools he or she needs to maintain success in sobriety and seamlessly transition into the next appropriate level of clinical care.

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    At Guardian Recovery Network we remain dedicated to providing men and women of all ages and walks of life with a multi-phased program of demographic-specific care. We understand how rapidly devastating fentanyl addiction can be, and we have developed an admissions process that is both simple and uncomplicated. The moment you or your loved one makes the decision to pick up the phone and contact us, we begin developing a viable plan of action. We begin by completing a brief pre-assessment over the phone which helps our medical team determine which detoxification techniques are going to be the most beneficial for each unique case. Next we work through coverage options and set a date and a time for intake. The entire process can be completed over the phone in a matter of minutes. At Guardian Recovery Network we understand how overwhelming the admissions process might seem, which is why we are available to walk you through every single step. To begin your personal journey of fentanyl addiction recovery – or to help your loved one get started on his or hers – pick up the phone and contact us today.