Like most other opioid use disorders, fentanyl addiction is commonly treated with a combination of medications and behavioral therapies.
How is Fentanyl Addiction Treated?
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl has “an analgesic potency of about 80 times that of morphine.” This means, if a person begins abusing their fentanyl medication, they may likely become addicted to the high levels of analgesic and euphoric effects. But how is fentanyl addiction treated?
Seeking Care for Fentanyl Addiction
Treatment for those who are addicted to this prescription drug is similar to other opioid addiction treatment programs. A person will first need to seek the treatment program that best fits their needs, consider whether or not they require inpatient or outpatient care, and ensure that a particular treatment center is the right place for them before they begin the program. Then, they can start to withdraw from the drug.
Medically Assisted Withdrawal or Maintenance
Medically assisted withdrawal, also known as detox, is usually the first step in fentanyl addiction treatment. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Supportive care and medications” are involved, and the withdrawal period may last for about a week or so. The patient may receive clonidine (an antihypertensive medication that treats withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol and opioids), methadone (a synthetic opioid agonist that blocks opioid receptors), or buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist that works similarly to methadone) to minimize their symptoms.
In some cases, the person may be put on maintenance instead, either with methadone or buprenorphine. Depending on the individual’s level of physical dependence or other needs, one medication may be chosen, and then the person will take it as prescribed to minimize their symptoms of withdrawal, their cravings, and any other issues associated with their fentanyl abuse. This can often be beneficial for those who need more time than just a week or two to cope with their withdrawal symptoms and become stabilized in their recovery from fentanyl addiction.
Another important part of fentanyl addiction treatment is the use of behavioral therapies to change the way the person feels toward their addiction, to treat any co-occurring mental disorders that may be worsening the addiction, and to help the individual learn to cope with other issues in their life. Some possible behavioral therapy courses for fentanyl addiction treatment include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- 12-step facilitation therapy
- Group therapy
- Couples or family therapy
The individual can learn ways to make changes to their life and behavior in these therapy sessions that will allow them to lead more productive, happier lives and avoid relapse to drug abuse. In most programs, group and individual therapy are used together to help patients through both social and reflective options.
Seek Fentanyl Addiction Help Now
According to the US Department of Justice, fentanyl is a drug with such intense effects, it can “serve as a direct substitute for heroin in opioid dependent individuals.” The drug is very dangerous, especially when used in this way, “because it is much more potent than heroin and results in frequent overdoses that can lead to respiratory depression and death.”
If you are addicted to fentanyl or have been using it as a substitute for heroin abuse, you should seek addiction treatment right away. Call (800) 407-7195 to find treatment centers in your area. Call today; we can help.