Millions of individuals and families have been impacted by opioid use disorder (OUD) in the last decade. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are especially dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Fentanyl . . . is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S.” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses evidence-based treatments to help clients heal from damage caused by fentanyl and other substances.

What Is Fentanyl?

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), fentanyl is “approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as an analgesic (pain relief) and anesthetic.” Although the drug is approved for legitimate medical use, fentanyl has a high risk of addiction.

Illicit fentanyl is consumed in multiple ways, including:

  • Snorted or sniffed
  • Smoked
  • Orally by pill or tablet
  • Spiked onto blotter paper
  • Patches

Pharmaceutical and illegally made fentanyl have similar risks. However, illicit fentanyl is sometimes mixed with other substances. Some of the most common substances added to illegally made fentanyl include heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. The combination, especially if taken alongside alcohol, may cause a person’s heart or breathing to stop. Chronic fentanyl abuse is highly dangerous. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “42% of pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2 mg of fentanyl, considered a potentially lethal dose.”

Common Risk Factors for Fentanyl Addiction

Relationship issues, environmental factors, and a family history of substance abuse are a few of the most common risk factors for developing OUD. Trauma is another potential factor. According to The American Journal on Addictions, “[I]t is estimated that substance users are approximately twice as likely as the general population to experience a traumatic event.”

Anyone can develop an addiction to fentanyl. However, some of the most common risk factors include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Witnessing or experiencing a trauma
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Chronic stress
  • Severe or chronic illness or injury
  • Limited education about the effects and potential consequences of fentanyl abuse
  • Peer pressure

Addressing the underlying issues causing addictive behaviors may prevent relapse during early recovery. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab addresses all co-occurring disorders and the root cause of addiction simultaneously to ensure the best outcome.

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Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

Individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) experience various side effects from misusing fentanyl. The warning signs of addiction include an inability to stop taking the substance, misusing prescription opioid medications, and a preoccupation with misusing the substance. Many people with OUD continue to misuse fentanyl despite negative consequences impacting their health, career, education, or relationships. Some people may “doctor shop” to get multiple prescriptions for fentanyl. These warning signs can help people recognize when to seek treatment.

Individuals who misuse fentanyl may experience some or all of the following side effects:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constricted pupils
  • Confusion
  • Clammy skin

The side effects exist along a spectrum. However, experiencing these symptoms does not mean someone has OUD. Substance misuse must be clinically diagnosed to receive proper treatment. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab encourages individuals and families to reach out if they believe they or a loved one may be experiencing fentanyl addiction.

Health Side Effects or Chronic Fentanyl Abuse

Chronic fentanyl abuse causes a wide range of health issues. Most side effects exist along a spectrum from mild to severe. Individuals who misuse more than one substance have a higher risk of experiencing severe, complex, or prolonged symptoms and side effects.

Known health effects of fentanyl abuse include:

  • Confusion, difficulty focusing, and “brain fog”
  • Breathing issues, including dangerously slowed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bowel obstruction or other digestion issues caused by chronic constipation
  • Heart attack or heart failure
  • Reproductive and sexual dysfunction
  • Anxiety

Confirming SUD requires a clinical assessment and testing.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Treatment Options for Fentanyl Addiction at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Individuals detoxing from opioids may experience unexpected side effects or complications. Professional detox programs provide structure, accountability, support, and essential medical treatments. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers detox services to help clients safely and comfortably through the withdrawal process. Addiction recovery experts are available 24/7 to ensure clients have the resources to avoid or manage severe symptoms. Below are some of the treatment options clients use to recover from OUD.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Some clients benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT) during detox and early recovery from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are the most common medications used to treat OUD.” The medications used for opioid addiction “normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used.”

Individual and Group Therapy

Individual and group psychotherapy provide essential emotional support and guidance. Clients gain self-confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness, and helpful coping skills during therapy sessions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are some of the most common forms of psychotherapy used to treat addictive behaviors.

Support Groups

Peer support is an essential part of the recovery process for most people. Support groups provide clients with a safe space to share their thoughts on recovery and treatment. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab ensures clients can share their stories and gain critical insights during group therapy. Most people continue to attend support groups, including 12-Step meetings, after transitioning to continuing care.