Medication-Assisted Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is most commonly used as a prescription painkiller for individuals who are experiencing severe pain. Fentanyl is considerably more powerful than morphine, and its use is typically limited to hospital settings where it can be closely monitored.

Fentanyl interacts with parts of the central nervous system that are associated with heart rate, respiration, and other automatic functions. Fentanyl’s potency makes it an extremely dangerous drug, with overdose posing a risk of catastrophic outcomes, including death.

Unfortunately, the dangers of improper fentanyl use have not stopped individuals from abusing this drug for recreational purposes. The elevated mood and sense of euphoric relaxation that result from fentanyl use have proved to be extremely attractive to individuals who are in search of a recreational high.

Regardless of whether a person begins to use fentanyl for a legitimate medical purpose or for an illicit reason, the abuse of this drug can cause a wide range of negative outcomes including the development of addiction. When an individual becomes addicted to fentanyl, a condition that is known clinically as opioid use disorder, he or she will lose the ability to control the amount and frequency of his or her fentanyl abuse. And when a person who is addicted to fentanyl attempts to stop his or her abuse of this drug, he or she will experience a host of distressing psychological and physical symptoms. This experience is known as withdrawal.

The pain of fentanyl withdrawal, which can include paranoia, agitation, depression, severe abdominal cramping, nausea, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, and profound fatigue, can quickly overwhelm even the most fervent desire to end one’s dependence upon fentanyl.

Thankfully, medication-assisted treatment provides a means for men and women to end their abuse of fentanyl without the excruciating symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal. At Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers, men and women can participate in this type of treatment, which features the use of certain thoroughly researched medications along with individual and group therapy.

This combination of medical oversight and therapeutic intervention has proved to be an extremely effective means of helping individuals end their abuse of fentanyl and achieve long-term recovery.

Types of Treatment Offered at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers

Medication-assisted treatment at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers is designed to help adult men and women ages 18 and above to achieve long-term freedom from fentanyl addiction and other forms of opioid use disorder.

The approach to treatment at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers is based upon an understanding that men and women will be best prepared to overcome fentanyl addiction when they follow personalized treatment plans and work closely with teams of experienced professionals. With the support of doctors, nurses, counselors, and other experts, individuals who heal at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers are able to end their abuse of fentanyl and make the lifestyle changes that will enable them to achieve long-term recovery.

Depending upon a person’s specific strengths, needs, and goals, his or her care at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers may feature the following medications and therapeutic interventions:

Methadone: When taken on a daily basis as part of an authorized medication-assisted opioid treatment program, methadone can enable a person who has become dependent upon fentanyl to stop abusing this dangerous drug without experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms. Methadone interacts with the same receptors that are affected by fentanyl and other opioids, but methadone does not elicit the disorienting high that occurs when a person abuses fentanyl. Thus, by taking methadone, a person who is working to overcome fentanyl addiction can have the mental clarity to fully engage in the therapeutic programming that will help him or her to make the behavioral changes that will support long-term recovery. Methadone has proven to be safe and effective for both short and long-term use.

Subutex (Buprenorphine): Subutex, which contains buprenorphine, functions similar to methadone. Subutex allows a person who has become dependent upon fentanyl to stop abusing the drug without experiencing intense fentanyl cravings or other withdrawal symptoms. Daily doses of Subutex allow individuals who are participating in medication-assisted treatment to have the mental clarity that is needed to meet their daily responsibilities and fully engage in the therapeutic interventions that are included in their personalized treatment plans at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers.

Suboxone: Suboxone contains two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. As is the case with Subutex, the buprenorphine in Suboxone frees a person from the pain of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone prevents a person who is taking Suboxone from abusing fentanyl or other opioids, as it will cause a person who abuses any of these drugs to immediately go into withdrawal. People who are prescribed buprenorphine as part of a medication-assisted treatment program for fentanyl addiction often start with Subutex and then transition to Suboxone when they enter the long-term maintenance phase of their recovery.

Individual therapy: Individual therapy can help a person develop the healthier thought and behavior patterns that will enable him or her to resist relapse and achieve long-term recovery from fentanyl addiction. At Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers, individual therapy sessions are ideal opportunities for men and women to process successes and setbacks during their medication-assisted treatment experience, address issues that they may be hesitant to bring up in a group setting, and receive personalized feedback and guidance from an experienced professional.

Group therapy: During group therapy sessions, individuals who are working to recover from fentanyl addiction can interact with a small group of other people who are in a similar situation. Group sessions are opportunities for sharing insights, learning from the experiences of others, practicing healthy communication skills, and gaining a greater understanding of important recovery-related topics. Groups at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers are safe and supportive environments that feature the guidance of trained and experienced professionals.

Why Consider Treatment at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers

It is difficult to overstate the devastation that can result from ongoing fentanyl abuse and untreated fentanyl addiction. Every time a person abuses this powerful opioid, he or she is at risk for overdose, which can be fatal. Individuals who survive may experience a wide range of devastating consequences including physical harm, psychological impairments, and socioeconomic damage. Fentanyl abuse has been associated with suppressed functioning of the immune system, gastrointestinal distress, and problems with both the heart and lungs. Individuals who engage in chronic fentanyl abuse may also experience paranoia, hallucinations and delusions, depression, and diminished cognition.

The cumulative impact of these physical and psychological effects can undermine a person’s ability to perform to expectation in school or at work, get and keep a job, maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, establish financial independence, and otherwise participate in a healthy and satisfying lifestyle.

However, when a person who has been struggling with fentanyl addiction participates in effective medication-assisted treatment at programs such as Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers, he or she can avoid future harm and begin to heal from past damage. Regardless of how long a person has been trapped by the chains of fentanyl addiction, medication-assisted treatment can provide a path toward a much healthier and more promising future.

For more information about medication-assisted treatment for fentanyl addiction, or for answers to any aspect of programming at Western Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers, please contact us at your convenience. We look forward to guiding you along your first steps toward a future that is free of fentanyl abuse.