Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

The same as other opioids, medication combined with behavioral therapies has proved to be effective in treating fentanyl addiction. Because of the high potency of fentanyl, the risk of overdose is greatly increased and if you are struggling with this substance, professional treatment is vital not just to improve your life, but to save it.

At Bayview Recovery Center in San Diego, California our mission is to provide men with effective evidence-based treatment programs and addiction therapy services to promote successful recovery outcomes.

Opioid addiction is a deadly epidemic that can be mitigated with access to proper care. Fentanyl addiction treatment is available at our San Diego rehab center for men.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is very much like morphine. It is a prescription drug that is usually used to treat patients who are in severe pain, particularly after surgery. Sometimes it’s used to treat patients with chronic pain who are tolerant to other opioids. However, unlike morphine, it is 50 to 100 times more potent, earning the nickname of “The Deadliest Opioid.” Illegally produced synthetic opioids like fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the U.S.

How Does Fentanyl Affect the Brain and Body?

Similar to morphine, heroin, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by attaching to your body’s opioid receptors. These are found in the areas of your brain that control emotions and pain. Fentanyl reduces feelings of pain by interfering with the way nerves signal pain between the body and the brain by working directly on the central nervous system.

If a person takes opioids repeatedly, the brain adjusts, which reduces its sensitivity to the drug. This makes it hard to feel pleasure from anything else. When an individual becomes addicted, drug use and drug-seeking take over their life. Some effects of fentanyl include:

  • Exaggerated happiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of consciousness

What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction?

Addiction is the most severe form of substance use disorder. And since fentanyl is an opioid, fentanyl addiction is called an opioid use disorder (OUD). Some of the signs of fentanyl abuse include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Constricted pupils
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Loss of coordination
  • Sweating
  • Achey muscles
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Failing in daily responsibilities
  • Poor work and school performance
  • “Doctor shopping”–obtaining prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Neglecting health and personal hygiene
  • Frequent sick days
  • Withdrawal from intimate or established relationships
  • Continue to use fentanyl despite negative consequences

Causes of Fentanyl Abuse

fentanyl addiction treatment

Even short-term opioid use can lead to addiction. Short-term pain relief can lead to life-threatening problems. Addiction is a condition where something that started so pleasurable winds up feeling like something that can’t be controlled. Opioids are highly addictive because they trigger powerful reward centers in your brain. And fentanyl is especially addictive due to its potency.

Opioids trigger the release of endorphins in your body. Endorphins tell your brain that you feel good, have no pain, and create a feeling of well-being that is very powerful. However, it only lasts a short time. When the dose wears off, you want those good feelings back immediately. This is how opioid dependence and opioid use disorder (OUD) develops.

Opioids are at their most addictive when you take them in a way that’s different from how they were prescribed. For instance, you may crush a pill so it can be snorted or injected. This is even more dangerous if the pill has a longer period of effectiveness. Other risk factors include:


  • Taking the drug more often or at a higher dose than prescribed
  • Taking opioids for more than a few days or longer than prescribed (after taking opioids for only 5 days the chances increase that you’ll be taking opioids a year later)

The risk of addiction is higher for people who:

  • Are younger (teens or early 20s)
  • Have a history of substance abuse in the family
  • Are coping with stress, especially being unemployed or living below the poverty line
  • Have a history of problems with family, friends, or work
  • Have a history of legal issues including DUIs and criminal activity
  • Have major depression, anxiety, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Take part in thrill-seeking or risky behavior
  • Have a history of sexual or physical abuse
  • Do poorly in school and don’t value an education
  • Use tobacco heavily

Short-and Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl Addiction

When a person takes fentanyl, they will feel its euphoric and pain-relieving effects almost immediately. But, like any medication, there are also short-and long-term side effects.

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Small pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Slower breathing
  • Fractures (for elderly users)
  • Severe and chronic constipation (may lead to health problems such as bowel obstruction)
  • Breathing difficulties while sleeping
  • Heart attack and heart failure
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Reproductive and hormonal issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and other mood disorders

When you take opioids repeatedly over time, your body doesn’t produce as many endorphins. So the same dose of opioids doesn’t have the same effect. This is what is  meant by “tolerance.” One of the reasons opioid use disorders are so common is that individuals who build up their tolerance may feel that they have to keep increasing their dose to keep feeling good and they may also have cravings for opioids. If they don’t keep raising their doses, they may begin to feel withdrawal symptoms which include:

  • Increasing pain
  • Goosebumps
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Yawning

Fentanyl and Mental Health Conditions

People with mental illnesses are more likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD) than people without. The existence of both an addiction and a mental disorder at the same time is called a dual diagnosis. It’s difficult to overcome an addiction, but having a co-occurring mental disorder makes it more challenging to find help. Several mental illnesses may appear alongside fentanyl addiction. These include:

  • Persistent or major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

Co-occurring disorders are complex conditions. The two disorders feed off one another, worsening the effects of each one. However, effective dual diagnosis treatment entails managing and overcoming both conditions for good is possible.

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

If you’re abusing fentanyl, the sooner you quit the better chance you have at not just preventing the long-term serious side effects, but also preventing a possibly deadly overdose. There are several options for treatment for fentanyl addiction including:

A medical detox helps you get through withdrawal in a safe and comfortable setting. You can get help managing severe symptoms and drug cravings with the help of constant monitoring by medical personnel. After detoxification, you are ready for treatment without the physical addiction symptoms.

Many treatment programs use MAT. This involves the use of medications, along with behavioral therapies, to provide a comprehensive treatment approach. The most common drugs used in the treatment of fentanyl addiction include:

  • Methadone: Relieves the cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Buprenorphine: Reduces misuse and risk of overdose and can be prescribed on a long-term basis to avoid relapse
  • Naltrexone: Blocks opioid receptors eliminating the euphoric feelings
Types of addiction counseling are evidence-based approaches to treatment that are effective for treating drug abuse and dependence. Common behavioral therapies include:

Treatment Programs for Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

A PHP is as intensive as a residential program but you still live at home and go to treatment for 4 to 6 hours a day, 5 to 7 days per week.

In this program, you attend treatment sessions several days per week for 2 to 3 hours.

Outpatient rehab is the lowest level of care and usually only involves 1 or 2 treatment sessions per week. OPs are good for continuing treatment after completing a higher level of care.

Many people need more confidence to live and work independently. SLHs help with the transition to independence after treatment.

Unfortunately, many people struggling with addiction will also have a mental health disorder. These disorders need to be treated at the same time and require a special program. A dual diagnosis program is designed to treat this situation.

Recovery is Possible at Bayview Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are struggling with fentanyl addiction, there is help out there for you. Recovery is possible right now. Bayview Recovery Center is a male-only rehab that can provide you with comprehensive fentanyl addiction treatment starting with transportation to our rehab in San Diego, CA. When you make that most important decision to seek help, we can help you begin your journey to recovery immediately.

Our licensed therapists are trained and experienced in behavioral therapies. We also have a dual diagnosis program, which is crucial for co-occurring mental issues. Contact us today, and start to look forward to your future.

fentanyl addiction treatment center
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