Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with 50 to 100 times the potency of morphine. Generally, doctors use it to treat severe pain after surgeries and sometimes chronic pain issues. While the drug serves a medical purpose, it is illegal when used outside of a prescription.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic opioids pose the largest risk of overdose.
What effect does fentanyl have on the brain?
The opioid receptors are in the part of the brain that controls your emotions and pain. When you use fentanyl, you may experience:
- Breathing problems
Many people also experience extreme happiness when taking fentanyl. Over time, your brain adapts to the drug. It becomes less sensitive to it and this leads to more use of the drug. Also, as your sensitivity increases, you may find it difficult to feel pleasure outside of the drug. This is how addiction begins.
How can doctors treat fentanyl addiction?
Doctors can treat fentanyl similarly to other opioid addictions. The most common treatments include medication and behavioral therapy. For medications, doctors may use buprenorphine and methadone. These medications bind to opioid receptors in the brain and can reduce your cravings and help ease withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone is another common treatment drug. This drug blocks the opioid receptors and will prevent the fentanyl from working.
When it comes to drug rehabilitation, behavioral therapy is one of the most effective treatments. Therapy can help you learn new, healthy life skills and help you stick to a medication schedule. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, you learn to manage stress and triggers.