How Do Pain Management and Fentanyl Addiction Connect?

June 8, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

Similar to morphine but about 50 to 100 times more powerful, fentanyl is a type of opioid that is used as a way to manage pain. It can be prescribed to those who struggle with chronic pain or are recovering after surgery to alleviate severe pain. However, fentanyl is highly addictive and if you or your loved one is using it to manage pain, you might start to see fentanyl addiction signs. If so, getting treatment is imperative. Through medically supervised detox and addiction therapy at Buena Vista Recovery, you can heal from a fentanyl addiction.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid that works by blocking receptors in the brain that control pain and emotions. As a result, when you take fentanyl, you feel less pain both physically and emotionally. The effects of fentanyl include drowsiness, happiness, and overall sedation. If you are experiencing severe or chronic pain, these help you to manage pain.

Fentanyl is commonly used as a prescription drug. However, it is also used without a prescription. While illegal fentanyl is slightly different, the effects of it on the body are the same. Over time, both illegal and prescription fentanyl use creates changes in the body and brain. One change is that as your body becomes dependent on it, you will have to take more to feel the same effects.

Fentanyl Addiction Signs

Signs that you are addicted to fentanyl will be unique to you and your use of fentanyl. However, common signs that you are addicted to it include the following:

  • Having withdrawal symptoms
  • Thinking about fentanyl use throughout your day
  • Troubles at school or work related to fentanyl use
  • Increasing your dosage without your doctor’s instruction to do so
  • Going through prescriptions faster

Pain Management vs. Fentanyl Addiction

When you use fentanyl to manage pain, your fentanyl use will be very different than when you are struggling with a fentanyl addiction. At its foundation, fentanyl for pain management is focused on using fentanyl as directed by your doctor. It may change over time. However, it will not be based on managing withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms

You as a unique individual will experience withdrawal symptoms that are related to how long you have used fentanyl, the amount you have used, and your individual response to the drug. However, withdrawal symptoms of fentanyl often include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia and other issues with sleep
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Uncontrollable movement in your legs
  • Goosebumps and suddenly feeling cold
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you will likely feel an uncontrollable desire to take more fentanyl. This shows that you have developed a physical dependency on this opioid. To heal from this dependency, it is important that you get help from a qualified addiction treatment facility like Buena Vista Recovery that can help you to safely detox from fentanyl.

When Use Veers Away From Pain Management

The transition from pain management to a fentanyl addiction can be tricky to identify. When you are using fentanyl as a way to manage pain, the use of the drug will be related to feeling pain. Therefore, if you are recovering from back surgery, for instance, you will take fentanyl as a reaction to the post-surgical pain you are feeling.

However, when you are addicted to fentanyl, your use moves away from pain management. As a result, you will begin taking fentanyl as a way to feel better in a different way. This involves taking it as a way to stave off withdrawal symptoms. Differentiating between the pain that fentanyl was prescribed for and withdrawal symptoms is therefore important. You can know that you have crossed into a dangerous area when you find yourself craving fentanyl even when you are not experiencing chronic or severe pain related to your initial prescription.

Getting Help When You See Fentanyl Addiction Signs

When you see fentanyl addiction signs and know you are crossing out of pain management to addiction, it is important to get help. Fentanyl is a very powerful opioid. Because of that, the transition from fentanyl use to sobriety can be dangerous. Getting help from a treatment center and committing yourself to the continuum of care can help you to recover long-term.

The first step is to understand the difference between pain management and opioid addiction. If you are uncertain about that distinction, speaking with a mental health care professional can help. The professional can ask you direct questions about your fentanyl use and help you to identify whether it has become a problem.

If you know that you have crossed over from pain management to addiction, the sooner you take the step to get help the better. Healing from an opioid addiction takes time and hard work. However, you can heal your body and mind and change your behavior to support your new sober life.

If your path has gone from managing your pain in a healthy way to becoming addicted to fentanyl, you are not alone. Fentanyl is a highly potent and addictive drug. Fortunately, you can heal from fentanyl addiction. At Buena Vista Recovery, we offer treatment along the continuum of care that will help you to heal your mind and body from fentanyl addiction. We take your needs very seriously and design a treatment program that will work for you as an individual. If you are struggling with fentanyl addiction or want to speak with a healthcare professional to understand more about it, we can help. Call us today at (480) 741-9414.