How Learning to Manage Stress Helps With Fentanyl Overdose Prevention

August 28, 2023

Written By: Dr. Kristina Honiotes DNP,RN,NEA-BC

In 2023 the overdose death rate topped 112,000 in a 12 month period for the first time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid primarily prescribed for treating intense pain. Professional addiction treatment reduces the risk of relapse for people recovering from fentanyl misuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States.” Individuals living with chronic stress have a higher risk of experiencing a fentanyl overdose during early recovery. Buena Vista Recovery is one of the best drug rehab centers in Arizona. Clinicians use evidence-based treatments to help clients reduce stress and manage their condition. 

Risk Factors for Fentanyl Overdose

People diagnosed with fentanyl addiction benefit from attending rehabilitation programs. Fentanyl-related overdoses have become more common in the last decade, making it essential for people in recovery to use all available resources to support their sobriety. According to NIDA, “Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise with 70,601 overdose deaths reported in 2021.” Many factors contribute to the rise in fentanyl-related overdose deaths. 

Often, an overdose is caused by multiple unaddressed stressors. However, chronic stress is one of the primary risk factors for relapse in early recovery. Some other factors that may contribute to relapse or overdose include: 

  • Experiencing or witnessing a trauma 
  • Untreated mental health disorders 
  • A family history of SUD or mental health issues 
  • Lack of a solid support system 
  • Significant life changes, including the death of a loved one 

According to the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, “Stress is a well-known risk factor in the development of addiction and in addiction relapse vulnerability.” Individuals with SUD reduce their risk of fentanyl relapse or overdose by actively participating in treatment and the recovery community. Treatment programs provide life skills development and ensure clients learn to manage daily stressors effectively. 

Lowering the Risks Associated With Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl is a highly addictive and dangerous substance. Chronic misuse affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. According to the previously mentioned article by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, “[T]here are significant physiological, neurochemical, and behavioral alterations in stress and dopaminergic pathways associated with chronic drug use, which in turn could affect craving and compulsive seeking, maintenance of drug use, and relapse risk.” Establishing healthy routines and behaviors during treatment helps people create stability and balance in their daily lives after treatment.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) reduce the risk of relapse in early recovery by providing structure, accountability, and support. Buena Vista Recovery offers comprehensive IOP in Arizona. 

Recovering successfully from fentanyl misuse generally involves the following:

  • Participation in evidence-based therapies
  • Establishing a solid support system 
  • Relapse prevention and crisis management strategies
  • Mental health and addiction recovery education
  • Peer support
  • Family engagement in recovery

Fentanyl misuse profoundly affects a person’s mental and physical health. Finding ways to restore balance and overall wellness can help people live happy and fulfilled sober lives. Treatment programs take into account the unique needs of each client. The care team assists clients in managing potential stressors by providing guidance and encouraging clients to improve their coping skills. 

3 Ways to Lower Stress and Reduce the Risk of Fentanyl Overdose

Chronic high stress affects a person’s ability to maintain emotional stability and manage their SUD. Treatment programs prioritize helping clients develop essential coping mechanisms for overcoming challenges, reducing stress, and managing symptoms. Relapse and overdose are often triggered by acute or chronic stress. Below are three ways people in recovery can lower stress. 

#1. Integrating Healthy Coping Skills Into Everyday Life

Treatment programs teach clients coping skills, including stress reduction and relaxation techniques. Some common therapeutic methods used to reduce stress during recovery include: 

  • Mindfulness 
  • Deep breathing exercises 
  • Body relaxation exercises 
  • Individual, group, or guided meditation 

The care team at Buena Vista Recovery uses individualized care plans to ensure all clients receive access to the services they need to succeed at long-term sobriety.

#2. Building a Solid Support System

People with a strong support system have an easier time transitioning out of treatment. A support system reduces the risk of overdose and relapse by doing the following:

  • Significantly reducing stress 
  • Increasing accountability 
  • Providing healthy motivation 
  • Inspiring positive lifestyle changes

People heal more effectively when they know their loved ones support their recovery. 

#3. Treatment at Buena Vista Health and Recovery Centers

Buena Vista Recovery offers personalized addiction and mental health treatment in Arizona. Participating in a customized treatment plan brings peace of mind and provides access to various support services. 

Treatment services at Buena Vista Recovery include the following: 

  • Case management 
  • Individual and group therapy 
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Alternative holistic therapies 
  • Aftercare planning 
  • Alumni services 

The clinical team uses a comprehensive admissions assessment to determine what treatment options best fit the needs of each client. Attending treatment reduces overall stress and improves mental health. 

The risk of a fentanyl overdose is high during the early stages of recovery. Chronic stress is one of the primary triggers of relapse and overdose. Individuals in recovery significantly reduce stress by utilizing recovery resources, practicing self-care, and developing coping skills. Participating in a rehabilitation program reduces the risk of fentanyl overdose and helps people recover from the damaging effects of substance misuse. Buena Vista Recovery uses evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to help clients heal. The Arizona recovery center ensures all clients have the tools and resources they need to prevent fentanyl relapse. To learn more about our programs and services, call our office today at (480) 741-9414.