For many veterans, it’s not unusual to receive an opioid prescription. But over time, as opioid tolerance develops, many military personnel find themselves turning to fentanyl to manage their pain. Fentanyl is a habit-forming drug that is similar to morphine in that it is used to treat severe and chronic pain. And although this drug can be helpful when used correctly, its addictive properties result in a high number of overdose deaths. If you’re a veteran currently struggling with fentanyl abuse, you can get help through addiction treatment that starts with fentanyl detox.
How Common Is Fentanyl Abuse for Veterans?
In the United States, veterans are more likely to get treated for long-term pain compared to non-veterans, putting them at a higher risk of an accidental overdose deaths. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. By binding with these receptors, opioids prevent pain and cause a feeling of calmness, which is why they’re often abused.
However, long-term usage of fentanyl causes the brain to adapt to the substance, making it difficult to feel happy and pain-free without it. Not only does your body’s sensitivity to opioids and other pain relievers decrease, but it can cause you to become addicted to fentanyl. And at that point, the only way forward is through a fentanyl detox.
Risk Factors for Opioid Addiction
In comparison to the general population, veterans are at a higher risk of facing challenges including physical and mental trauma and chronic pain as a result of service-related injuries. Therefore, veterans taking opioids are more likely to develop opioid use disorders (OUD) without access to proper medication management and mental health programs.
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Veterans struggling with their mental health may turn to drug abuse to cope with conditions including depression and PTSD. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental health treatment can discourage veterans from seeking help. Without that kind of support, it’s not uncommon for veterans to develop opioid addiction as a result of self-medicating.
But addiction treatment can help veterans get the care they need to overcome their addiction and mental health struggles. Addiction treatment programs available at Heroes’ Mile start with fentanyl detox to help veterans ease into recovery.
Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal
Those who undergo fentanyl detox can experience the following withdrawal symptoms in as a little as a few hours after stopping usage:
- Runny nose
- Intense sweating
- Cold flashes and chills
- Severe cravings
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Muscle and bone pain
- Irritability and mood disturbances
- Trouble sleeping
In addition to the short-term symptoms veterans struggling with fentanyl addiction can experience, these long-term effects can cause further issues. As a result, it’s important to receive continual care.
Long-term fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:
- Disruptive thoughts
- Pink cloud syndrome
- Mood disorders
- Outbursts of anger
- Self-harm behaviors
Fentanyl Detox Process
In plain terms, fentanyl detox is the body’s natural process of re-learning to live without fentanyl. But a fentanyl detox program can give medical support and supervision during this period to ensure that you’re safe while quitting opioids. And while it’s true that not everyone going through fentanyl detox has severe symptoms, you won’t know what your experience will be like until it’s happening. As a result, doing this at home is strongly discouraged.
Medical detox is supervised by addiction specialists and physicians 24/7 to ensure you are safe and as comfortable as possible. In addition, the environment is free from triggers to prevent the risk of relapse. Your experience with addiction is shaped by your experiences in the military, which is taken into consideration during detox and your subsequent care plan.
Fentanyl Detox Timeline
The duration of the fentanyl detox process depends on how long you used fentanyl, the dosage, and the frequency at which it was taken. These factors also impact the severity and onset of your symptoms. Detox centers typically dedicate five to seven days to the detox process, but individual factors can impact your detox timeline.
- Early symptoms: The earliest symptoms of opioid withdrawal tend to be the mildest. These can start as soon as four to eight hours after your last dose of fentanyl and can include slight bodily discomforts such as aches and chills. Other symptoms can include restlessness and cravings.
- Peak symptoms: These symptoms are more severe and can last for about a week. They can start as soon 24 hours to 36 hours after your last dose. Peak symptoms can be more severe levels of early opioid withdrawal symptoms and include fever and vomiting.
- Long-term symptoms: These symptoms can potentially appear and persist weeks after completing a fentanyl detox. As a result, it’s important to seek continual withdrawal management and relapse prevention services.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Programs
At Heroes’ Mile, you will receive trauma-informed care that addresses the underlying causes of your addiction. After fentanyl detox, veterans begin the residential rehabilitation program to treat the underlying causes of opioid addiction. The length of your program and the treatment options you utilize will depend on your plan.
Our residential rehab program helps veterans take the necessary steps for life-long sobriety. With a combination of behavioral therapies, medication management, and programs geared toward physical wellness, you can overcome fentanyl addiction. Some of these programs at Heroes’ Mile include:
Those who undergo residential treatment for fentanyl addiction will dedicate their time to developing new coping skills. You will learn new ways to process your emotions and cope with past trauma with the network of veteran support groups. Everyone at our veteran-exclusive recovery center understands what you’re going through. This way you can focus on recovery in a judgment-free and sober environment.
Fentanyl Detox Center for Veterans
Any veteran who struggles with fentanyl abuse or addiction can rely on the staff at Heroes’ Mile to be with them through every step of their recovery journey. Fentanyl detox is the first step, but it’s an essential step for effectively overcoming addiction.
If you have additional questions about how we can help you or a fellow veteran overcome fentanyl addiction, call our admissions experts at 888-838-6692. You can also submit a confidential contact form for any of your questions and we’ll get back to you. We’re here to help you take your first step in recovery whenever you’re ready.