Home » Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl is a pain reliever. It’s a synthetic opioid drug like morphine or codeine, but it’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Because it is an opiate, it binds to opioid receptors in the brain, much like heroin does. It’s used to treat patients who have recently had surgery or experience chronic pain and have grown tolerant to other opioids. Fentanyl is available in a prescription form under Actiq®, Duragesic®, Fentora®, and Sublimaze®.
Since fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in the brain, it can become highly addictive. Many fentanyl users may be unaware that they are taking fentanyl, because it is often laced in with other street drugs or used in place of drugs, such as heroin. Abusing fentanyl can have bad consequences, including death.
Fentanyl addiction is a serious and devastating issue that has gained significant attention in recent years due to its role in the opioid crisis.
Understanding what fentanyl addiction looks like is crucial for recognizing the signs and seeking help for individuals who may be struggling. Here are some key aspects and indicators of fentanyl addiction:
Fentanyl is highly addictive, and regular use can lead to physical dependence. This means that the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and requires it to function normally. Over time, individuals develop tolerance, needing higher doses to achieve the same effects. If they try to quit or reduce their dose, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, and intense cravings.
Fentanyl addiction can cause significant changes in a person’s behavior. They may become increasingly preoccupied with obtaining and using the drug, often at the expense of other responsibilities and relationships. Their focus may shift from their previous interests and goals to primarily obtaining and using fentanyl. They may also engage in deceptive behaviors to hide their drug use from others.
Individuals struggling with fentanyl addiction often isolate themselves from family, friends, and social activities. They may withdraw from their usual social circles due to feelings of shame, guilt, or the fear of being exposed. This isolation can further exacerbate the addiction and hinder the recovery process.
Sustaining a fentanyl addiction can be financially draining. The illicit nature of fentanyl means that it is often sold at high prices on the black market. Addicted individuals may spend a significant portion of their income, savings, or even resort to illegal activities to support their drug habit. As a result, they may experience financial instability, accumulating debt, or facing legal consequences.
Fentanyl abuse takes a toll on both physical and mental well-being. Physically, individuals may experience respiratory problems, irregular heart rate, gastrointestinal issues, and weakened immune system. Mental health may deteriorate, leading to depression, anxiety, mood swings, and cognitive impairments. Overdose is a constant risk with fentanyl, as its potency makes it highly dangerous even in small quantities.
Symptoms of fentanyl addiction become apparent when the person who is addicted to the substance begins to withdraw from social situations, work, and recreational situations. They will have a preoccupation with using and finding fentanyl. A significant amount of each day revolves around using or recovering from fentanyl. If it was first prescribed to the abuser, they will likely use it longer than it is intended. Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs of fentanyl addiction:
The effects of fentanyl addiction begin with a feeling of euphoria, but as the addiction continues, the abuser may experience slowed breathing, nausea and vomiting, sweating, constipation and a loss of appetite. Because addicts become all-consumed by obtaining and consuming fentanyl, it is easy to take too much and have an overdose.
The fentanyl withdrawal timeline can be intense and challenging to endure, often driving individuals to continue using the drug to avoid the discomfort. It is important to recognize these symptoms and seek appropriate medical support during the withdrawal process. Here are some common fentanyl withdrawal symptoms:
Alcohol is commonly paired with fentanyl, which can be a deadly combination due to shallow breathing and the risk of sedation. Xanax is also a common lethal combination.
If you or someone you love has experienced a fentanyl overdose, you will notice they’ve become sleepy or have passed out. They may snore and appear to be impossible to wake up, become limp, and their lips may turn blue or purple. A naloxone kit can temporarily reverse the overdose while you’re waiting for help from 911. Naloxone comes in a spray or as an injectable.
Fentanyl addiction is treated in rehab first with a detox where the abuser is slowly tapered off of fentanyl to avoid painful or uncomfortable side effects and withdrawals. Fentanyl users can seek inpatient treatment, such as we offer here at Gratitude Lodge. Cases of fentanyl addiction that haven’t gone on as long can be treated with outpatient recovery services. We partner with local outpatient services if that fit is right for you or your loved one.
If you are looking for a fentanyl addiction treatment center, Gratitude Lodge offers both inpatient fentanyl detox and an inpatient fentanyl rehab program at our Newport Beach and Long Beach locations. We can help as you go through the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and work toward long-term recovery.
If you want to learn more about our fentanyl addiction treatment programs, contact our team at Gratitude Lodge today.
When prescribed, Fentanyl is an opioid that comes in the form of a blue or white pill. It can also be laced with Xanax and benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety. Street fentanyl can be designed to look like other less potent prescription pills. Illegal fentanyl can also come in the form of gel patches or lollipops.
Illegal fentanyl can be smoked, snorted, injected, or swallowed. Most illegal fentanyl is produced as a powder, but it can also come in the form of a pill, candy in blotter paper, powder, tablet, spray, or a film placed under the tongue.
People use fentanyl to experience a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. People mix it with other drugs to create a feeling of getting “high.” Others use it unintentionally when it is laced with another drug such as Xanax. Mixing fentanyl with other drugs can be a deadly combination. It’s often used in place of other drugs because it doesn’t take as much to achieve a high, making it a cheaper alternative for drug dealers.
Fentanyl, being a synthetic opioid, typically does not have a distinct odor on its own. Pure fentanyl is odorless. However, it’s important to note that illicitly produced fentanyl or fentanyl-containing substances sold on the street may be mixed with other substances or drugs, which can potentially alter the smell.
The lethal dose of fentanyl can vary depending on various factors, including an individual’s tolerance, body weight, overall health, and whether they have prior opioid exposure. The presence of other substances in combination with fentanyl also affects its toxicity. It is worth noting that even tiny amounts of fentanyl can be lethal. It is estimated that as little as two milligrams (equivalent to a few grains of salt) can cause a fatal overdose in an average-sized adult who does not have an opioid tolerance.
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