Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that can be prescribed by a doctor but is often obtained illegally. This drug is a potent synthetic opioid that can be prescribed by a doctor but is often obtained illegally. In 2021, more than 67,000 people died as a result of an opioid overdose. This drug is around 50-100 times stronger than morphine, which is why it’s so dangerous when you take it more often or at a higher dose than prescribed. In this guide, you’ll learn about the signs of fentanyl addiction as well as the long-term side effects.
Common Signs of Fentanyl Addiction
If you’re not sure if you or someone you love is addicted to fentanyl, there are many signs you should be on the lookout for. Anyone who takes fentanyl has at least some risk of suffering from an addiction. At the beginning, you’ll feel a pleasurable sensation. Over time, this sensation makes it seem as though you’re unable to live without the drug in question. Even if there are serious consequences for taking this drug, you’ll still feel intense cravings that cause you to compulsively use the substance when you’re addicted. The most common signs of this type of addiction include:
- Small pupils
- Slow breathing
What are the Risks Associated with Fentanyl Addiction?
Along with developing an addiction to fentanyl, taking this substance also increases the chances that you’ll overdose on the drug. As mentioned previously, it is a highly potent opioid that’s around 50 times stronger than heroin.
When someone obtains this drug without a prescription, it’s possible that it will be mixed with cocaine, meth, heroin, and other harmful drugs. Even though the risk of an overdose is higher when you take fentanyl illicitly, it’s still possible to overdose even if the drug is being taken according to a prescription.
What are the Potential Long Term Side Effects of Fentanyl?
The long term side effects of fentanyl can be separated into physical, cognitive, and emotional effects. The physical signs of addiction to this drug include drowsiness, weight loss, and restlessness. You may begin to display less care for your appearance. Over time, you may become more fatigued because of issues like oversleeping or taking naps too often. Additional effects include constipation, mood instability, menstrual issues, and respiratory problems. The risk of a heart attack or heart failure is also higher.
Fentanyl binds the opioid receptors in your brain that control emotions and pain. By continuing to take it on a long-term basis, your body will become more and more tolerant to the effects of this drug, which means that you’ll need to increase your dosage to have the same experience.
Cognitive and Emotional Impacts
The main cognitive and emotional changes that you could go through when addicted to fentanyl include:
- Delusions and paranoia
- Mood swings
Once you’ve developed an addiction to fentanyl, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking this drug. These symptoms typically begin after 12 hours and can include everything from insomnia and a loss of appetite to diarrhea and excessive sweating.
Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction
Even though it can take time to recover from a substance use disorder, there are several effective treatments for fentanyl addiction. Because of the difficulties that come with overcoming withdrawal, most forms of fentanyl rehab begin with detoxification, which helps rid your body of the drug without experiencing dangerous side effects.
The types of treatment at your disposal mainly include medication intervention and different types of counseling intervention, all of which can be obtained during inpatient rehab or outpatient treatment.
How Can Medication Intervention Help?
Dependence on fentanyl can result in painful long-term effects if you try to quit on your own. During detox, it’s common for medications to be administered in a manner that alleviates withdrawal symptoms. If you’ve been using fentanyl for a long time, these medications are likely necessary. Naloxone is the most commonly used medication during fentanyl addiction treatment.
Types of Counseling Interventions Available for Those in Recovery
There are many forms of counseling that are administered to those in recovery, the primary of which include:
- Group therapy
- Individual counseling
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
How Family and Friends Can Support Someone with Fentanyl Addiction
If you believe that someone close to you is suffering from a fentanyl addiction, you should take time to:
- Educate yourself about the signs of addiction
- Hold an intervention and recommend treatment options
- Don’t enable your loved one
- Set realistic expectations for their recovery
- Understand the symptoms of an overdose
If you or someone you love is suffering from fentanyl addiction, it’s highly recommended that you seek fentanyl addiction treatment immediately. Entering treatment early on reduces the long-term effects of addiction and allows you to take the first step on the road to recovery.