Generally used to treat pain after surgery, fentanyl is a powerful opioid. The effects of fentanyl can range from relieving pain, to causing more severe side effects like overdose. Depending on usage, the effects that fentanyl can have can consist of long term behavioral and cognitive issues, as well other short term repercussions.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that, just like other opioids, attaches to the pain receptors in the brain and helps to alleviate any pain being experienced by the user. It can also provide a euphoric, relaxed sensation. This is what fentanyl addicts desire to feel by using the drug recreationally. Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug, it has a medical purpose, but it also has a high risk of being abused and causing an addiction to form. Once addiction has been reached, stopping the drug can be harder, and the body can require more of the drug to function properly, leading to fentanyl overdose.
Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose
Knowing the signs associated with fentanyl overdose could potentially save someone’s life. Looking for these signs can be crucial to identifying overdose:
- “Pinned” or small pupils
- Falling in and out of consciousness
- Slowed breathing
- Discoloration of the lips and nail beds
- Limp body and limbs
- Choking or gurgling sounds
Watching out for these signs can potentially lead to being able to reverse the overdose and save the person’s life.
Side Effects of Fentanyl
Fentanyl effects can be long term or short term depending on usage, length of use, and any underlying physical and mental health issues the person may be having. Using heroin can cause mental and physical side effects, and understanding fentanyl effects can help someone to seek recovery.
Mental Side Effects
Mentally, fentanyl effects can be experienced even in short term use. Short term effects of fentanyl can consist of confusion, cravings, depression, and anxiety. Because fentanyl use can rewire the brain and change its functionality, these symptoms can be experienced even after the drug use has ceased. The functionality of the brain needs to be rewired back to normal and this can take time to happen. These mental symptoms are partially why receiving professional help for fentanyl addiction is highly recommended.
Physical Side Effects
Physically, fentanyl effects can be seen in a person using the drug. The slurred speech, drowsiness,”pinned” or constricted pupils, and slowed breathing are all seen in fentanyl addicts. However, using fentanyl can lead to overdose which can lead to long term side effects on the body, including Rhabdomyolysis. Overdose can cause damage to the muscle tissue and cause muscle proteins to enter into the bloodstream. This can lead to heart or kidney issues, and possibly permanent disability.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Fentanyl
Fentanyl effects can be experienced even when the drug is removed. Dependence leads to inevitable withdrawal symptoms. Opioid withdrawal, including fentanyl, can be an unpleasant experience, but it can also lead to long term side effects.The symptoms that can be experienced vary from person to person, but there are some general symptoms that are associated with fentanyl withdrawal:
- Muscle and body aches
- Restlessness in the limbs and body
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Hot and cold flashes
- High blood pressure
These symptoms can begin as soon as a few hours after the last use, and can last anywhere from three days to a few months depending on the person. Again, these symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and this is why most people trying to come off the drug opt to seek professional addiction treatment. Being medically supervised during detoxification can help to address these symptoms, as well as prevent severe complications that can occur during the withdrawal phase.
Addiction to fentanyl can be fatal. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl was a factor in 71,238 overdose deaths in 2021. Family, friends, and other loved ones feel fentanyl effects even when they are not the ones who are physically using the drug. Fentanyl addiction can lead to legal issues in the life of the person who uses it, as well as social and economical consequences. Homelessness is rampant among fentanyl addicts.
Fortunately, addiction to this drug is treatable and there is help available. There are addiction professionals who are trained to help those seeking recovery from fentanyl addiction. These professionals can help to address all of the physical and mental concerns associated with addiction to fentanyl. Medication as well as behavior therapy has proven to be beneficial in the lives of addicts during early recovery, and receiving this help can be pivotal to saving someone’s life.
Treat Opioid Addiction in Orange County
Opioid addiction is a monster that affects the addict, as well as those around them. Getting help for physical addiction is the first step to recovery from opioid addiction. Here at Ocean Hills, our goal is to provide care catered to the person needing it. If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction and needs help, contact us today.