Fentanyl Side Effects and Abuse
If you’ve followed the ongoing opioid epidemic, you’ve likely heard about fentanyl, a synthetic opioid with a very high potency. Fentanyl is often combined with heroin to create an even more toxic mixture that can increase the chance of overdose and death. However, someone doesn’t have to overdose on fentanyl in order to suffer from serious consequences of using it. There are all kinds of fentanyl side effects that can cause severe health problems as a result of its abuse.
What Is Fentanyl Used For?
Like most other drugs, fentanyl was introduced for medicinal purposes. Someone who is receiving surgery and needs an especially powerful anesthesia might be given fentanyl before surgery or after to help them cope with any later discomfort. The feeling that comes from consuming fentanyl is unmatched by any commonly prescribed opioid, including morphine. It’s a must that any doctor who gives a patient fentanyl does so with as much prudence as possible. Otherwise, they could be complicit in someone going down a path of substance abuse and addiction that’s very difficult to break free from.
The power of fentanyl means that users can become accustomed to the positive feelings it inspires in them. Someone who received it for medicinal purposes might try to find it as a street drug. There has been an influx of fentanyl, distributed in powder form, circulating through illegal drug networks. It’s consumed through means like snorting and intravenous injection. Fentanyl is often used unwittingly by people. Those who are addicted to heroin will purchase heroin that has been cut with fentanyl. Dealers do this as it allows them to sell more drugs at a lower price. However, there’s a much higher risk of a fatality occurring.
Fentanyl Side Effects
Fentanyl comes with numerous side effects for users. One doesn’t need to be using fentanyl for long in order for these effects to take place. Someone can also become addicted even from a relatively brief period of fentanyl usage. Some of the earliest side effects include becoming easily fatigued, having trouble breathing, and experiencing stomach problems. Because opiates like fentanyl can constrict the brain’s access to oxygen, mental clarity can become compromised and users can have trouble maintaining equilibrium.
Continued Side Effects
There’s no acceptable amount of fentanyl abuse, but the longer it happens, the worse the effects are. Regular use of fentanyl can wreak havoc on vital organs, including the heart, lungs, stomach, and brain. The dependency one develops as a result of their fentanyl abuse can cause them to form feelings of great mental unwellness. They may become easily agitated and subject to highly depressed moods, particularly if they’re developing a tolerance and they need to consume more fentanyl than before. However, the more fentanyl they consume, the more likely their chances of overdose become.
The possibility of overdose with fentanyl is exceptionally high, whether someone is using it for the first time or the 100th time. Because it doesn’t take a lot of fentanyl for someone to overdose, someone could grossly overestimate how much they can handle. Fentanyl being combined with other drugs can also lead to an overdose. The signs of a fentanyl overdose are not difficult to spot. Your recognition of them could be life-saving.
Signs of Fentanyl Overdose
A fentanyl overdose can be recognized based on how the user has trouble breathing, demonstrates an alarming reduction in pupil size, and loses consciousness. Their lips and fingernails could also take on a blue appearance. Any of these symptoms or similar ones should alert you that something is wrong.
What to Do When Someone Overdoses
Immediate action is the most important thing you can do when someone overdoses on fentanyl. Call 911 and tell them what has happened. Follow their instructions as you wait for medical attention to come. Do your best to maintain your composure by taking deep breaths. If you have access to Narcan, you should administer it in order to reverse the overdose effects.
It’s highly advised for someone who has undergone a fentanyl overdose to receive prolonged medical attention. After overdosing, they should be brought in for observation so a doctor can assess what sort of damage fentanyl has caused to their body. Because of how addictive fentanyl it is, treatment must be done carefully so that clients can be weaned off as safely as possible. They need to make sure they’re in regular contact with their doctor to ensure that their treatment is successful. They also need to have the desire and determination to lead a life free of fentanyl.
Substance abuse problem or addiction to fentanyl can be a long-term problem. Therefore, it requires long-term solutions. One doesn’t get free of fentanyl’s grasp through just a day or even a week of being clean. There needs to be an extended plan put in place. Professional treatment is a must. While friends and family can and should provide support for them to get better, those who are addicted to fentanyl need the guidance of those with a deep understanding of addiction. They could attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings in addition to receiving outpatient treatment. If it’s difficult to avoid the temptation to relapse based on their current surroundings, they might need to enroll in an inpatient detox and residential treatment facility. If their fentanyl abuse is rooted in any sort of mental health issues, there should be a dual diagnosis treatment that explores the relationship between the two.
A Better Tomorrow
Coping with fentanyl substance abuse and addiction can lead to some of the lowest points in a person’s life. However, some of the greatest moments in life come from being able to put oneself over previous hurdles. It’s not easy to quit using fentanyl, but it’s also not easy to continue using it. If you or anyone you care about is trying to overcome a dependency on fentanyl, understand that the hurdles will be difficult as you seek full recovery, but that they are worth going through.
There’s no easy way to deal with substance abuse and addiction. However, at St John’s Recovery Place, we do our best to make the recovery process as bearable and beneficial for our clients as possible. Every one of our clients is given equal attention and dedication to helping them get through this time. Give us a call today to speak to our admissions staff and discuss a recovery plan for you or a loved one.