If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, you understand the effect that it has on everyone – not just the victim. When drugs put you in an altered state of mind, there are changes to your physical and emotional behavior. To the person affected, they may seem insignificant or unnoticeable. However, to those who are watching, the signs of drug addiction are much clearer.
While most people are familiar with the results of drinking too much or smoking too much, not everyone can identify a severe addiction to an incredibly dangerous substance like fentanyl. And when it comes to the dangers of synthetic opioids, fentanyl is front and center, accounting for about 50% of opioid-related deaths in the US
Fentanyl addiction is one of the most dangerous addictions to have, which is why it is crucial that you know the signs of fentanyl addiction. This way, you can seek help for yourself or a loved one suffering from this terrible disease.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical-level synthetic opioid that is used to treat severe pain that cannot be treated with weaker opioids like morphine. It often comes in transdermal patches for slow release or lozenges, which makes it safer for use under medical supervision.
To treat pain, the opioid attaches to receptors in the brain that control the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine. It then boosts the dopamine levels in your brain, numbing the pain and providing a relaxing feeling. This euphoric feeling is one of the reasons that fentanyl is so addictive – and dangerous.
Dangers of Fentanyl
Due to fentanyl’s 50-100 times higher potency than morphine, use outside of hospitals and medical supervision can be hazardous. The threat increases even further when taken illegally, as fentanyl is also approximately 50 times more potent than most heroin and other strong opioids. This means that if you buy oxycodone or heroin off of the street and it contains fentanyl, a regular dose is likely to be fatal.
Symptoms manifest as loss of consciousness, slowed breathing, and respiratory failure that can lead to death If untreated.
Fentanyl Addiction Indicators
One of the best ways to stop fentanyl addiction before it proves fatal is to know what to look for. While not everyone produces the same symptoms, there are physical and behavioral signs that may point to an addiction.
The physical symptoms of fentanyl addiction are usually easier to diagnose for yourself, as only you truly know how you feel.
When suffering from a fentanyl addiction, your symptoms will often include some form of general malaise that is uncommon for you. Headaches, nausea, restlessness, and more can make you incredibly uncomfortable. Symptoms of anxiety and depression (as well as their individual symptoms) may also occur as a result of the brain reacting to a lack of dopamine release from opioid usage. Fentanyl is also a depressant, so recent usage can cause lethargy, shallow breathing, visible confusion, and trouble speaking.
Behavioral changes are one of the easiest ways to tell if someone else is suffering from addiction, but it isn’t always easy to diagnose them yourself. The behavioral indicators that come along with fentanyl addiction can vary, so it’s essential to not only notice symptoms but changes in behavior as well.
Perhaps the most common sign of addiction is withdrawing from friends or family or avoiding social interaction as much as possible. Isolative behavior often stems from shame over the addiction, making it important to keep the secret from others. Lying accompanies the deception of hiding addiction, which can hurt relationships and lead to even further isolation.
Alternatively, behavior can go entirely in the opposite direction in the form of rash decision making, recklessness, and dangerous behavior. Mood swings and emotional instability can also stem from anxiety and restlessness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain during times without fentanyl. This poor decision-making also increases the risk of death from overdosing due to potentially seeking out unregulated street drugs.
Treating Fentanyl Addiction
Now that you know how to identify the signs of fentanyl addiction, it’s time to do something about it. Whether you, a friend or a loved one is suffering, addiction treatment is the best option for kicking addiction before it kicks you.
Soul Surgery Rehab is Scottsdale’s top addiction treatment center, helping those suffering from addiction to take back their lives. At their state-of-the-art detox and rehabilitation facility, they offer inpatient and outpatient treatment for drug and alcohol addictions. With a focus on dual diagnosis and holistic treatment, their programs address the addiction itself as well as any contributing factors to help craft a recovery plan that works for you.
Don’t let yourself or a loved one suffer from fentanyl addiction – learn to recognize the signs and get the help you need today with Soul Surgery.