Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioid drugs and is extremely addictive. Fentanyl drugs are considered to be opioid analgesics. Many individuals who use fentanyl begin using it to treat pain but soon find themselves unable to quit and increase their dosage. Unfortunately, the long term effects of fentanyl are severe and potentially life-threatening.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a prescription synthetic opioid drug and is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is also made illegally.
When prescribed by a doctor, it is intended to provide pain relief from medical procedures or chronic pain. It is also known as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®.
What is Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl?
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is commonly mixed with heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Similar to prescription fentanyl, illicit fentanyl is extremely dangerous and increases the risk of severe side effects and overdose.
How Does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?
Fentanyl binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are areas that control pain and emotions, which results in the brain adapting quickly to fentanyl and making it almost impossible for individuals to experience any pleasant emotions unless they are taking fentanyl.
Short-Term Side Effects
The short term side effects of fentanyl can include a combination of the following:
- Small pupils
- Slowed breathing
Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl Use
Long-term effects of fentanyl can increase the risk of:
- Chronic constipation/bowel obstruction
- Breathing problems
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Immune system suppression
- Hormonal and reproductive issues
- Bone fractures
- Severe withdrawal symptoms
Long-term use of fentanyl increases the chances of an overdose.
Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose can include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Hypoxia (decreased oxygen to the brain, which can cause permanent brain damage)
- Shallow breathing
- Limp body
- Small pupils
- Blue, pale, cold skin
If you suspect someone might be experiencing a fentanyl overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
Long-term use of fentanyl can result in severe withdrawal symptoms when individuals do not use the drug, even for a short period of time. These can include:
- Difficulties with sleep
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Severe cravings
- Cold flashes
- Muscle pain
- And more
Do You or a Loved One Have an Opioid Use Disorder?
Addiction to fentanyl and other opioids (including prescribed fentanyl and prescription opioids) is serious and as mentioned above, can increase an individual’s risk of health complications.
If you or a loved one experience any of the following symptoms, you might have a drug abuse disorder/opioid addiction:
- Increasing your dose of opioids without approval from a medical professional
- Continuing to take opioids even when you no longer need them for your pain
- Compulsive drug seeking
- Using opioids in risky situations, such as at work or while driving
- Losing interest in activities that used to bring you joy
- Having financial troubles due to your opioid use
- Avoiding work or other responsibilities in order to use opioids
- Experience cravings for the drug(s)
Can Fentanyl Be Taken with Other Drugs?
Fentanyl should never be taken with other drugs, this also applies to both pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicit fentanyl. However, with the continued use of it, many individuals begin to take it with alcohol, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. This is extremely dangerous for life.
Fentanyl and Alcohol: Combining fentanyl with alcoholic drinks can increase the risk of respiratory arrest, coma, and drug overdose deaths.
Fentanyl and Benzodiazepines: Taking fentanyl with benzodiazepines increases the risk of respiratory depression and overdose deaths. This is due to the fact that both prevent breathing and cause sedation.
Fentanyl and Antidepressants: Taking these together can cause severe reactions. You should always speak with your medical provider about the potential risks before taking any antidepressant medication with other drugs.
Fentanyl detox is an important part of receiving treatment for fentanyl addiction, especially when the drug has been used for a significant period of time. In fact, detox is often the first step toward recovery in a drug treatment program.
As mentioned, the effects of fentanyl withdrawal can be severe. Symptoms will vary from person to person but can include a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. The detox process is important, as it helps your body remove the drug from your system, letting you move forward in your treatment program with a fresh start.
Our team at 4 Seasons Detox helps you safely withdraw from fentanyl through the use of medication-assisted treatment. This allows us to make your withdrawal process as comfortable as possible through the use of prescribed medications under the supervision of medical professionals.
Fentanyl Addiction & Substance Abuse Treatment
At 4 Seasons Detox and Recovery House, we create individualized fentanyl addiction treatment programs based on the unique needs of each person. Our team is here to help you break your cycle of fentanyl abuse. Treatment includes medical detox, therapy sessions, and mental health services to help you reach long-term recovery and avoid relapse.