Opioids are a class of drugs typically prescribed to treat severe pain. These substances are highly addictive, even when used as directed, and opioid misuse can wind up damaging every aspect of a person’s life. Among these substances, fentanyl is one of the most deadly.

Fentanyl addiction is a serious condition — one that can easily lead to death. But if you or a loved one is currently suffering, there’s still hope. Here’s everything you need to know about fentanyl addiction, from symptoms to treatment.

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What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning it’s designed in laboratories to imitate the effects of natural opioid drugs, such as morphine. Together, synthetic opioids form a group of prescription drugs known as opioid analgesics, which attach themselves to the body’s opioid receptors — the sections of the brain responsible for emitting pain and emotions.

This ability makes fentanyl and other opioids useful for eliminating excruciating pain, which is why they’re often prescribed to cancer patients or accident victims. But because fentanyl is a synthetic drug, it’s up to 100 times more powerful than its natural counterparts.

Prescription opioids can lead to dangerous addictions, largely because the drugs are so potent. But prescriptions aren’t the only source of addiction. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is prevalent in illegal drug markets and is often laced with other substances that amplify its effects. In some cases, fentanyl addiction can be developed when a person unknowingly takes other drugs that contain traces of the opioid.

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction

Synthetic opioids in general are responsible for a range of symptoms. Those who suffer from fentanyl use disorder might exhibit numerous symptoms or no more than a few — everyone is different. However, knowing the signs and symptoms of fentanyl misuse can help you spot the condition in others — or in yourself — before too much damage is done.

Drug abuse typically affects a person in several forms: physically, psychologically and behaviorally. Here are some signs and symptoms that commonly affect those addicted to fentanyl.

Physical Symptoms

The physical effects of fentanyl addiction are some of the most easily recognized. If you or a loved one is suffering, some signs to look out for are:

  • Drowsiness or insomnia
  • Constricted pupils
  • Lethargy
  • Slurred speech
  • Restlessness
  • Slowed or unintentional movements

Besides these, those who are addicted to opioid drugs tend to experience withdrawal symptoms after going without a dose for an extended period of time. Additionally, there are a few physical symptoms that may signal an oncoming fentanyl overdose. If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or others, it’s important to seek emergency services immediately.

  • Lost consciousness
  • Sudden extreme drowsiness
  • Choking
  • Cold flashes or clammy skin
  • Limpness
  • Weak or no breathing
  • Skin or nail discoloration

Mental Symptoms

The cognitive and psychological signs of fentanyl might not be as easily recognized as their physical counterparts, but they can be just as damaging. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Trouble paying attention or concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired judgment
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Intense cravings
  • Euphoria, followed quickly by an emotional crash
  • Suicidal thoughts

Behavioral Symptoms

Fentanyl misuse also has behavioral effects for those who suffer from it. These are often noticeable to close friends, family and coworkers who interact with the affected person on a daily basis. Behavioral symptoms like the ones below, combined with the physical or mental ones above, are often a clear sign that someone is suffering from a substance use disorder.

  • Lack of interest in previous hobbies
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Absence from or poor performance in work or school
  • Engaging in reckless behavior to obtain fentanyl
  • Dedicating extreme amounts of time to using the drug or recovering from it
  • Neglecting daily responsibilities
  • Disinterest in intimate relationships

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Treatment Options

For those affected by fentanyl addiction, there’s hope. Plenty of treatment options exist to treat the condition, from inpatient programs to behavioral therapies.

A complete inpatient treatment program is often ideal for opioid use disorders, as it eliminates all physical access to the drug. Patients also benefit from being surrounded by a team of medical professionals who are trained to guide them through the recovery process. In addition, this form of treatment provides some much-needed support to those suffering from opioid withdrawal symptoms, which can cause severe cravings and pain.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is another method useful for treating the emotional effects of substance use disorder. It can help you gain insight into the deeply personal root of your addiction. Plus, group therapy sessions are a great source of interpersonal support.

Dangers of Fentanyl Abuse

It can be tempting to ignore the warning signs of fentanyl addiction, especially when faced with severe pain or diseases like cancer. But despite the relief that prescription fentanyl may provide, the dangers of addiction might pose a bigger threat.

Substance abuse doesn’t leave any aspect of life untouched. Those who suffer often experience serious financial consequences, such as job loss and eviction, not to mention the financial strain that often comes with obtaining fentanyl illegally. Opioid addiction can also cause rifts in relationships, as the drug winds up becoming the top priority of the affected person.

Additionally, fentanyl addiction can have serious health consequences that may result in death. Because fentanyl is such a powerful synthetic opioid, overdose deaths are extremely common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, deaths related to synthetic opioids continue to rise, with over 70,000 reported in 2021 alone — nearly 200 people every single day.

Our Approach to Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

At Recovery Life Group, we’re dedicated to providing patients with treatment that lasts. With our specially crafted holistic approach to recovery, we can help you develop a personalized treatment plan to heal your body, mind and spirit.

Whether you’re suffering from an addiction to prescription or illicitly manufactured fentanyl, you’ll find a judgment-free space to heal and get your life back on track. With a compassionate staff and a cozy, homelike facility, our space can provide the peace and safety you need to get your life back on track.

Next Steps With Recovery Life Group

Now is the best time to take the first step on the path to recovery. Our luxury facility and highly qualified staff are ready and waiting to help you on your journey.

It’s never too late to put an end to fentanyl addiction. If you or a loved one is currently suffering, Recovery Life Group can help. Call (301) 686-3233 or fill out a contact form today to get started.