Fentanyl is an extremely strong opioid painkiller, 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Due to its strength, fentanyl can be highly beneficial to those experiencing severe pain such as during recovery after an operation. The drug blocks pain receptors in the brain that trigger the sensation while also increasing the amount of dopamine produced, making the patient feel happier and more comfortable.
How Fentanyl Affects the User
As is the case with many opioid painkillers, fentanyl has a high risk to be abused even if taken under a prescription. Fentanyl raises even more concerns due to its sheer strength making it even more addictive as the sense of euphoria is sought after and taking too much fentanyl is an easy mistake to make.
When someone begins abusing fentanyl, there are multiple signs that can be used to identify the actions. These signs include:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Dizzy spells
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blurred vision
Fentanyl overdose is a rising concern as the drug finds more popularity amongst illicit drug users. The potency of the drug makes overdosing even more likely in those who haven’t used opioid painkillers before and have no tolerance. As little as 2 mg of fentanyl can be a lethal dose, causing the respiratory system to completely fail on the user.
Identifying Fentanyl Addiction
Much like heroin, individuals finding themselves addicted to fentanyl started with a completely legal prescription for the drug. Fentanyl causes severe alterations to the user’s central nervous system that change the chemical balance over time. Large amounts of dopamine are produced from the drug’s interactions but once an individual no longer takes it, the brain struggles to produce dopamine naturally.
This level of chemical dependency is what leads so many proper users to turn to illicit fentanyl use, obtaining the drug illegally without a prescription. Since dopamine levels are so low, it can be difficult to feel any amount of happiness or reward without fentanyl being present in their system.
Tolerance levels also play a large part in the forming of fentanyl addiction. As the drug is used more often, a larger quantity is needed in order to achieve the same effects. Many users feel they need this “high” in order to be at what they consider a normal state of mind.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Centers
Cutting off fentanyl use can be an extremely uncomfortable and painful experience depending on the severity of abuse. Seeking help through a professional addiction treatment center can help make the detox process more bearable and increase the chances of successfully reaching sobriety.
Medically-assisted detox programs allow individuals access to medical professionals that can administer medication to ease the impact of withdrawal symptoms. Once detox is complete, a smooth transition into the recovery program can happen to start helping the individual break their addiction for the long-term.
By equipping participants with the tools, knowledge and resources needed to succeed, Hickory Treatment Centers creates a network of support that extends beyond the initial treatment program. After-care assistance is crucial in helping address cravings, impulses and even lapses in sobriety.
If you or someone you care about is battling fentanyl addiction, we encourage you to reach out to our compassionate team today with any questions you may have.