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The Dangers of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, has become increasingly prevalent in the realm of substance abuse. As one of the most potent opioids available, when abused or misused by individuals through self-medicating or recreationally, it can have devastating consequences. The dangers of fentanyl abuse are multifaceted and far-reaching and include addiction, overdose, and death.

Spotting Fentanyl Abuse

Spotting fentanyl abuse can be challenging due to its potent nature and the potential for it to be mixed with other substances. However, there are some signs and symptoms that may indicate someone is abusing fentanyl. 

  • Physical symptomsAbusing fentanyl leads to physical manifestations such as drowsiness, confusion, sedation, pinpoint pupils, slowed breathing or heart rate, constipation, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Behavioral changesIndividuals abusing fentanyl may display sudden mood swings, increased irritability or aggression, social withdrawal, or isolation from friends and family.
  • Neglecting responsibilitiesPeople struggling with fentanyl addiction might neglect their obligations at work or school. They may also experience financial difficulties due to spending money on this drug.
  • Preoccupation with obtaining the drugA strong desire to obtain more fentanyl becomes a priority for those abusing it. This can result in secretive behavior. For example, frequent visits to doctors’ offices seeking prescriptions or engaging in illegal activities to acquire the drug.
  • Changes in appearance and hygieneThose who abuse fentanyl tend to neglect self-care routines. Thus, leading to poor personal hygiene and disheveled appearance.

Short-Term Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl has numerous short-term effects on both the body and mind, including:

  • Euphoria: Fentanyl use induces intense feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Thereby, leading to a pleasurable high that reinforces continued drug use. 
  • Sedation: Fentanyl is a potent sedative, causing drowsiness and extreme fatigue. Accordingly, users may appear excessively sleepy or can struggle to stay awake.
  • Respiratory depression: One of the most dangerous short-term effects of fentanyl is respiratory depression, where breathing becomes slow and shallow. This can lead to oxygen deprivation in the body, potentially resulting in unconsciousness or even death.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Some individuals abusing fentanyl experience nausea and vomiting.
  • Cognitive impairment: Fentanyl use impairs cognitive functions like memory, attention span, judgment, and decision-making abilities.
  • Confusion and disorientation: Users may become mentally confused or disoriented due to the powerful impact of fentanyl on the brain’s opioid receptors.

Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Long-term fentanyl use can have severe and lasting effects on an individual’s physical and mental health For starters, fentanyl is highly addictive, both physically and psychologically. Moreover, prolonged abuse leads to dependence and addiction, making it extremely difficult for individuals to stop using without professional help.

Continued fentanyl use results in tolerance, meaning that higher doses are required to achieve the desired effect. This escalation increases the risk of overdose. In addition, using fentanyl puts immense strain on various organs, such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs. 

Long-term use may contribute to organ damage or failure. Additionally, chronic respiratory depression associated with fentanyl can cause severe respiratory issues, such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or even complete respiratory failure.

Prolonged fentanyl use has also been linked to cognitive decline and memory problems. This drug is often intertwined with mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or mood disorders due to changes in brain chemistry caused by long-term use.

Furthermore, individuals abusing fentanyl may experience strained relationships with family and friends, difficulties at work or school, financial problems, and legal troubles from illegal drug-seeking behaviors.

Fentanyl Patches

Fentanyl patches, also known as transdermal patches, are a specific form of fentanyl administration used for the management of chronic, severe pain. These patches contain a reservoir or gel-like substance that slowly releases fentanyl into the bloodstream through the skin over a specified period.

The use of fentanyl patches offers several advantages in pain management. They provide continuous and controlled release of the medication, eliminating the need for frequent dosing. This helps maintain stable blood levels of fentanyl and provides consistent pain relief throughout the day.

However, it is important to note that fentanyl patches carry certain risks and precautions. Improper use or misuse can lead to serious health complications, including overdose and death. It is essential to follow instructions provided by healthcare professionals regarding proper patch application and removal procedures.

Heroin and Fentanyl Combined

The combination of heroin and fentanyl is a dangerous and potentially lethal mix that has become increasingly prevalent in illicit drug use. Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin to increase its potency or used as a substitute entirely due to its cheaper production cost.

Heroin, an illegal opioid derived from morphine, is already known for its high risk of addiction, overdose, and health complications. When combined with fentanyl, the risks are greatly amplified. Since fentanyl is much more powerful than heroin, users may inadvertently consume a high dose of fentanyl, putting them at a greater risk for overdose and death.

Fentanyl Overdose and Withdrawal

Fentanyl overdose is a life-threatening emergency that can result in respiratory depression, coma, and death. Due to its potency, even small amounts of fentanyl can cause an overdose. 

Signs of a fentanyl overdose include: 

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Clammy skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of consciousness

Fentanyl withdrawal can be intense and difficult. Withdrawal symptoms typically start within a few hours after the last use and peak within one to three days but may continue for up to several weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms vary but often include:

  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Muscle pain and cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Goosebumps

Start Fentanyl Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN 

Act now and take the first step to overcome fentanyl abuse and addiction. Begin your journey to recovery by seeking treatment at Freeman Health Partners in Nashville, TN. Our experienced professionals are ready to guide you through a comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment program. Start reclaiming your life today with compassionate care that makes a lasting difference.

Contact us now to take control of your future.