Futures Recovery Healthcare

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Misuse


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Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that’s prescribed as a painkiller. Because of how powerful this drug is, and because of how addictive it can be, it’s typically reserved for severe pain, such as what a person might experience after a major accident, injury, or surgery.

Although fentanyl is typically reserved for severe pain, there were still over 7.5 million prescriptions written for this drug in 2008, and between 2013 and 2016, the number of deaths attributed to fentanyl use increased by 540%. Overdoses from drugs like fentanyl are currently the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50, and unfortunately, fentanyl use and abuse are on the rise, so it’s important to understand and recognize the signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse to get help to those who need it.

Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine, and this means the risk of addiction and overdose are much higher.

Physical Signs & Symptoms of Fentanyl Misuse

Symptoms include:

  • Developing a tolerance to the drug
  • Taking increasing doses of the drug or for longer than what was prescribed
  • Experiencing cravings or withdrawal symptoms when drug use ceases
  • Failed attempts to stop using
  • Dedicating large amounts of time to obtaining, taking, or recovering from fentanyl use
  • Continued use of the drug despite the negative consequences and effects
  • Declining health and getting sick more often
  • Difficulty walking

Psychological Signs & Symptoms of Fentanyl Misuse

Some of the most common psychological signs & symptoms are:

  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Lack of motivation
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Confusion

Behavioral Signs & Symptoms of Fentanyl Misuse

Fentanyl misuse causes personality and behavioral changes as people become dependent. Other behavioral signs of fentanyl misuse include:

  • Apathy about school, work, and other responsibilities
  • Neglected appearance and hygiene
  • Financial troubles, stealing, or legal troubles
  • Visiting multiple doctors for multiple prescriptions
  • Poor professional or academic performance that leads to getting fired or expelled
  • Neglecting commitments
  • Ignoring old friends in favor of drug-using friends
  • Exercising poor judgment

Physical Effects of Fentanyl Misuse & Risk of Overdose

Fentanyl is a potent drug, and it comes with equally powerful side effects, including both physical and psychological ones. Many opioids have very similar physical effects, including:

  • Constipation and urinary retention
  • Itchy skin
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constricted pupils
  • Seizures
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Dilated pupils

In terms of the mental effects of fentanyl, common signs include:

  • Mood changes
  • Sedation
  • Abnormal thoughts

One of the most alarming consequences of fentanyl misuse, however, is the increased risk of overdose. Signs and symptoms of an overdose are:

  • Lack of response to pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Coma

Mixing Fentanyl with Alcohol and Other Drugs

Although fentanyl is dangerous enough on its own, some people mix it with other substances, and this can have fatal consequences. When combined with other drugs, especially central nervous system depressants like alcohol, fentanyl misuse can lead to respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, and heart attack. Moreover, prolonged drug use can lead to a shortage of oxygen in the blood, and this can lead to permanent brain and organ damage.

Help Is Possible

Being able to recognize fentanyl misuse symptoms could potentially save a life. Opioids like fentanyl are highly addictive drugs. A treatment facility can provide the support, therapy, and resources a person needs to get on the path to recovery. Help is available. Call today to learn how Futures can help.


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