Fentanyl is a synthetic pharmaceutical drug, it is an opioid pain reliever (OPR) more than 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is generally used to relieve severe pain. It is sometimes prescribed after surgery or during cancer treatment.
Fentanyl is available in many forms including an oral lozenge, a patch, as an injectable, as a sublingual spray, as a dissolvable tablet and as a nasal spray. Fentanyl blocks pain receptors inside of the brain and increases levels of dopamine, creating a feeling of happiness in users.
In 2016, Fentanyl became the drug involved in the most overdose deaths in the United States. Fentanyl started to become used illegally as a recreational drug in the 1970’s and continues to be used since then. The biological effects of fentanyl are similar to heroin, only with less of a euphoric effect and more of a sedative effect.
Often times fentanyl is mixed into heroin or cocaine. In some cases users may not even know they are taking fentanyl. Non-medical fentanyl is especially dangerous to people without a tolerance to opioids. The heavy risk of overdosing is multiplied when taken by someone without an opioid tolerance, which is why fentanyl overdose is so common.
Signs of Fentanyl Addiction
When taking fentanyl, the brain produces a heavy amount of dopamine. Over time this can alter the chemical structure of the brain, leading to complications and a neurological dependency on the drug. Once a user develops a tolerance to fentanyl they will become reliant on the drug in order to feel like their normal self. Once someone become reliant on fentanyl they will require more and more of the drug as their addiction progresses. Opioids can escalate from abuse into addiction rapidly.
Fentanyl Side Effects
The most common side effects of fentanyl include diarrhea, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, somnolence, confusion, anesthesia and sweating. Fentanyl can also cause headaches, fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, urinary retention, apnea, hypoventilation, shortness of breath and aphasia.
Treating Fentanyl Addiction
When it comes to fentanyl, going “cold turkey” can be an excruciating process. Those who are recovering from a fentanyl addiction will experience painful withdrawal. Nova Vitae Treatment Center offers specialized programs for those who are recovering from fentanyl addiction. Our treatment center is located in Los Angeles near Hollywood and is here to help people from all walks of life recover from fentanyl addiction.