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Fentanyl Side Effects Can Be Deadly

a person with their face in their hands suffering from fentanyl side effects

Both short- and long-term fentanyl side effects, some enjoyable and some unpleasant, can be overwhelming. If you’re worried that someone is using this opiate, learn about the signs someone is using fentanyl or signs indicating an overdose. If you need help, please get in touch with the fentanyl addiction treatment program at Vertava Health today at 844.470.0410.  

Short-Term Adverse Fentanyl Side Effects

Not every individual will experience the same side effects the same way, but some of the common short-term adverse effects include:

  • Sedation
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Respiratory depression

Long-Term Fentanyl Physical Side Effects

Long-term use of fentanyl can lead to heart or respiratory problems. Further, people who inject fentanyl and share needles have an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, or other infectious diseases.

How Can You Tell If Someone Is Taking Fentanyl?

Oftentimes in any friendship or family, somebody notices something isn’t quite right about somebody else but struggles to put a finger on exactly what’s different. Many times, studying someone’s behavior is the key and a nearly invisible tell-tale sign or side effects.

Changes in Routine

If fentanyl is being taken, there may be changes in sleeping habits, eating habits, and socializing. Fentanyl addiction can take over somebody’s life to the point where they only care about getting their next high.

Psychological Changes

On any given day, you might see the person using fentanyl display an entire spectrum of emotions and not know what to make of their behavior. They may find it hard to concentrate or remember things, seemingly lost in daydreams. Their mood will rapidly swing from paranoia to depression to anxiety to hallucinations. This altered personality state could lead them to make decisions while having impaired judgment.

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

Perhaps it’s short-lived or seems to be chronically occurring. Does a friend of yours have a multitude of physical ailments you are visibly noticing? Opioid withdrawal symptoms include the following. These can begin any time up to one-and-a-half days after the last fentanyl use:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like muscle aches or pain in bones
  • Anxiousness
  • Stomach cramping or diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Drug craving

It can take weeks before you might experience normal health after the first days of discomfort. It is extremely important to check in with your doctor or a treatment center prior to detox so your condition can be medically monitored. It is also helpful to have a medical provider supervise you who can make medications to treat you and avoid relapse due to discomfort.

Stealing Money or Drugs or Doctor Shopping

Multiple visits to the doctor is a classic indicator of doctor shopping. This occurs when someone seeks to get pain medication prescriptions and uses so frequently the refill schedule doesn’t satisfy their need to get more of the opioid. No problem. They just scheduled a new appointment with a new physician’s office. If this approach doesn’t work, the person may steal family members or friends’ prescriptions or money in order to purchase more fentanyl or any opioid.

Serious Life Consequences

If fentanyl abuse spirals out of control, it can have an extensive effect on the person’s life. These can be long-term, permanent changes that can destroy families and relationships. It’s a sad fact fentanyl addiction causes people to make bad decisions that have potentially deadly consequences.

Why Do People Take Fentanyl?

Main reasons people list for using fentanyl.

Seeking Euphoric Happiness

Seeking a way to relax or find excessive happiness are reasons people may seek the drug or stumble across just experimenting while using. Liking the effect they receive, they again take it after it wears off. Sometimes this is short-term and for others, too often turns into the only way they can maintain this state of happiness. Escaping their problems with the chemical high becomes routine.

Pain Relief

Pain relief, while not as common, is another reason someone uses fentanyl. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance approved for use to treat severe pain, most often experienced by those in pain from advanced cancer. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is administered as transdermal pain patches or lozenges, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This legal form has been misused by others when they have access to it.

Unknowingly Taking the Drug

Unknowingly taking another drug that is laced with fentanyl is increasingly common. A single dosage of fentanyl generally could cause life-threatening respiratory depression and overdose on fentanyl. This is leading to overdoses and emergency room visits because breathing has slowed or stopped.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Overdose

Whether it is to relax or mistakenly taken, even in the short term, fentanyl can be very dangerous. The National Vital Statistics System expands upon the overdose above stating that fentanyl deaths saw a 1045% increase from 2012 to 2016.

Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include:

  • Blue or purplish fingernails or lips
  • Cold, clammy, and pale skin
  • Gurgling noises
  • A person’s body goes limp
  • A person can’t speak
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slowed or stopped heartbeat

These signs can bring a person’s health down a long, dark road.

Seek Treatment at Vertava Health

Breaking the cycle of fentanyl addiction is possible with comprehensive treatment. By choosing treatment for fentanyl addiction, a person is given an opportunity for a healthier, drug-free life. An inpatient withdrawal management program, otherwise known as inpatient detox, may be necessary for people who are moderate to severely addicted to fentanyl.

Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can become extreme. These states may push a person to relapse as they try to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Vertava Health offers a residential medical detox program providing 24-hour oversight and medical care, support that can be a critical component of reducing the risk of relapse and improving success at this time. Addiction never takes a day off, and neither do we. We’re here for you 24/7 and invite you to call 844.470.0410 to learn more.