Fentanyl can be a helpful tool for pain when used as directed, but abusing it can be dangerous. Overusing fentanyl can lead to short-term and long-term physical and mental health problems or death. The dangers of fentanyl are particularly high because it’s stronger than other opioids and can be fatal when combined with other drugs, making abuse and overdose more likely.
Thankfully, treatment is available through your medical provider network. Although recovery will be difficult, by scheduling for medical treatment, doctors can provide you with comprehensive and professional care.
Addiction to Fentanyl
An opioid drug, fentanyl is a synthetic drug that’s based on the natural morphine compound. Other opioids include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone, as well as illicit narcotics like heroin. Sometimes illegal street versions of fentanyl are mixed with heroin or cocaine, making them even more potent. Prescription opioids are most often used to manage pain. Because fentanyl is around 100 times stronger than morphine, it is prescribed for patients with severe pain and those who have become tolerant to other pain medications.
Fentanyl is often abused because it creates a sense of euphoria and relaxation. While the effect is similar to other opioids, it can be more intense because of its potency. Fentanyl is stronger than heroin, and this extreme potency makes it highly addictive. Misusing the drug can lead to addiction, but legal use can also cause a problem.
Fentanyl addiction is characterized by the misuse or overuse of the opioid and inability to control how often and how much one uses. As your addiction becomes stronger, you build a tolerance for the drug, leaving you with a need to take higher doses to get the same effect. When you’re addicted, you continue to use the drug despite the health issues it causes, and misuse leads to withdrawal symptoms and cravings that make it near impossible to stop taking it.
Mental and Physical Health Complications
Fentanyl addiction has mental health risks. Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders often occur from the misuse or addiction to fentanyl. While symptoms of an underlying mental illness may be exacerbated by the use of the drug, fentanyl abuse can also create a risk of developing a mental health condition in someone who was otherwise healthy.
Heavy, repeated use of fentanyl can lead to a multitude of physical health problems as well. For example, it can cause damage to the heart and lungs because opioids slow respiration. The likelihood of damage increases with higher doses, and the risk increases when the drug is used with other depressants such as sleep aids, alcohol, or other opioids. Slowed respiration can also cause sleep apnea, where the user ceases to breathe while asleep.
Abusing fentanyl can also lead to infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and C or even HIV due to sharing needles. Intravenous use can also lead to serious bacterial infections and collapsed veins, and cause organ damage beyond the lungs and heart, including liver and kidney damage.
Fentanyl addiction is dangerous. This opioid drug is highly addictive and risky even when used as prescribed under a doctor’s care. Because of its potency, the risk of addiction is higher when compared to other opioids creating a greater risk of overdose and potentially death.
An addiction to fentanyl will also cause emotional and physical health issues, which may become permanent. In addition, addicts are likely to go into isolation or have legal trouble, which can lead to severe consequences. Getting treated through your medical provider network is the best way to seek help if you’re suffering from addiction.