What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a medication prescribed by healthcare professionals to treat severe pain. Often it is prescribed to individuals with chronic pain and after intensive surgeries. As a result of its high potency, it is an extremely addictive and harmful drug.
Signs of a Fentanyl Addiction
Symptoms of a fentanyl addiction can vary, depending on several factors such as the duration of drug use, intensity of use, physical health, and if any additional co-occurring disorders (mental health disorders) exist. The symptoms of fentanyl addiction can include a combination of the list shown below.
Physical Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction
- Changes in mood
- Slowed breathing
- Experiencing a higher tolerance to the drug (needing more for the same effect as when they first started using)
- Withdrawal symptoms (fentanyl withdrawal can include bone and muscle pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, sweating, involuntary leg movements, plus much more)
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Behavioral Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction
- Isolating from friends and family
- No longer participating in hobbies
- Obsessing over the drug
- Missing work
- Avoiding daily responsibilities
- Financial difficulties due to drug use
What are the Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose
In addition to the above signs and symptoms that could indicate an addiction, a fentanyl overdose could also be a sign the individual is addicted to the prescription drug. An overdose is serious and can result in death. Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose from fentanyl use disorder (fentanyl addiction) can include slowed breathing or breathing that has stopped altogether, severe drowsiness, inability to wake up, cold skin, clammy skin, and blue skin or lips. If you notice these symptoms with someone after taking fentanyl, immediately seek medical help.
Can You Become Addicted to Prescription Drugs?
Yes, many people do become addicted to prescription drugs, including fentanyl. This is because many prescription drugs, while they can be helpful for treating severe pain, are very powerful. If you are prescribed pain medication by your doctor, it’s important to speak with them about how frequently you should be taking the medication, how long you are expected to take the medication (such as a few days to weeks), and what the risk factors are with taking the medication. If you or someone you love tends to abuse fentanyl and/or shows signs of fentanyl addiction, help is available at an addiction treatment facility. Evidence-based therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other therapies are known for being effective at treating addiction.
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