Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids available in the market. Fentanyl is used for the break-through pain. It means that the patient is taking another opioid painkiller but the temporary intervals of severe pain are treated with Fentanyl. The medical use is also not safe for the long durations. Besides the general population, every sector of the population from the anesthesiologists to the physicians are also been reported of abusing the drug. In addition to the pain relieving properties of Fentanyl, it elicits a very powerful feeling of euphoria. Those who want to get a recreational high, often take Fentanyl. No matter the misuse is of medical prescriptions or for the recreational purposes, the risks and side effects remain the same. It is a very dangerous drug even in smaller doses than that of heroin. An overdose of the drug can lead to a sudden death.

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl is a very strong painkiller. It can easily cure the pain which has become resistant to morphine. The drug efficiently relieves the pain of severe cases of postoperative patients and the terminal cancers. But the euphoric effects have led many people to abuse the drug. A person who is abusing the drug can demonstrate the following signs and symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Dizziness
  • Depressed breathing

Pshcycocsocial symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Dysphasia
  • Euphoria

Cognitive signs and symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Disorientation
  • Intense craving

Behavioral Symptoms

  • The addict develops an erratic and the inappropriate behavior.
  • He doesn’t participate in any activities in which he used to take massive interest previously.
  • He can’t control or reduce the frequency of substance abuse.
  • The person experiences social isolation.
  • The person tries other drug combinations to achieve a greater High.
  • The lack of availability of drug can turn him uncontrollable and very aggressive.
  • The person develops a secretive behavior.
  • Development of other substance abuse disorders.
  • PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder)
  • Development of a major depressive illness.

Side Effects of Fentanyl Abuse:

The drug has a wide range of side effects. There had been many reported deaths due to an overdose of the drug. It is a very potent drug so the damages caused by the abuse of drug are very strong and uncomfortable.

Physical side effects

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Tachycardia
  • Breathing problems
  • Mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Dependency
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Besides just the physical and psychological symptoms, the addiction can affect every sphere of an individual’s life.

  • Loss of job
  • Damage to the internal organs
  • Social isolation
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Poor relationships
  • Loss of the child custody
  • Family problems
  • Overdose
  • Polysubstance abuse

Health Effects of Fentanyl: Short Term and Long Term

A Fentanyl High is similar to heroin, producing the following short-term effects

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced pain feelings.

The long-term effects of Fentanyl abuse include:

  • Fentanyl increases the risk of the hypoxic brain leading to the permanent brain damage.
  • It significantly increases the risk of overdose, which can lead to the sudden death.
  • It harms the personal life and the relationships.
  • It can worsen the preexisting mental disorders and depression.
  • The person can physically harm himself due to the poor judgment and impaired motor functions
  • He can’t fulfill the job responsibilities and thus becomes jobless.
  • Homelessness
  • The addict develops an overwhelming sense of loss of self-esteem and hopelessness.
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Fentanyl Overdose:

The biggest risk factor associated with Fentanyl is that it can be mistakenly consumed thinking it to be the heroin or the similar opioids. The fact is death results if the similar amounts like that of heroin are taken. The symptoms associated with the Fentanyl overdose include

  • Dizziness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mental Confusion
  • Depressed respiratory rates
  • Hypotension
  • Cyanosis
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Fentanyl acts on the respiratory center and depresses the breathing rate. The heart rate also gets slower due to the Fentanyl overdose. This impairs the oxygen supply to the vital organs especially the brain. Even if the patient has survived the overdose, chances of the permanent brain damage remain very high. The respiratory depression establishes the state of hypoxia or lack of availability of oxygen supply. The brain is unable to tolerate hypoxia for even few minutes and it can lead towards the permanent brain damage as a result of the Fentanyl overdose. There had been many reported cases of sudden deaths due to the overdose. A person can develop the overdose without developing the addiction as the drug is very potent, even the smaller quantities can produce significant effects on the brain and body.

Treatment of Fentanyl Overdose:

Fentanyl Overdose is a life-threatening condition if not promptly treated on time. It can also lead to the permanent brain damage. Naloxone is an antidote which is given for the opioid drugs. The most important step in case of a Fentanyl overdose is the breathing support. An immediate securing of the airway is done; the endotracheal tube is also passed depending upon the requirement of the patient’s condition. The other important measures include fluid and electrolyte balance, monitoring of the patient’s signs and symptoms, and other medications are given to treat the overdose. The treatment of overdose doesn’t end here. The patient should be proper psychotherapies and counseling of the patient regarding the drug abuse and its harmful effects. Addicted patients should be admitted to the rehabilitation centers for the proper treatment of the addiction.