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Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl addiction is a pressing and potentially life-threatening problem that arises from the misuse of a highly potent synthetic opioid. This drug, primarily used for managing severe or chronic pain, is incredibly powerful, surpassing morphine’s potency. Consequently, the risk of addiction and overdose is alarmingly high. It is important to identify the signs of fentanyl addiction as individuals become dependent on this substance. By detecting it early on, we can promptly intervene, provide necessary medical treatment, and offer supportive care, thereby reducing the chances of severe health complications or fatal overdoses. To effectively address fentanyl addiction, it is imperative to comprehend the intricate dynamics of its physical, behavioral, and psychological symptoms, ensuring successful management and recovery.

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What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid painkiller that is stronger than morphine. It was first synthesized in 1960 by Dr. Paul Janssen and is renowned for its effectiveness in treating severe to chronic pain, including breakthrough cancer pain. Fentanyl operates by attaching to the opioid receptors in the body, which govern pain and emotions, boosting dopamine levels and inducing a state of calm and bliss.

However, fentanyl can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin, leading to its classification as a Schedule II prescription drug under the Controlled Substances Act. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2022, the U.S. experienced a staggering increase in fentanyl overdose deaths, with the toll reaching 73,654. This figure more than doubled the number of fatalities recorded three years earlier in 2019, illustrating a dire escalation in the crisis. The staggering potency and accessibility of fentanyl have raised substantial public health concerns due to the high risk of addiction, abuse, and overdose.

Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl addiction is a sneaky predator that slowly takes over the lives of individuals, only showing its suffocating hold through concerning physical and behavioral signs. These symptoms signal the need for urgent intervention and serve as cries for help from those affected.

Physical Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl, like other opioids, causes a noticeable constriction of the pupils, leading to small, pinpoint pupils. This is one of the most immediate and visible signs of opioid intoxication, indicative of the drug’s potent impact on the nervous system.

Individuals addicted to fentanyl often experience excessive drowsiness and periods of sedation. This results from the drug’s depressive effect on the central nervous system, leading to increased sleepiness and reduced levels of consciousness.

The use of fentanyl can result in slurred speech, which is characterized by slow, imprecise, and incoherent articulation. This physical symptom highlights the drug’s immediate effects on cognitive and motor skills functioning.

A lack of motor coordination is common among fentanyl users. The individual may appear clumsy, unsteady, and incapable of performing tasks that require precision or balance, underscoring the drug’s adverse effects on the motor system.

One of the most dangerous effects of fentanyl is respiratory depression, where breathing becomes shallow, irregular, or even stops. It’s a life-threatening condition that underscores the drug’s potent and hazardous nature.

Fentanyl users frequently suffer from gastrointestinal issues, such as constant nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are caused by the drug’s activation of the chemoreceptor trigger zone in the brain.

The drug can cause an increase in itching, leading to constant scratching. This is attributed to the histamine release induced by fentanyl, leading to irritated and inflamed skin.

Fentanyl users often exhibit an overwhelming sense of fatigue. The energy drain is marked, and individuals may appear lethargic and uninterested in activities they once found engaging.

The skin, particularly on the face, may become warm and flushed due to the vasodilatory effects of fentanyl, leading to an increased blood flow to the skin’s surface.

Fentanyl induces hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. This can occur even in cool environments and clearly indicates the drug’s influence on the body’s autonomic nervous system.

Behavioral Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Individuals addicted to fentanyl often neglect their professional, educational, and domestic responsibilities. Their performance at work or school may decline significantly as acquiring and using the drug becomes their primary focus. Household chores, parenting duties, and other everyday responsibilities are often overlooked, leading to a chaotic and disorganized living environment.

Addicted individuals tend to isolate themselves from family, friends, and social gatherings. This withdrawal is often rooted in the shame and stigma associated with addiction, or it can be a practical measure to hide their drug use. Relationships become strained, and the individual’s social circle starts to narrow, often leading to loneliness and depression.

Individuals may become secretive about their whereabouts and activities to conceal their addiction. Lying becomes commonplace as they try to cover up their drug use, leading to a breakdown in trust with those around them.

The influence of fentanyl on the brain’s chemistry can lead to severe mood swings. Individuals may oscillate between periods of euphoria while under the drug’s influence and episodes of depression or irritability during withdrawal.

As addiction takes hold, individuals may start engaging in risky behaviors to obtain the drug, including theft, engaging in illegal activities, or putting themselves in dangerous situations. The overpowering need for the drug often overshadows personal safety considerations and the law.

Maintaining a fentanyl addiction can be expensive. Affected individuals may face financial difficulties, borrow money, or even steal to fund their addiction, leading to financial instability and conflicts with family or friends.

There is often a noticeable decline in personal hygiene and grooming. Addicted individuals may neglect their physical appearance as the focus on the drug becomes all-encompassing.

When confronted about their drug use or associated behaviors, individuals suffering from fentanyl addiction often become defensive. They may deny the problem, minimize the severity of their addiction, or become aggressive.

Recognizing these physical and behavioral signs early can be crucial in identifying a developing fentanyl addiction. Each sign is not just a symptom but an urgent message highlighting the body’s distress under the powerful and often devastating effects of this potent opioid. Early recognition and intervention can pave the way to treatment, support, and the prospect of recovery for those entwined in the clutches of addiction.

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction at Renewal Lodge

Fentanyl Addiction

At Renewal Lodge, we’re dedicated to providing a comprehensive, personalized approach to overcoming fentanyl addiction. Our expert team employs a blend of evidence-based treatments and holistic therapies, ensuring each client’s journey to sobriety is rooted in dignity, respect, and holistic wellness. While challenging, The road to recovery is not a journey that must be undertaken alone.

At Renewal Lodge, hope is rekindled, lives are transformed, and enduring recovery is more than a possibility—it’s a tangible reality. Whether you’re struggling with addiction or seeking help for a loved one, we invite you to reach out and take the first step toward healing and renewal. Your path to a reimagined, fulfilling life, free from the shackles of addiction, begins with a single, courageous step. Contact Renewal Lodge today, and together, let’s embark on a journey to reclaim health and wellness and the essence of life itself.

Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness