What Are the Side Effects of Fentanyl?

a person holds their head in bed dealing with fentanyl side effects

In an era where the opioid crisis has escalated to alarming levels, understanding fentanyl’s extreme potency and the significant risk it poses to users is crucial. If you or a loved one are grappling with the challenges posed by this potent drug, know that you are not alone in this journey. Fentanyl addiction treatment at QuickSilver Counseling Center focuses on comprehensive care and education. We know that helping our clients understand common fentanyl side effects is key to promoting long-term recovery and preventing relapse. Call 888.477.8941 to get started in our New Jersey center today.

The Side Effects of Fentanyl

Fentanyl, originally developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, is estimated to be 100 times more potent than morphine. Its potency makes it effective for pain relief but also highly dangerous. The primary danger of fentanyl lies in its high risk of addiction and overdose.

One of the most dangerous forms is unregulated and illicit. Illicit fentanyl is widely distributed and is even more potent than what is dispensed from legitimate pharmacies to people with prescriptions. Due to its potent nature, even a small dose can be lethal. This risk is compounded when illicit fentanyl is mixed with other drugs—like cocaine, heroin, or Xanax—often without the user’s knowledge, leading to unintentional overdoses.

Understanding Fentanyl Side Effects

Understanding the side effects of fentanyl is crucial for anyone who may come into contact with this powerful opioid. Due to its high potency, the side effects can be particularly severe and multifaceted, affecting physical, psychological, and social aspects of an individual’s life.

Physical Side Effects

The physical fentanyl side effects can be severe. Common ones include nausea and vomiting, which are frequent issues with many opioids, impacting the quality of life and nutrition. Constipation can lead to significant discomfort and, in some cases, more severe gastrointestinal issues. Respiratory depression is the most dangerous side effect, potentially life-threatening, leading to inadequate ventilation and oxygenation. Sedation can range from mild drowsiness to profound sedation, affecting daily activities and mental alertness. Itching and sweating are often uncomfortable and distressing.

Psychological Side Effects

Fentanyl’s impact on mental health is equally concerning. Addiction is a significant risk due to its high potency, leading to a cycle of dependency and abuse. Individuals misusing fentanyl may experience mood changes, including swings, depression, or anxiety. Cognitive impairment from long-term use can lead to memory issues and decreased cognitive function.

Socioeconomic and Emotional Toll

Beyond physical and psychological impacts, fentanyl abuse can devastate families and communities. The loss and grief from overdose deaths, the strain on healthcare resources, and the broader societal costs are immense. Families often grapple with the emotional and financial burden of addiction and, in some cases, legal issues.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction

Recognizing fentanyl addiction symptoms is key to identifying and addressing potential issues. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Extreme happiness or sense of euphoria
  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion and altered mental status
  • Stiff or rigid muscles
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Lowered blood pressure

It’s important to note that these symptoms can escalate quickly, particularly in the case of an overdose.

Opioid Overdose Symptoms

Overdose is the primary concern for people who misuse fentanyl or who may come in contact with the drug. The number of unintentional overdoses involving fentanyl continues to spike. The signs of opioid overdose include:

  • Respiratory depression or shallow breathing
  • Unconsciousness or inability to respond
  • Bluish discoloration of the lips and/or fingernails
  • Slow, erratic, or stopped pulse

If you suspect someone may be experiencing an overdose, call emergency services immediately. Quick action can save lives. Administering naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, when an opioid overdose happens is vital. However, emergency medical attention is still needed as additional doses may be given.

How and When to Watch Out for Fentanyl Symptoms

Awareness and vigilance are critical when monitoring for symptoms of fentanyl use, especially if you suspect that someone close to you is at risk. The onset of symptoms can vary, often appearing within minutes to an hour after fentanyl use, depending on the method of ingestion. It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention if any symptoms of overdose, such as difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, or severe confusion, are observed. Remember, a fentanyl overdose is a medical emergency that requires prompt action.

Call Quicksilver Counseling Center for Fentanyl Treatment

At QuickSilver Counseling Center, we understand the complexities of opioid addiction and offer a compassionate and comprehensive treatment program tailored to meet individual needs. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing the highest level of care, from counseling to personalized care and long-term recovery support.

Our program focuses on a holistic approach, addressing not just the physical aspects of addiction but also the emotional and psychological factors that contribute to it. We offer a range of therapies, including individual and group counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and medication-assisted treatment, to help our clients achieve lasting recovery.

To get started, contact us online or by calling 888.477.8941.