Fentanyl was an essential medical development for pain relief in severe clinical cases.
It has become widely available and also overprescribed. Its continuous popularity has unfortunately led to a Fentanyl addiction crisis affecting 2 million people in the US.
Thankfully, this public opioid health crisis has become a common topic of conversation; there is an increasing public understanding regarding the opioid epidemic.
It started off as a solution for pain relief, but can easily accelerate into a physical tolerance and dependence. The symptoms of tolerance and addiction can go unnoticed for an extended period.
It can be difficult to diagnose whether you are experiencing the tolerance issues yourself, watching a friend struggle or seeing a loved one. Fentanyl addiction can silently creep in, causing significant destruction in its path.
If you are wondering if fentanyl addiction has occurred, if it feels out of control, please consult a doctor. Below are seven warning signs that your prescription painkiller might have caused an opioid addiction.
Obsessive Thoughts about Obtaining and Fentanyl addiction Using Drugs
Do you find yourself thinking about the drug when you're doing other tasks?
Obsessive thinking about your next dose or figuring out how to get more drugs is a sign that drug usage has moved beyond the original pain relief purposes.
You often take narcotics or use more than you planned, even though you told yourself you wouldn’t. Maybe you know you are abusing the drug, but you feel powerless.
You prioritize your need to use and obtain the drug over obligations and risks.
You continue to take more of the medication than prescribed, despite the negative consequences. It’s causing significant problems in your life—blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression, paranoia—but you use anyway.
Longer than Recommended Drug Use
Doctors give every pain relief prescription with a schedule for how long dosage will last. With powerful drugs like Fentanyl, doctors will decrease dosage over time.
Not only you are using medications such as Fentanyl, but you are also using them for a much more extended period than necessarily expected.
Another common sign of opioid addiction is to find reasons to support the prolonged usage. Pre-existing painful conditions or overly exaggerated ailments could surface as an explanation for the need of additional Fentanyl or other opioids.
Asking a doctor to extend a prescription beyond their initial recommendations is a sign to watch for.
Increased Tolerance, Increased Dosage
When you first start taking opioid drugs to manage pain, you tend to need a minimal amount of medication each day. Over time, however, you start noticing that the small dosage no longer work as it once did and you are not obtaining the previous level of pain relief. As time goes by, you require greater and greater doses in order to manage the pain adequately. That is a clear sign your body has become tolerant to the drug.
Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that this trajectory does not mean addiction. You can become tolerant to opioids whether or not you have ever become addicted. Opioid tolerance is a physiological response to the body’s interaction with the drug. It can occur as when the medication is taken on a regular basis, for an extended period of time. You can also take the opioid drugs exactly as prescribed, and still become tolerant.
Trying to Obtain Additional Prescriptions
It's not uncommon to get a second opinion from another doctor when diagnosing a problem.
It's a very different to be "doctor shopping" due to a conflict over a prescription issue. If your doctor is refusing to recommend an extension of your prescription and you seek a second doctor who will, your decision may be clouded by an opioid or fentanyl addiction.
While shopping online for most items is a great way to get a deal, it's not recommended for prescribed medications.
Your healthcare provider knows your medical history and possible drug side effects and interactions. More importantly, they can discuss with you the risks of accidental overdose, which can occur with long-term use of high doses of opioids. For these reasons, reputable healthcare doctors will set an upper limit to the length and amount of prescribed opioids based on your specific condition.
If your doctor refuses to prescribe more painkillers and you find yourself taking extreme measures, such as taking other people's prescriptions, seek professional help. Don't allow the drug use to put you in jeopardy. In 2014 there were more than 47,000 fatal drug overdoses in the US, and roughly two-thirds of those deaths were due to opioid drugs.
Relationship Conflict Due To Drug Usage
Fentanyl addiction can have effects on people around you. Due to the physical and emotional effects of addiction, partners and family can become the target of stress. If a partner has confronted you, be open to how the drug use also affects them.
Intervening friends might cause you to be defensive. Furthermore, you may find yourself canceling plans or only choosing activities that don't interfere with your dependence. Allowing drug addiction to interfere with your relationships, can have long-term negative results.
Try to maintain a healthy relationship with loved ones. You will need a support network to overcome drug dependence.
Signs of Decreased Physical and Emotional Health
Pain relief medication is supposed to give you a better quality of life. A sign of opioid or Fentanyl addiction will be a decrease in physical or emotional health. Disrupted sleep or extremely long sleep cycles can also be sign of dependency. Opioid drugs can cause adverse events in several organ systems. Chronic opioid use has been shown to be associated with constipation, pulmonary disorders, bone fractures, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysregulation, depression, anxiety and overdose.
If you see any of the above changes after opioid use, call a medical professional. Opioid abuse places you at an increased risk of premature death and other grave health consequences.
Sudden Withdrawal Symptoms
Opiate drugs, including Fentanyl, can produce withdrawal symptoms just hours after the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms can last for a week or more and cause physical and emotional distress.
If a day without medication leads to vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or tremors, you may be developing a dependency issue. Typically, the first 72 hours following the last dosage are the most physically taxing. Should you decide that you've got a Fentanyl addiction issue, you shouldn't attempt to recover alone.
Seek the help of medical professionals or a detox facility to end the issue safely. Detox diligence can make the difference between a successful, healthy detox and a difficult one that will result in relapse.
Seeking Help for Fentanyl Addiction
Be sure to find a detox center that offers comprehensive care before and during detoxification. Rapid detox may help you get through the withdrawal phase. It reduces the challenging discomfort while preventing physical drug cravings. A medical detoxification can provide you with the best chance for a successful recovery. Also, detox followed by individual counseling can help you maintain sobriety.
If you've decided that you've seen these seven signs, it's time to take action. If what you've been doing is not working, call one of our detox experts. Find out what options are available for you. Start your recovery now!