October 25th, 2023
Fentanyl is a highly addictive and potent opioid drug, primarily administered in nhs hospitals to help patients remain calm after surgery. While hugely beneficial for doctors, Fentanyl is extremely addictive and can be damaging if used recreationally, promoting risky behaviour in those who abuse it. The UK holds the highest reported rate of high risk opioid users within the EU, with 8.2 users per 1,000 aged 15-64 accounting for this number. This demonstrates the danger of Fentanyl use and the need for increased awareness.
Read on for a closer look at what Fentanyl is, how Fentanyl addiction develops and how to spot the signs and dangers in yourself or a loved one.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid that, unlike other opioids that are made from the opium plant, is made in a lab using the same chemical structure. Fentanyl is a controlled Class A drug and is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. It has the same effects as morphine, although it is fifty to one hundred times more potent. Fentanyl binds to your brain’s opioid receptors that control pain and emotion. It induces feelings of extreme happiness and relaxation.
Fentanyl brand names
- Actiq® – these are oral transmucosal lozenges, popularly referred to as Fentanyl “lollipops”
- Fentora™ – these are effervescent buccal tablets
- Abstral® and Subsys™ – these are both sublingual tablets
- Lazanda – this is a nasal spray
- Duragesic® – these are transdermal patches and injectable formulations
Understanding Fentanyl addiction
Unfortunately, most of those taking Fentanyl for legitimate medical conditions are not aware of how powerful this substance is. Fentanyl addiction develops due to your body quickly building a tolerance to the drug. The dose of Fentanyl you take will become less effective, not giving you the same pleasurable feelings as it initially did. You may be tempted to increase your dosage without consulting a doctor. While the higher dose may indeed provide the desired relief, before too long, the higher dose will also become less effective, which leads you into a vicious cycle. Fentanyl addiction develops when, despite being aware of the negative consequences, you continue to seek Fentanyl and have a compulsion to consume it. Fentanyl addiction will affect you psychologically, as it takes control of your thoughts and requires medical support to overcome. Like other opioid drugs, Fentanyl is designed for short-term use only unless part of a pain management programme for patients with conditions such as cancer.
You should consume Fentanyl as prescribed. If you take more medication or consume someone else’s medication, it is classified as Fentanyl abuse.
The health risks of Fentanyl addiction
While Fentanyl addiction can be cured, it can have serious consequences if left untreated.
Respiratory depression, defined by your breathing becoming shallow or stopping altogether, can occur, resulting in decreased oxygen flow to the brain, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness, which may have severe consequences if left unchecked. Fentanyl addiction can also be the cause of depression. Many people consume Fentanyl to numb mental and emotional pain when depression takes hold. Severe depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, making Fentanyl addiction extremely dangerous. It can also cause severe brain damage because it negatively affects cognitive function, making it difficult to notice the devastating consequences of continued Fentanyl abuse.
Permanent heart damage and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and stroke are also possible results of long-term Fentanyl addiction. Furthermore, it decreases blood flow to your kidneys, which may cause permanent damage. Your liver is a detoxifying organ, and as such, can suffer damage in the form of scarring, limiting its ability to metabolise toxins.
Are you addicted to Fentanyl?
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following signs, we advise you to seek your nearest medical professional’s opinion immediately.
Physical signs of Fentanyl addiction
- Slurred speech
- Unsteady gait
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
- Pinpoint pupils
- Itchy skin
Behavioural signs of Fentanyl addiction
- rationalising addictive behaviour
- losing interest in people and activities
- being unable to deal with stress
- diversion tactics
- being argumentative
Can you overcome Fentanyl addiction?
Yes, you can with the help of medical professionals. Luckily there are loads of options for treatment in the UK. You can find a facility near you with well-trained professional medical staff on hand. Overcoming Fentanyl addiction is a step-by-step process that starts by contacting a medical professional and getting the help you need to regain your strength and health.
Help and support for Fentanyl addiction
If any of the information in this page resonates with you, a medically supervised recovery is the best course of action. Attempting to recover without professional help places your physical and psychological health at risk due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. You are not alone in this situation. Plenty of people are dealing with Fentanyl addiction and are receiving medical treatment.
Recognising that Fentanyl use is taking control of your life is the first step to regaining your health. However, deciding to quit Fentanyl is only the first step to recovery. Click below to learn more about Fentanyl rehab and our Fentanyl detox process and how it can help you begin a life free from the clutches of addiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get treatment for fentanyl addiction on the NHS?
Yes, you can receive treatment for fentanyl addiction on the NHS. While NHS services are available, individuals may find private rehab
a more suitable option for immediate access to specialised care and tailored treatment plans.
Is Fentanyl medication safe?
Fentanyl is safe when used for a short period in small doses. However, using any drug presents risks, and Fentanyl is no exception. There are severe health risks to abusing Fentanyl, so it’s important to take Fentanyl as the doctor instructed.
How can I manage Fentanyl addiction?
As with all substance addictions, Fentanyl addiction can be all-consuming. Your addiction to Fentanyl will have you acting in ways out of your control, so we advise that you seek professional medical treatment when dealing with Fentanyl addiction to secure your safety and comfort.
Where can I get help for Fentanyl addiction?
You can seek support for Fentanyl addiction at rehab centres, addiction support groups and by talking to friends and family. Overcoming a Fentanyl addiction alone is extremely difficult and requires support from those that have been in your shoes. We have experience treating Fentanyl addiction and can help support you through your recovery journey.