Fentanyl is one of the strongest opiates (narcotic pain reliever) available. Its effects are not long-lasting, and it is often used in hospitals for patients recovering from surgery. This medication may also be prescribed for “breakthrough pain” for patients who are already taking an opiate pain medication but who experience temporary pain that breaks through the level of relief they are experiencing with their “regular” pain medication. Since it is such an effective pain reliever, prescription abuse is a possibility when fentanyl is prescribed and can develop into signs of fentanyl addiction.
Fentanyl can be prescribed as a patch that is worn on the skin to provide strong pain relief over time. It is also available in a lollipop, as a pill that can be lodged inside the cheek and as a piece of film that can be dissolved under the tongue. While it is given by injection in a hospital setting, this would be a very dangerous way to abuse the drug, since it would be difficult for a lay person to judge what a safe dose would be.
Prescription Abuse And Addiction
How does prescription abuse lead to addiction? If a person who is taking a pain medication finds that they are not getting the same level of relief they were experiencing when they first started taking the medication and start taking more of it than what the doctor prescribed, requests a higher dose from the doctor to get the same effects, or are taking the drug more often than directed, they have opened the door to a serious problem. Stealing and using prescription medication that was prescribed for someone else also falls into the category of prescription abuse that can lead to addiction as well.
Fentanyl Addiction Signs
This medication creates a tolerance in users of higher doses relatively quickly, which means that a person who is abusing it will find that they need to take more of it to achieve the same high. They may even find that they need to increase the dosage even within a few days.
The behavioral, physical and psychological signs of fentanyl addiction are, but not limited to:
- Doctor shopping
- Prescription fraud
- Problems at home, school and work
- Loss of appetite
- Severe constipation
- Weight loss
- Mood changes (more elevated or down mood than usual)
- Trouble concentrating
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