Signs You May Be Nearing a Fentanyl Overdose

October 4, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

Addiction is often a lonely, scary, and overwhelming condition for many people. When struggling with addiction, it is typical for individuals to lose themselves to the substance controlling their lives. Moreover, many people are also unaware of the signs and effects of addiction, as addiction can have a snowball effect on their lives and the lives of people they’re closest to. Addiction can develop from nearly any type of substance use, including fentanyl. Unfortunately, it is common for individuals to not realize the severity of their addiction to fentanyl until experiencing or nearing a fentanyl overdose.

For this reason, it is essential to recognize warning signs that indicate an addiction to fentanyl and understand the severe impact fentanyl addiction can cause on an individual’s life. Those struggling with addiction must seek treatment to lead a self-directed life, free of the restraints of fentanyl and other types of substance use.

Fentanyl Facts

According to Anne Milgram, an administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered.” Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug, used as an anesthetic for pain relief. It is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. People can misuse the drug when it is prescribed, or it can be obtained and used illegally. 

There are a number of effects that fentanyl has on the body. In addition to perceived relaxation, pain relief, and euphoria, some other effects of fentanyl use include:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Urinary retention
  • Pupillary constriction
  • Respiratory depression

Similar effects can occur when using other opioids like morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, methadone, and heroin. When abusing a substance over time, however, the body becomes tolerant of certain dosages. As a result, those who use fentanyl repeatedly may begin to use the substance in higher doses, leading to addiction and potential overdose.

Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury-related death in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fentanyl-related overdoses have increased over recent years, and overdose-related deaths have also increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though overdose-related deaths have increased, they are preventable. Thus, understanding the signs of a potential fentanyl overdose is vital in helping to prevent overdose-related injury and death, as well as encouraging an individual to seek treatment.

Some warning signs of a fentanyl overdose include:

  • Numbness or stupor
  • Pupillary size changes
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Cyanosis
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure or depression

Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

In addition to recognizing the signs of a fentanyl overdose, learning the signs of addiction can help address an individual’s need for treatment sooner than later. Lifestyle changes, including behavioral, mental, and emotional changes, are some of the most common warning signs of addiction. Some key signs to look out for that may indicate the presence of addiction include: 

  • Spending more time among a new social group that often uses drugs or drinks alcohol
  • Feeling less motivated to attend social events, especially when drugs or alcohol are not involved
  • Substance use is interfering with school or work, and overall productivity
  • Asking for, borrowing, or stealing money for the purposes of buying alcohol or drugs
  • Experiencing legal or financial trouble due to using or drinking
  • Spending the majority of the day thinking, taking, or getting drugs or alcohol
  • Experiencing social issues with family, friends, or other loved ones
  • Losing interest in hobbies once found pleasurable
  • Developing depression or another co-occurring disorder as a result of drug use
  • Experiencing difficulty concentrating, rapid mood changes, or increased temper

There are also physical signs of addiction – such as weight loss, runny nose, constant cough, and glazed/red eyes – that should also be recognized.

It is important to take note of these signs and reflect on personal behavior, activities, thoughts, feelings, and daily routines. Seeking help and treatment for fentanyl addiction is the first step in fostering a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Receiving Substance Abuse Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction at Buena Vista Recovery

We at Buena Vista Recovery offer a multitude of services for clients working to overcome their addiction(s). At Buena Vista, we provide personalized plans by getting to know each client individually. While this is a trial-and-error process, our staff curates the best-suited treatment program based on an individual’s medical history, addiction history, mental health history, and current living situation. 

Clients are supervised, guided, and supported through their entire recovery process, from detoxification all the way until they transition back to their normal lives. Even after treatment, our facility stays in touch with clients for support. It is recommended for clients with addiction to participate in an intensive inpatient/residential treatment program; however, we offer outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient programs, and other therapy programs as well. 

Coping After Nearing a Fentanyl Overdose

For those who experienced or came close to a fentanyl overdose, receiving treatment and support is the first step in achieving lasting healing and recovery. It can be a scary, overwhelming, and eye-opening experience for many, and it is important to receive the best-suited care for an individual unique needs. Through therapy and treatment at Buena Vista Recovery, clients can learn what they need to support their healthy and stable mental, emotional, and physical well-being long-term. 

Here at Buena Vista Recovery, we provide all types of care and programs for clients working to overcome their addictions. Many struggling with addiction often near or face an overdose. For those addicted to fentanyl, a fentanyl overdose can be noticed by numbness, pupil-size changes, clammy skin, or respiratory depression. Nearing a fentanyl overdose can be an eye-opening experience that acts as a catalyst for someone seeking treatment. Buena Vista curates individualized treatment plans for each client using their backgrounds and living situations. From there, clients go through supervised detoxification to begin their recovery journey. To learn more about fentanyl addiction and treatment for addiction, please call us at (480) 741-9414.