Opiate Addiction

What are the effects of Fentanyl and Heroin Addiction?

It is generally thought that opiate withdrawal is “just unpleasant” but not really life-threatening. However death can, and does, sometimes occur. The complications of opiate withdrawal are often underestimated and, if not monitored adequately, can be fatal. At our HB detox location we coordinate care with our robust medical staff to ensure the client is medically suitable for a subacute setting such as ours. Sub-acute means we are one rung below a hospital, so that we are held to hospital standards but are able to do so in a more intimate and home-like setting.

The opioid withdrawal syndrome is often characterized as a flu-like illness, subjectively severe but objectively mild. Signs and symptoms include dysphoria, insomnia, pupillary dilation, piloerection, yawning, muscle aches, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, nausea, fever, sweating, vomiting and diarrhea.

How could someone die during opiate withdrawal? The answer lies in the final two clinical signs presented above, vomiting and diarrhea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea may result, if untreated, in dehydration, hypernatremia (elevated blood sodium level) and resultant heart failure. This is why you or a loved one should not try to “kick” alone at home. Fentanyl detox has been an extreme shock to the addiction treatment industry because of its intensity and duration. 

People can, and do, die from opiate withdrawal – and all such deaths are preventable, given appropriate medical management.

It is essential that medical, as well as clinical, management be coordinated in the treatment for opiate detox.

What are the symptoms of opiate addiction?

Fentanyl and heroin can have alarming effects on one’s body. Firstly, they’re known to slow down, and in extreme cases, stop breathing altogether. Fentanyl and heroin, in addition to the high, can cause drowsiness, sedation and unconsciousness, confusion, nausea and constipation.

Signs of a opiate addiction include:

  • Tolerance – needing higher doses of the drug in order to achieve a satisfactory high, which can quickly lead to overdose
  • Withdrawal symptoms like pain, intense cravings, trouble sleeping and nausea when fentanyl use is stopped
  • Exorbitant time is spent seeking out, using and recovering from fentanyl, as well as hyper-focused energy on nothing but the drug use
  • Inability to quit or reduce usage even though it has negative effects on all areas of life, including work, home and personal relationships
  • The development of risky behavior during usage, which can lead to overdose