A man dealing with fentanyl effects on the brain holds his head with his hand.

How Fentanyl Affects the Brain

Over the past decade, opioids — like fentanyl — have ravaged communities around the country. From the regular street drug trade to an overwhelming number of prescriptions written by doctors, these substances have skyrocketed in popularity among people struggling with addiction and led to record numbers of diagnosed opioid use disorders, overdoses and deaths.

While these facts can seem intense, if you’re living with an addiction to fentanyl, it’s imperative you understand the dangers associated with the substance and the necessity to address your addiction in a safe and clinically supportive environment. Your life literally depends on it.

What Fentanyl Does to the Brain

Fentanyl acts as a depressant on your central nervous system and attaches to opioid receptors in the brain when first ingested. This is why you experience a feeling of euphoria when the high initially sets in. Your brain contains naturally producing opioid receptors, which create opioid chemicals in response to any pain you may experience. However, these naturally occurring opiates typically don’t last very long and aren’t potent enough to help with chronic pain issues. That’s why many prescription painkillers contain synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, to alleviate excessive pain.

Unfortunately, the more your brain encounters a substance like fentanyl, the less likely it is to produce natural opioids — making it increasingly difficult for you to live life without the drug and creating a dangerous necessity for you to continually ingest it.

Fentanyl’s Effects on the Brain

As the effects of your fentanyl use become increasingly more consistent, you may begin ingesting larger quantities to achieve the same high and avoid symptoms of withdrawal. Common symptoms of withdrawal can include muscle aches, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramping.

However, the various ways fentanyl use impacts your brain are much more concerning and increasingly more devastating the longer you struggle with the addiction. Fentanyl’s effects on the brain (and your life) can include:

  • Serious Cognitive Issues: Long-term fentanyl addiction can lead to serious cognitive decline. People who consistently abuse the substance spend a significant amount of time in a lethargic and forgetful state after using. This can result in a loss of basic personal care, like forgetting to eat, neglecting to bathe consistently and — in some cases — ignoring important financial matters. People who consistently abuse fentanyl may also use alcohol or other drugs when simultaneously ingesting the opioid. This act can dramatically increase the risk of dangerous side effects and a potentially fatal overdose.
  • Severe Structural Damage: Fentanyl addiction can actually change the physical structure of your brain, throwing your neurological and hormonal systems completely out of balance. From depression to chronic fatigue and even loss of muscle mass, the way in which fentanyl use impacts your overall cognitive functioning is shocking. These neurological imbalances can cause genetic disorders, strokes, infections, seizures, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. It’s important to know that some hormonal and neurological imbalances can be repaired through sobriety.
  • Deterioration of Brain Matter: Studies have found that chronic fentanyl use can lead to extensive erosion of the white matter in your brain. This deterioration of white matter can affect decision-making abilities, the capability to regulate behavior appropriately, and natural responses to stressful situations. There’s also evidence that fentanyl addiction leads to reduced gray matter in some sections of your brain, such as the frontal lobe. Gray matter in the frontal lobe is associated with things like problem solving, memory and motor function.
  • Potential Death: A common cause of immediate brain damage from fentanyl use happens when your breathing slows to a dangerously low rate after use. Fentanyl addiction can stop your brain from taking in enough oxygen, causing brain cells to die and, if enough die, you’ll do the same. The fact is most individuals who lose their life to fentanyl overdoses die because they simply stop breathing. While some people are able to fully recover because they didn’t go without oxygen long enough for their brain cells to die, that lack of oxygen may severely change how their brain works. This could result in a need for life support or daily assistance from caregivers for the rest of your life.

Fentanyl Addiction Can Stop. You Can Get Clean.

We understand that we outlined some incredibly terrible consequences of fentanyl addiction, but here’s the reality of your situation: You can achieve sobriety and attain long-term health and happiness once again.

The road to recovery starts with professional assistance to properly diagnose your substance use disorder and provide you a clinically safe environment to fully detox. Addiction can be a terrifying disorder to face, but you don’t have to conquer your disease alone.

If you’ve found the courage to admit you have a problem with fentanyl use, take the next step and contact a treatment facility to help you begin your recovery journey today.

Holistic Opioid Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Wherever you may be in your addiction process, the time to begin your road to recovery is now. Don’t allow yourself to become just another statistic when your life is worth so much more. Take the brave step to face your disease and begin the process of defeating your addiction once and for all.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we understand exactly where you are and what you’re going through. You’re arguably living the hardest, most distressing days of your life. But there’s hope and life-changing support.

Through our holistic opioid addiction treatment program, we go beyond the normal 12 steps and focus on tailoring treatment to address each patient’s unique needs. It’s about individualized treatment at Ranch Creek, and you can discover a new beginning here and help your entire family start anew.

Learn more about our all-encompassing, holistic opioid detox and addiction treatment program, or contact us today to get your questions answered.

CALL NOW: 1-877-293-8607

A person buries their face in their hands while crying

What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal Like?

Deciding to face your addiction head-on and committing to a recovery program is the first step toward achieving sustained health and wellness.

The damage a fentanyl addiction can inflict on your body and mind is devastating on a number of levels. It can cause significant harm to your heart, lungs and brain, and that’s not even counting the multitude of ways it destroys your emotional functioning and social connectivity.

If you can get to the point where you’re acknowledging a problem exists, then you’ve overcome one of the hardest parts in the recovery process.

Why? Admitting that a problem exists is an essential component to both addressing your addiction and safely detoxing off the substance in a safe and stable environment.

What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal Like?

If you’re physically addicted to fentanyl, you’ll experience a number of withdrawal symptoms when you stop using for an extended period of time.

Once you’ve developed a physical dependence, your body has grown so accustomed to repeatedly ingesting fentanyl that it begins to require the drug just to feel normal.

Fentanyl withdrawal itself is often compared to a serious case of the flu. Symptoms tend to hit their peak 48 to 72 hours after your last use and, in most cases, can last five to 10 days.

When beginning your recovery journey, it’s important to remember that the first week of withdrawal will be the worst.

The duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms will vary based on the:

  • Amount of fentanyl you typically ingest
  • Length of time you were addicted to the substance

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of the more common symptoms associated with fentanyl withdrawal can include:

  1. Nausea and Vomiting

While supremely unpleasant and completely distressing, vomiting and nausea are very normal aspects that your body will go through during fentanyl withdrawal.

This type of physical pain and apprehension can make you feel extremely uncomfortable during the early hours of the recovery process, but it’s essential to rid your body of toxins and allow yourself to regain a level of homeostasis that’s conducive to long-term sobriety.

  1. Fever

A fever is one way your body works to fight off illnesses and infections, but when you’re dealing with fentanyl withdrawal, your fever isn’t actively fighting off an infection. For this reason, taking steps to control it is perfectly appropriate. At this point, your body is simply trying to reset itself and adjust to life without an extremely strong narcotic in its system.

  1. Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea

Experiencing stomach cramps and diarrhea is common as your body adjusts during withdrawal. The symptoms can be accompanied by significant stomach pain that’s caused by spasms in the digestive system.

When you’re addicted to fentanyl, it’s common to develop chronic constipation. As your body attempts to regain balance, stomach cramps and diarrhea are common symptoms.

  1. Depression and Mood Instability

Experiencing depression, anxiety and other mood disorders is a normal part of fentanyl withdrawal. These types of mood changes are common for individuals who use fentanyl to avoid their feelings related to past traumas. That’s why it’s essential to have emotional support when you’re going through fentanyl withdrawal and throughout the entire recovery process.

  1. Excessive Sweating

As you go through fentanyl withdrawal, excessive sweating is extremely common. As with other physical withdrawal symptoms, this response is part of your body bringing itself back into balance as it detoxifies and moves toward a state of health and wellness.

What to Expect from Fentanyl Withdrawal During the Detox Process

While it’s possible to detox at home, the dangers of experiencing medical complications and relapse are very serious and very real.

That’s why finding a clinically qualified rehabilitation facility to guide you through the detox process helps ensure you remain safe throughout the course of withdrawal and protected from the dangers of relapse and potential overdose.

The realities of living with a fentanyl addiction mean your body has become so accustomed to ingesting high levels of an extremely dangerous narcotic that it needs to be weaned slowly in a medically appropriate manner.

When detoxing under the supervision of trained clinical addiction professionals, you’re much more likely to avoid medical complications; overcome your addiction; and begin to lead a sober, healthy life.

Find Life-Changing, Holistic Fentanyl Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

You were meant for so much more than where your fentanyl addiction has landed you. Your addiction can stop forever, and you can regain a sober, fulfilling life. It starts at Ranch Creek Recovery, where one of the most experienced and acclaimed addiction treatment teams in the country helps individuals quit all types of drugs.

We address addiction recovery and relapse prevention through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment program.

Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help you feel confident and ready to enter your new, sober life.

Learn more about our life-changing, holistic opioid addiction treatment program, or contact us today to get your questions answered.

Close up of someone holding a bag of drugs

Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms

Trying to manage an addiction to fentanyl can make your loved one feel like they’re adrift at sea. The sheer physical compulsions associated with an addiction of this nature are completely debilitating and can impact their physical well-being, mental health and social connectivity on every level.

Additionally, a fentanyl addiction can drive an individual into solitude to keep their addiction going, while trying to hide the shame they feel for the way their fentanyl use has overrun their existence.

As a loved one to an individual who might be contending with a fentanyl use disorder, it’s vital to understand that you – and other supportive friends and family who can provide help and guidance – are a critically important component to helping your loved one overcome a disease of this nature.

While it may be difficult, finding ways to initiate a conversation about their addiction can prove to be a potentially lifesaving interaction.

What Are the Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction?

Some of the more common symptoms associated with a fentanyl addiction can include:

  • Nodding Off

For many individuals, using fentanyl causes them to enter a trance-like state known as nodding off. When someone is abusing fentanyl, they may appear alert one second and then go in and out of consciousness as the drug takes over their system.

This type of reaction can happen anywhere after your loved one uses, including when they’re sitting up at the dinner table or even while standing.

  • Drastic Weight Loss

Fentanyl addiction can suppress your loved one’s appetite, leading to extreme weight fluctuations due to the impact of their drug use. If you notice that your loved one has lost a considerable amount of weight without any valid reason, take notice. This is a definite red flag that there’s something unhealthy going on and it needs to be addressed.

  • Significant Shifts in Personality

A fentanyl addiction can dramatically change how your loved one behaves. For example, if they’re normally easygoing and friendly, they can become irritable and short-tempered while under the influence of fentanyl.

If your loved one begins acting extremely agitated and erratic, unable to sit still or manage their responses, there is a good chance something negative is going on to cause this behavior and should be discussed.

While these are some of the most common signs that your loved one may be struggling with a fentanyl addiction, some other red flags can include:

  • Poor work performance
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Socializing with new friends that may seem questionable
  • Mood swings and trouble managing emotions
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Financial problems
  • Engaging in secretive behaviors
  • Unexpected legal troubles

How to Identify Fentanyl Abuse Symptoms

Every person is unique, making their addictive behavioral patterns specific to them and their circumstances. However, there are a few key indicators that can help you identify if your loved one is struggling with a fentanyl addiction. These include:

  • Obvious Behavioral Changes

Your loved one’s addiction will impact every area of their life. They will seek out fentanyl and use it even though their substance use negatively impacts their health, personal relationships and daily functioning.

The behavioral changes that result from their addiction are often the first signs that their addiction is growing out of control and can include frequent arguments, engaging in risky behaviors and neglecting personal hygiene.

  • Physical Signs of Drug Use

Fentanyl addiction can have devastating effects on your loved one’s physical health. Being able to identify the physical impact of their substance use is essential for you to address their addiction and begin working with them to enter into a safe clinical setting.

It’s common for your loved one to show certain physical signs that may include insomnia, nausea, trembling hands, dilated pupils and track marks (if they use intravenously).

  • Drug Paraphernalia

While you don’t want to invade your loved one’s personal space, you can look for paraphernalia in shared living spaces. If uncertain whether or not to search the individual’s personal space, consult with a therapist or addiction professional beforehand.

Some telltale signs of fentanyl use may include pipes for smoking the substance, spoons to heat their drug mixtures before injection, needles for intravenous use, and drug residue from prior ingestion.

In the case of fentanyl, it’s imperative that you don’t touch anything that may have had the drug on it. Why? Because in its powdered form, one milligram – or a grain about the size of a single piece of sea salt – is enough to cause an overdose if it contacts your skin.

Is Your Loved One Displaying Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms? There Is Real, Life-Changing Help

When dealing with a fentanyl use disorder, there truly is no time to waste in addressing the addiction.

If you believe your loved one is living with an addiction to fentanyl, there are qualified treatment facilities that can address their disease in a safe and clinically sound environment.

The best place to start is with a simple conversation, discussing the obvious dangers of fentanyl use with them and the positive impact that residential treatment can have on their life.

This can be the encouragement they need to finally overcome their substance addiction and begin their journey back to health and prosperity.

Holistic Opioid Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

If you have a loved one in the grips of an opioid addiction, there is help.

It is our firm belief at Ranch Creek Recovery that your loved one can recover from their disease and rebuild an abstinent, productive life.

We address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head-on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with your loved one to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help them feel confident and ready to enter their new, sober life.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our opioid detox and rehab program.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

A man sits on the ground and holds his head in his hands

Dangers of Heroin Laced with Fentanyl

Struggling with a heroin addiction is difficult on a number of levels. The toll that long-term opioid abuse can have on a person’s vital organs is well documented.

From debilitating heart infections to the potential of total respiratory failure, living with a heroin addiction is akin to playing a non-stop game of Russian roulette. Add to that the manner in which heroin addiction and severe depression symptoms co-occur and it’s no wonder the opioid addiction has ravaged this country for over a decade.

That’s why the influx of heroin that has been laced with fentanyl is a such a terrifying reality for many people struggling with a heroin use disorder. As if the presence of a heroin addiction weren’t frightening enough, the added threat of ingesting a substance that is 50 times stronger than heroin puts a heroin user in a position of constant danger of a fatal overdose.

It is imperative to understand the factual dangers of fentanyl and how it’s increasing regularity in heroin is impacting the opioid epidemic around the country.

What kind of drug is Fentanyl?

According to the CDC, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is typically used to treat advanced cancer pain. It is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine, and 5o times more potent than heroin.

It is one of the most powerful opioid pain relievers in the US and works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, increasing dopamine in the central nervous system. This increase in dopamine produces a state of relaxation and decreases the perception of suffering while promoting a feeling of general euphoria within the user.

It is typically delivered through transdermal patches or lozenges, and while it is considered safe and effective when used and monitored in a medical setting, it carries a high abuse potential because of its chemical similarity to heroin.

What is Fentanyl-Laced Heroin?

While the dangers of prescription fentanyl are obvious, the rise of illicitly manufactured fentanyl has been identified as the primary catalyst behind the rise in opioid overdoses and deaths in the United States.

Overdose fatalities involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl have increased nearly 50% from 2016 to 2017, totaling over 28,000 deaths.

This has been attributed to illegally processed fentanyl being combined with black-market heroin, creating a more addictive substance that is terrifyingly more deadly than heroin by itself.

This is due to the fact that the illegally manufactured fentanyl that is processed and mixed with heroin has been shown to be hundreds of times more potent than street heroin and, therefore, more likely to induce significantly higher rates of respiratory depression.1

The Dangers of Heroin and Fentanyl

Many drug dealers are turning to this illicit practice of mixing heroin with fentanyl because it enables them to sell more product and make more profit. The dangers of ingesting heroin laced fentanyl is directly tied to the increased potency of fentanyl, as opposed to street heroin, and the unreliability of black-market street drugs.

It’s not like going to the local CVS to purchase a prescription drug with specific instructions and governmental oversight.

Buying heroin that is potentially mixed with fentanyl is filled with dangers, since the product was most likely created in an illegally established laboratory and mixed by someone with no training or medical knowledge whatsoever.

That is why the national rate of synthetic opioid overdoses more than tripled from 2013 to 2015.

Over that time period, data from the DEA National Forensic Laboratory Information System indicated that the incorporation and widespread introduction of fentanyl into street heroin became increasingly popular and spread through the country like wildfire.2

What You Need to Know About Heroin Laced Fentanyl

Understanding the dangers of heroin that is laced with fentanyl, and the manner in which it can affect your body, is essential to avoid a potential overdose. While the telltale signs of a fentanyl overdose are nearly identical to a heroin overdose, the amount of fentanyl needed to induce a deadly reaction is significantly lower than heroin alone.

Some of these warning signs include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Inability to talk
  • Trouble walking
  • Confusion

Other important points to remember about the dangers of potential fentanyl ingestion

  • Illegal fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is especially dangerous because people are often unaware that fentanyl has been added.
  • The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains it. They can underestimate the dose of opioids they are taking, resulting in overdose.
  • Naloxone is a medicine that can be given to a person to reverse a fentanyl overdose. Multiple naloxone doses might be necessary because of fentanyl’s potency.3

With all of these warning signs and the documented dangers of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, it is safe to say that any level of heroin addiction is a dangerous and potentially deadly disease.

It is imperative to seek out professional treatment as soon as possible to address your heroin addiction and avoid becoming one of the statistics lost to the opioid epidemic.

Holistic Heroin Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Overcoming a heroin addiction is no simple task, but with the right treatment facility and clinical staff, recovery is possible. Regardless of where your heroin addiction has landed you, you can stop your addiction and get your entire life back on track.

Don’t let heroin claim your life or hurt those you love any longer. There is life-changing support and a sober future ahead of you. At Ranch Creek Recovery, your precise recovery needs are our main priority; your successful recovery and sober re-entry into society is our utmost mission.

At our non-12 step rehab and holistic recovery center, our heroin abuse treatment program delivers all-
encompassing methodologies of medical and physical treatment, psychology, holistic and experiential
therapies, and preparation to forge the drug free future you desire.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607


1 Medical News Today. Everything you need to know about fentanyl. Accessed October 19, 2019. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308156.php

2 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Prescription Behavior Surveillance System (PBSS). Accessed October 19, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pbss/PBSS-Report-072017.pdf

3 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fentanyl. Accessed October 19, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html

Fentanyl in California

Facts About Fentanyl in Murrieta, CA that You Need to Know

For over a decade, the US has been struggling with an opioid epidemic that has ravaged communities and caused a significant influx in overdose incidents and drug-related deaths all over the country.

While the reasoning behind this substantial increase in opioid-related health issues has been tied to a number of causes – including laxed prescription regulations, inattentive prescribing physicians, lack of community-based services and overall poor planning by a number of communities – the results have been universal: rampant addiction and large scale overdose deaths all around the nation.

Then, as if the opioid crisis itself weren’t severe enough, instances of fentanyl use, abuse and death have started to rise throughout the country, including in California.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 30 to 50 times more potent then heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Due to this increased potency, those already struggling with addiction and exposed to the substance found themselves dealing with unexpected overdose symptoms and overdose deaths because of the strength of the substance.

While these serious health consequences and overdose issues were spreading like wildfire around the nation, California managed to initially stay ahead of the curve, avoiding the large scale health issues and overdose deaths seen everywhere else around the country.

This initial success was attributed to forward thinking treatment providers and increased access to Medicaid for low-income adults around the state.

These proactive approaches and preemptive initiatives enabled first responders and drug users themselves to have increased access to life-saving Narcan, drug test strips to test the substances they were abusing and clinical outreach programs. This all helped to encourage those struggling with addiction to better understand the substances they were putting into their bodies before those substances took effect and killed them.

This approach allowed California to achieve a level of success that no other state had experienced. Unfortunately, California eventually succumbed to the fentanyl crisis, fueling the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The Use of Fentanyl in California is Now its Own Epidemic

The use of fentanyl within the state of California was initially embraced by those abusing drugs as a means of avoiding withdrawal symptoms and dope-sickness through a more cost-effective method of substance use.

By keeping their fentanyl use public, those abusing drugs could purchase the substance willingly and adjust the amount they consumed in order to avoid overdose issues.

However, since the black market is not monitored by the FDA, and illegal drug use is a constant gamble with one’s health and safety, the tide eventually turned, and fentanyl use began to become more commonly connected to overdose incidents and deaths around the state.

By 2016, fentanyl had become the most commonly used drug involved in overdoses, and between 2011 to 2017, fentanyl related deaths quadrupled within the state. This was largely due to the fact that drug dealers began mixing the substance into a wider variety of illegal drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, while also making it more common to press fentanyl into pill mixes throughout the state.

This increased use resulted in greater exposed to the substance, both knowingly and unknowingly, driving the number of overdose incidents up and causing the number of overdose deaths to surge.

Fentanyl Overdoses and Deaths in California

The number of overdoses related to fentanyl has recently expanded to epidemic proportions within the state. In 2017, there were over 3,000 incidents attributed to opioid overdoses, excluding heroin. While the total number of overdose incidents is historically difficult to pinpoint exactly, it is evident that the increase in fentanyl use within the state is rapidly expanding out of control.

This is made clear with the surge in Fentanyl-related deaths over the last 5 years across the state. From approximately 100 Fentanyl-related deaths in 2014 to nearly 450 in 2017, the uptick in Fentanyl overdose deaths has exploded within California with no signs of slowing.

Murrieta, CA Fentanyl Statistics

Looking into Riverside country alone, the total number of overdose deaths was nearly 150 within 2017. Of those, nearly 20 were directly attributed to fentanyl.

Considering the size of the county in relation to the state, it is evident that the opioid and fentanyl epidemic has reached California and is expanding at an alarming rate within smaller counties around the state, such as within Murrieta.

With the increasing number of Fentanyl users and overdose deaths within the state, it is imperative to continue implementing the current initiatives while also encouraging the expansion of clinically qualified treatment options.

The only way to effectively combat a disease is through clinical interventions aimed at addressing the issue and services trained to support those struggling with the disorder. Treating a substance use disorder requires more than medication.

It takes qualified clinical staff who are trained to help patients overcome their addictive patterns and a safe therapeutic environment to treat them in. Finding a facility like this is the first step in helping your loved one start their recovery journey and begin their path back toward health and happiness.

Life-Changing, Holistic Opioid Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

It is our firm belief at Ranch Creek Recovery that those suffering from addiction can recover from their disease and rebuild abstinent, productive lives. If you have a loved one who is in the grips of an opioid addiction, there is help.

We address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with your loved one to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help them feel confident and ready to enter their new, sober life.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our opioid detox and rehab program.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.