The question we are trying to analyze today is how does fentanyl affect the brain? Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. That means that it is a man-made super-strength opioid. Opioids are a drug group used to combat the sensation of pain. They interact with the opioid receptors located in the cells of the brain and cause certain pain-relieving effects. Natural opioids, such as heroin and morphine, are created from the poppy plant. However, drugs such as Fentanyl are created or synthesized in a lab by scientists. They are created using the same chemical compounds so the effects are more or less the same, except for the fact that Fentanyl is far more potent. 

Fentanyl is actually fifty to a hundred times stronger than morphine, which means that its effects on the brain are more intense and pronounced. It is also far more dangerous. After an opioid is administered to a patient, it is released into the bloodstream. From there, it quickly reaches the brain. When there, the opioids attach themselves to the opioid receptors and disrupt, mute, and muffle the patient’s perception of pain. Ultimately relieving them from pain. However, it also changes people’s emotions, and a big by-product of opioid use is a boost in the feeling of pleasure. It is for this reason that people become addicted to opioids and Fentanyl. 

How Does Fentanyl Affect The Brain?

Fentanyl has many effects, some of which are very dangerous and life-threatening. They include:

  • Pain-relief
  • A short but intense rush
  • Extreme happiness
  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Constricted pupils
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Stiff or rigid muscles
  • Physical weakness
  • Itching
  • Problems in breathing, such as shallow breathing or irregular breaths
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Passing out or unconsciousness
  • Overdose
  • Death

If a person takes Fentanyl, they become dependent on the drug. Without it, they no longer feel normal. Life almost becomes less intense. All joy and pleasure derived from normal activities no longer exist and the only way they can feel pleasure is by taking Fentanyl, or another type of opioid. 

Addiction to Fentanyl

It is very easy to become addicted to an opioid drug such as Fentanyl. The initial rush, euphoria, and pain-relieving effects, especially on people suffering from chronic pain, can be worth all the awful side effects. Fentanyl is not your normal opioid either. It is an extremely potent opioid, which makes it even more addictive. Anyone taking Fentanyl can easily become dependent upon it to feel normal. Dependence can ultimately lead to addiction. If a doctor stops prescribing a drug such as Fentanyl due to the fear of dependence, then the person can often turn to the illegal market to get their fix. 

Addiction is the absolute worst form of SUD (substance use disorder) which means that someone is impelled to search for the drug against their doctor’s advice and their own rational mind. They have been in effect taken over by the drug and are willing to accept the offering from the illegal market despite the severe consequences to their health. Getting the drug is the most important aspect of their lives. In very severe cases, the addict feels they do not have a life without the drug, and they simply no longer care who they hurt or what they lose as a result. In some cases, they may be so physically addicted that they are trying desperately to avoid withdrawal. 

Withdrawal from Fentanyl

Withdrawal is what happens when you stop taking a substance the body has gotten used to, like Fentanyl. The effects of withdrawal can be very painful and can occur only a few hours after the last dose was taken. Withdrawal can include various effects such as:

  • Intense and severe cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Spasms
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sleeping problems
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Cold flushes and goosebumps
  • Restlessness


Addiction can ruin lives. And it can ruin the lives of the people who surround the addict. Luckily there are a lot of treatments available for addiction to Fentanyl. These treatments include partial day programs, intensive outpatient appointments, and a whole outpatient program

There are also partial hospitalization programs for people who do not require staying overnight. An addict will be assessed, and the best course of action will be determined depending on the severity of the addiction. In some cases, medication can work alone. However, this usually needs to be combined with various forms of counseling and talking therapies such as CBT – cognitive behavioral therapy, which is designed to help the person overcome the triggers that form the habit of taking Fentanyl. 

If you were wondering how fentanyl affects the brain I hope we did a good job of answering your question. Contact us at 1-855-495-1063 for more information today!


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