Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids available on the market. It is rarely prescribed for long-term use and is typically only used to treat severe pain that has not responded to other pain medications. Due to the potency of fentanyl, this drug is highly addictive and can be easily abused. People who abuse fentanyl even for a short period of time are at risk of becoming addicted to the drug.
Fentanyl addiction can be dangerous and puts individuals at an increased risk of overdose. If you believe a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, knowing the signs of addiction and how to help can potentially save his or her life.
The following are seven signs that someone may be addicted to fentanyl:
1. Behavioral Changes
People who abuse opioids like fentanyl will often have noticeable behavioral changes even if they have only been abusing the drug for a short period of time. This is because of how potent the drug is. Some behavioral changes you may notice in a loved one who is abusing fentanyl include extreme lethargy, mood swings, withdrawing from family and friends, and engaging in risky or dangerous behavior.
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Individuals addicted to fentanyl may also stop taking care of themselves and neglect personal hygiene and basic needs such as proper nutrition and exercise. The deeper someone is in his or her addiction to fentanyl, the more he or she will likely neglect health and wellness.
2. Psychological Changes
In addition to behavioral changes, people who are addicted to fentanyl will often exhibit psychological changes as well. Opioids like fentanyl can make it difficult for a person to concentrate or remember things. This means that a person may seem to be daydreaming or not paying attention when in conversation.
Additional psychological signs of fentanyl abuse include:
- impaired judgment
- rapid mood swings
3. Physical Changes
The physical symptoms of fentanyl abuse and addiction are often the most noticeable. Obvious physical signs of opioid abuse typically only occur when a person is taking more of the drug than what is prescribed. Drowsiness or “nodding off” is one of the most common physical signs associated with opioid abuse. A person may appear to suddenly fall asleep during a conversation or nod off at an inappropriate time.
Other physical symptoms of fentanyl abuse and addiction include:
- labored or shallow breathing
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- pale skin
- ulcers or sores in the mouth
- sunken eyes
- swelling in the legs, hands, or feet
The severe the addiction, the more severe and noticeable the physical signs of fentanyl abuse will be.
4. Experiencing Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person regularly abuses fentanyl, his or her body becomes dependent on the drug. This means that a person needs fentanyl to feel “normal” and for the body to function properly. When someone addicted to fentanyl is not on the drug, he or she may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to uncomfortable and are one of the most tell-tale signs that a person is addicted to the drug.
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms may include:
- flu-like symptoms
- muscle aches and pains
- high blood pressure
- elevated heart rate
- upset stomach
5. Overdosing On Fentanyl
Another serious sign that someone is abusing or addicted to fentanyl is experiencing a fentanyl overdose. Because of the potency of fentanyl, consuming more than what is prescribed can easily result in an overdose. A fentanyl overdose can be dangerous and even deadly if not dealt with immediately.
The most common signs of a fentanyl overdose include depressed breathing and pinpoint pupils. A person may also experience a faint pulse, loss of coordination, and unconsciousness. If you believe someone is experiencing a fentanyl overdose, seek medical help as soon as possible.
6. Drug-Seeking Behavior
People who are addicted to substances like fentanyl will often go to great lengths to obtain the drug. Common drug-seeking behaviors include “doctor shopping” to get more than one prescription for the drug, stealing prescriptions from friends or family, and stealing or borrowing money in order to buy the drug.
7. Experiencing Negative Life Consequences
Drug addiction can negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life. Unfortunately, many people struggling with fentanyl addiction will continue to abuse the drug despite these negative consequences. Life consequences that may occur as a result of fentanyl abuse and addiction including financial hardships, losing friends or loved ones, job loss, and legal trouble.
If your loved one is experiencing negative life consequences that seemingly occur out of nowhere, he or she may be suffering from drug addiction.
Getting Help For Fentanyl Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to fentanyl, the best decision you can make is to seek help or provide support for your loved one as they seek treatment. At Vertava Health of Massachusetts, we offer individualized plans of recovery to help you or loved one overcome fentanyl addiction and lead a fulfilling life in sobriety.
To learn more about the signs that may indicate someone is addicted to fentanyl, contact a Vertava Health of Massachusetts treatment specialist today.