Fentanyl is one of the most potent and commonly abused opioids. 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 and symptoms of fentanyl use and how to help can potentially save his or her life.

The following are seven signs of fentanyl addiction:

1. Behavioral Changes

A warning sign of fentanyl abuse includes noticeable changes in behavior 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 from fentanyl abuse 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, others signs of fentanyl abuse are psychological changes. 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:

  • confusion
  • impaired judgment
  • disorientation
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • paranoia
  • rapid mood swings
  • depression
  • hallucinations

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 of fentanyl and opioid abuse. A person may appear to suddenly fall asleep during a conversation or nod off at an inappropriate time.

Other physical signs of fentanyl abuse and addiction include:

  • labored or shallow breathing
  • constipation
  • upset stomach
  • convulsions
  • fainting
  • cough
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • pale skin
  • ulcers or sores in the mouth
  • sunken eyes
  • sneezing
  • 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 opioid 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:

  • yawning
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • chills
  • flu-like symptoms
  • weakness
  • muscle aches and pains
  • high blood pressure
  • elevated heart rate
  • vomiting
  • upset stomach

Because these withdrawal symptoms can be serious, a medical opioid detox is recommended.

5. Overdosing On Fentanyl

Another serious sign that someone is abusing 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 an opioid 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. Our Massachusetts opioid addiction treatment center could help them get their life back on track.

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 Massachusetts, formerly Swift River, 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 someone is addicted to fentanyl and our fentanyl treatment in Massachusetts, contact a Vertava Health Massachusetts treatment specialist today.

Call Vertava Health now!