You may already know about the opioid crisis, but it’s so much more than only heroin. Not only do dealers cut their drugs with fentanyl, but people also seek this drug out for a stronger high.
In 2021, synthetic opioid deaths (excluding methadone) totaled over 70,600, which shows just how dangerous fentanyl can be. Yet this isn’t enough to stop people from the throes of addiction, which can eventually be fatal.
Do you suspect your loved one of using this synthetic opioid? Then read on for the key fentanyl addiction symptoms and how you can respond so they don’t perish.
Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms
Like with any other type of addiction, fentanyl abuse can have both physical and psychological effects. We’ll go into more detail in the sections below.
When a person’s high on fentanyl, there will be tell-tale signs. Look for:
- Warm body temperature and sweating
- Fast heartbeat
- Pinned pupils, especially in well-lit places
- Loss of appetite
- Shallow and/or slowed breathing
- Slurred speech
- Muscle spasms and twitching
- Track marks
After the high wears off, the user will go through withdrawal, whether they’re only between fixes or are quitting for good. Symptoms here include:
- Muscle aches
On a longer-term basis, you might also notice sudden weight loss in the user. They may also stop taking care of themselves, so they might appear unkempt and unhygienic. Other long-term symptoms include reduced constipation, menstruation issues, and respiratory problems.
If your loved one’s abusing fentanyl, they might seem very pleasant and euphoric at times. However, during withdrawal, users will get intense cravings, which can affect how they act. As a result, they can be irritable, agitated, anxious, and depressed, which may make it seem as though they’re going through extreme mood swings.
In addition, they’ll become socially withdrawn and paranoid. During addiction, the substance becomes the one and only priority in a person’s life, so users will become isolated and abandon activities they were once interested in. They’ll even neglect responsibilities, such as school, work, and family care.
Of course, they won’t want anyone to know about their habits, so your loved ones may become secretive and evasive. They may be protective over their room and belongings too.
Over time, constant fentanyl use can lower a user’s libido.
Your loved one may have a sudden change in friend groups. They may start spending time with others who use opioids too.
Plus, they might have money issues resulting from spending all their cash on fentanyl. In order to get more money for drugs, your loved one may resort to criminal behaviors that can also be erratic and compulsive. In addition, they’ll lie to get what they want.
Signs of an Overdose
Unfortunately, it’s easy for someone to overdose on this substance. As we’ve mentioned before, the fentanyl death toll is extremely high, so it’s imperative that you watch out for overdose signs in your loved one.
If any of the following occurs, then you should call 911 immediately:
- Pinned and unresponsive pupils
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Low and shallow breathing
- Extreme drowsiness
- Extreme confusion
- Blue lips and/or fingers
- Cold or clammy skin
- Loss of consciousness
How to Help Your Loved One
It can be distressing to learn that your loved one is using, especially since it’s a huge public health issue. But the good news is, you can help point them in the right direction to get into recovery.
First of all, don’t be harsh with them, nor should you yell at your loved one. They already know that drug addiction isn’t ideal, and they don’t need more judgment or guilt on top of that.
It’s better to treat them with kindness and compassion. But while you should tread gently, you should also be firm and assertive. Don’t allow yourself to enable their behaviors.
Make sure that your loved one knows they have an open ear with you. If they feel like you’re on their side instead of against them, they’ll be more open to suggestions.
Check Them Into a Rehabilitation Center
Because fentanyl addiction is a serious matter, it’s best if your loved one receives assistance at a rehabilitation center. There are both inpatient and outpatient treatments available. You may also choose to get into an online treatment facility that prescribes Suboxone online. Your loved one can choose the one that works for both their finances and daily life.
Here, they can undergo a supervised medical detox, which is necessary to manage their health and comfort. The doctors can prescribe medications to aid this process, such as buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone, clonidine, lofexidine, and naloxone.
After, your loved one can go through therapies, including cognitive-behavioral, dialectical-behavioral, family, and group sessions. These will teach them how to deal with underlying trauma, mental health issues, and cravings in the future.
Once they’re done with rehab, it’s important to remember that sobriety is a lifelong journey. They should continue going to therapy sessions and taking medications to combat opioid use disorder (OUD).
Get Them Telemedicine Sessions
If your loved one can’t go to rehab, then the next best thing is to sign up for telemedicine sessions. There are dedicated services such as Recovery Delivered that enable people to receive treatment without having to go to a physical doctor’s office.
Through our medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services, you can receive online suboxone. You’ll consult with a medical professional through a video call, then they’ll write a prescription for you that you can pick up at your local pharmacy. Treatment is fast, easy, and discreet.
Help Your Loved One With Their Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl abuse is a prevalent problem, and your loved one may be exhibiting fentanyl addiction symptoms. In that case, it’s vital to act fast, as overdoses are common.
Remember to be a pillar of support that’s non-judgmental and caring. Together, you can figure out the next best steps, whether it’s checking into rehab or trying telehealth services. Either way, your loved one will stand a chance at sobriety and turning back into the person you once knew.
If your loved one has a fentanyl addiction, then have them start treatment with Recovery Delivered. Our process is fast, easy, and confidential.