Signs of Fentanyl Addiction and How to Convince a Loved One to Get Help
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be prescribed to treat cases of severe pain. While this medication helps treat pain symptoms, it is a highly potent drug that has become a significant player in the opioid epidemic. This drug is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, making it extremely dangerous to abuse.
While fentanyl is a prescription-only medication, it can be found on the street due to illegal drug trafficking and manufacturing. Oftentimes, this drug is found in adulterated drugs (drugs that have been cut with other substances). This is why so many people have suffered from fentanyl overdoses in the United States, as they could think they are buying Xanax or oxycodone on the street only to receive a pill with a lethal amount of fentanyl in it.
According to the CDC, “Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise with 56,516 overdose deaths reported in 2020.”
If you are worried that someone you love is abusing fentanyl, you must be aware of the signs of fentanyl abuse and addiction. This can help you prevent them from experiencing a life-threatening overdose.
Signs of Fentanyl Addiction in a Loved One
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, so if your loved one is abusing the drug they will display signs similar to that of any opioid use disorder. However, the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction are different for everyone.
The behavioral signs of fentanyl addiction may include:
- Continuing to use fentanyl despite facing consequences as a result
- Social isolation from friends and family
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of fentanyl
- Slurred speech
- Declining performance in work and school
- Frequent absences at work or school
- No longer caring for personal responsibilities
- Doctor shopping (visiting multiple doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions for fentanyl)
- Forging prescriptions to obtain fentanyl
If your loved one is abusing fentanyl, they will also show physical, cognitive, and psychological symptoms of opioid abuse. These include:
- Constricted pupils
- Psychomotor agitation
- Slowed psychomotor abilities
- Difficulties with attention and concentration
- Impaired memory and judgment
- Cravings for fentanyl
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation
- Euphoria followed by apathy
- Declined interest in previously beloved activities
Why It’s Important to Get Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl addiction is extremely dangerous and deadly. According to the DEA, 2 out of 5 pills containing fentanyl have a lethal dose of the drug (which is defined as 2mg). All it takes is one pill for your loved one to suffer from a fatal fentanyl overdose.
Because fentanyl overdoses are so common among people who abuse the drug, getting treatment is extremely important. The sooner your loved one attends treatment, the fewer chances they have of suffering from a life-threatening overdose. However, because the risk of overdose is still high, you need to be aware of the symptoms of a fentanyl overdose.
The symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include:
- Low blood pressure
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Limp body
- Changes in pupillary size
- Cold and clammy skin
- Blue-colored lips and fingernails
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Lowered heart rate
- Reduced or loss of consciousness
In addition to overdose, the longer someone is abusing fentanyl, the more likely they are to experience the long-term effects of the drug.
The long-term effects of fentanyl abuse include:
- Higher risk of experiencing bone fractures
- Chronic and severe constipation that may lead to bowel obstruction
- Breathing problems during sleep
- Heart attack and heart failure
- Immune system suppression
- Hormonal and reproductive complications in men and women
- Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
Convincing an Addicted Loved One to Get Help
If your loved one is exhibiting signs of fentanyl addiction, it’s important that you do everything in your power to convince them to get help.
There are many ways that you can convince your loved one to receive help for their fentanyl addiction. The first thing you should do is become educated on the disease of addiction, how it develops, and how it affects your loved one. This will help you understand how difficult it is for them to quit using drugs and what is required for them to get sober.
Next, consider speaking with them in a non-confrontational manner. You can remind them of the risks of fentanyl addiction, show them articles on the long-term effects of opioid abuse, and attempt to emotionally appeal to them by explaining how much it hurts you to see them struggle with this. While this works for some people, your loved one may need a little extra push to decide to attend professional treatment – and that’s completely normal.
If your loved one is having a hard time accepting treatment, it’s time to consider an intervention. These are family meetings facilitated by an addiction expert, with the overall goal of convincing your loved one to get help. The expert will help you and your family members write letters to read to your loved one about how their addiction affects you, in hopes that they will decide it’s time to enter substance abuse rehab.
Sometimes, convincing a loved one to attend treatment takes time. However, professional interventionists make plans for your loved one to enter a treatment program immediately after the intervention is over. This prevents your loved one from changing their mind after waiting too long to enter the program.
Find Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction Today
If you or a loved one suffer from fentanyl abuse or addiction, it’s time to consider professional help. Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug, leading to short-term effects such as fatal overdoses and long-term effects like organ damage, but treatment can help.
Our opioid addiction treatment center near Boston, MA, offers a truly immersive recovery experience that incorporates the 12 steps, physical wellness, individualized care and more. Most importantly, we maintain a client-to-staff ratio that allows for a high level of individualized and personal attention. Contact Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment today to learn more about our fentanyl rehab center in Massachusetts.