What Does Fentanyl Addiction Look Like? Signs And Symptoms
Stew Broward
Stew Broward
3
min read
Although fentanyl addiction is a prevalent disease, it doesn’t always show itself on the surface. Some of those abusing fentanyl may appear normal and happy individuals on the outside while they are being consumed with substance use disorder on the inside.
 
In this case, knowing the signs of fentanyl use and spotting them early can literally save a person’s life. So, if you suspect that a loved one is struggling with this condition, it’s important that you read through this guide as we walk you through fentanyl addiction symptoms and how to tell if someone is on fentanyl.

What is fentanyl, and why is it dangerous?

Fentanyl, despite its negative reputation, is actually an FDA-approved and legal pain relief medication. However, this opioid is highly regulated, and you can only access it legally through a prescription.
 
So, if fentanyl is legal, then why is it considered ‘dangerous’? Well, fentanyl is a very potent drug, so much so that it’s 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin as a type of analgesic.
 
While it’s very effective in relieving severe pain, fentanyl also carries a high risk for abuse, as with many prescription drugs. It can deliver an intense high if taken illicitly, and many people chase the feeling – ultimately leading to the vicious cycle of addiction.
 
In the medical world, fentanyl can be taken under the tongue or between the gum and cheek. It’s also available in sprays, lozenges, and other legal forms.
 
However, in the streets, fentanyl takes many names. In the illegal drug trade, it’s called ‘China Girl’, ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Jackpot’, ‘Dance Fever’, ‘Apace’, and the list goes on.
 
And like other abused substances, those with fentanyl addiction have many ways of consuming this drug. They often snort, sniff, or pop it orally. In some cases, it’s also spiked and mixed with other drugs like heroin, which makes it more addictive and potentially lethal.

Symptoms of fentanyl use

What does someone on fentanyl look like? Fentanyl addiction signs may not be easy to spot for most people. Unlike meth, which drastically changes a person’s appearance, this drug doesn’t announce itself as boldly.
 
In that case, how can you tell if someone is on fentanyl? Here are some of the tell-tale symptoms of abuse that you should watch out for:

Common physical symptoms of fentanyl abuse

  • Unexplained body aches
  • Shivers
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest tightness
  • Dry mouth
  • Pale skin
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Ulcers or sores in the mouth

Behavioral signs someone is on fentanyl

  • Itching and scratching
  • Slurred speech
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Sudden mood swings (especially sudden depression or anxiety)
 
As you see, most of the fentanyl signs and symptoms are very generic and can be observed in a wide range of conditions. Still, spotting these signs is the first step to helping a loved one and finally enrolling them into an addiction treatment center.

How do people act on fentanyl?

Take note that fentanyl addiction doesn’t happen overnight. In some cases, it begins with an innocent incident of taking too much of the drug. However, as the person discovers the high fentanyl can bring, it will soon become a full-fledged substance use disorder (SUD).
 
At that point, here’s how to know if someone is on fentanyl:
 
  • Sudden euphoria. One of the fentanyl use signs is when a person is suddenly exhibiting intense happiness out of nowhere.
 
  • Unexplained drowsiness. Since fentanyl is an opioid, it can also make a person drowsy and somewhat appear sedated. Misusing this drug can cause someone to move or speak very slowly.
 
  • Risky behaviors. One of the tell-tale fentanyl abuse signs – or any substance – is the person’s willingness to participate in risky behaviors. This includes criminal activities, reckless driving, unsafe sex, etc.
 
  • Neglected hygiene. Due to fentanyl’s high symptoms, you may notice that the person is also starting to neglect his personal hygiene. It’s because the person’s focus is fully on obtaining and using fentanyl as much as possible.
 
  • Reduced social interaction. If the first symptoms above are accompanied by isolation, you should consider seeking advice from a Los Angeles rehab center. This hallmark behavior is observed in many cases of addiction, especially if they start losing interest in activities they used to enjoy.

What to do if your loved one shows signs of fentanyl abuse

We know that convincing someone with fentanyl addiction to enter an inpatient rehab center is easier said than done.
 
For most people with SUD, admitting the fact of their addiction and seeking help is the most difficult – yet very important – step. But as their loved one, you’ll play a crucial role in finally getting the help they need. Here’s what you can do to guide someone with fentanyl addiction toward recovery slowly:

1. Express your sincere concern

Batting for inpatient rehab in Los Angeles right away isn’t the best strategy. Instead, start by talking to your loved one and calmly explain that you’re starting to get concerned over their fentanyl use. Make sure you do this in a private space where the person will feel safe and comfortable to talk.

2. Educate yourself about fentanyl addiction

Knowing how to tell if someone is using fentanyl is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s important that you also educate yourself about this condition with the help of addiction specialists. By knowing more about fentanyl abuse symptoms, you can give better support to your loved one throughout their treatment.

3. Get your family involved

For someone struggling with drug addiction, having a supportive home life can make a world of difference. It’s important to also educate your family members about what your loved one is going through. Always emphasize that fentanyl addiction is a treatable disease – not a life sentence.

4. Introduce professional help

You can also start a conversation about drug rehab and its benefits as a way to encourage your loved one to seek help. It’s important to highlight to them that recovery is always possible and that there are many treatment options they can choose from.
 
For example, you can tell your loved one with fentanyl addiction that treatment doesn’t only happen in hospital facilities. Instead, the likes of LA Wellness Home offer a luxury, home-like space where they can recover without compromising comfort.

5. Work with an addiction professional

Take note that you’re not alone in helping your loved one overcome addiction. You can also reach out to addiction specialists like us to create an intervention plan.
 
In the process of creating a plan, our specialists at LA Wellness Home will assess your loved one’s history of drug abuse, mental illness, possible violence, and self-harm. From there, we can advise on how you can approach the situation.
 
Also, our addiction specialists can hold an intervention meeting with your loved one to discuss their condition and treatment options. We maintain a friendly, supportive, and welcoming environment to make the person realize that there’s life outside of substance use.
 
At the same time, we provide family counseling and therapy to give you the much-needed support. At LA Wellness Home, we strongly believe that family members have an important role to play in their loved one’s recovery, no matter the role they took in their addiction.

6. Form an intervention team

An intervention team is basically a group of people who can convince and support your loved one toward addiction treatment. This should be composed of at least 4 people in your loved one’s circle whom they trust and depend on.
 
Such individuals can be family members, friends, romantic partners, members of the community, and so on. It’s very important only to include people that your loved one likes and has no addiction issues themselves.
 
Also, you shouldn’t let your loved one with fentanyl addiction know about the plan before your scheduled intervention meeting. This way, the person won’t shy away or hide themselves to avoid the conversation.

7. Consult a professional about involuntary commitment

If all else fails, the last resort of many families is to request an involuntary commitment.
 
Involuntary commitment is a court-ordered rehab that mandates a person to seek professional addiction treatment. This is not only used for fentanyl addiction but also for all kinds of substance use disorders.
 
Moreover, court-ordered rehab usually happens if the person is a risk to themselves or the people around them. It’s a life-saving option, no matter how intimidating it may sound at first.
 
In general, the length of a court-ordered rehab varies, depending on the severity of the person’s fentanyl addiction. The treatment facility will be the one to recommend the ideal program duration after rigorous diagnosis and assessment.
 
Take note that only certain individuals can initiate the request for involuntary rehab commitment. If you have questions about court-ordered rehab, feel free to contact us, and our specialists will be there to advise you.

Take the first step to addiction recovery at LA Wellness Home

Fentanyl addiction is a vicious cycle, but it’s highly treatable with the right medical approach. Here at LA Wellness Home, we provide a holistic and medically assisted fentanyl detox to help clients start their journey to recovery.
 
During your loved one’s stay in our residential facility, they will receive 24/7 supervision and care from our licensed addiction specialists. We are a team of licensed doctors, nurses, RADTs, counselors, therapists, and specialists, so rest assured that your loved one is in the right hands.
 
Our program last for an average of 30 days, but the exact duration of the detox, depends on your loved one’s specific condition. At LA Wellness Home, our goal is long-term and sustainable recovery, that’s why we emphasize the importance of finishing our custom treatment program.
 
If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction, contact LA Wellness Home, and our team will be here to help. Our lines are open 24/7 if you have questions about programs or once you’re ready to start the admissions process.
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