Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

In May of 2022, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu issued a warning about the dangers of fentanyl for New Hampshire residents. He shared that fentanyl-related overdoses continue to increase in The Granite State. Understanding the signs of fentanyl use disorder can help you offer support to loved ones who struggle with fentanyl use.. The good news is that people recover from substance use every day! With the proper treatment and support, recovery is likely.

Behavioral Signs of Fentanyl Use Disorder

When a person uses fentanyl, it can alter their usual behavior in many ways. A few examples are:

  • Decreased motivation
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Withdrawal from social life
  • Disregarding responsibilities
  • Prioritizing fentanyl use above all else
  • Attempting dishonest tactics to obtain fentanyl prescriptions

Psychological Changes

Fentanyl use can alter how a person’s brain works. A few examples include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of judgment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Cravings for fentanyl
  • Decreased mental wellness

Physical Changes

Fentanyl use features many changes in a person’s physical characteristics, including:

  • Decreased motor skills
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Constricted pupils

Drug-Seeking Behavior

A common term for when a person prioritizes substance use to the point where they are willing to obtain substances in dishonest ways is called drug-seeking behavior. This term describes the wide range of behaviors observed when someone attempts to obtain fentanyl or other substances.

Someone demonstrating drug-seeking behavior might change doctors often in an attempt to continue getting new prescriptions for fentanyl. This is done with the hope that the new doctor will fill a fentanyl prescription without noticing the signs of fentanyl use disorder.

Another drug-seeking behavior could be stealing prescription medications from family members. Fentanyl and other opioids provide pain management for those recovering from surgery. It may not be difficult for a person seeking fentanyl to visit a recovering family member and discreetly take some of their prescription medications.

Other examples of drug-seeking behaviors include:

  • Requesting prescription increases
  • Claiming allergies to alternative medications
  • Hoarding extra medications
  • Seeking early refills
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Purchasing illicit fentanyl

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are symptoms that accompany the end of fentanyl use. When a person uses fentanyl, their brain and body adjust to the presence of fentanyl. Ending fentanyl use requires the body and brain to adjust to a “new normal” without fentanyl.

Withdrawal from fentanyl is difficult but not usually life-threatening. Most who have experienced fentanyl withdrawal say it mimics a bad case of the flu. However, it can be challenging to achieve detox from fentanyl alone. Detox centers assist with fentanyl withdrawal. At a detox center, a  person can be made comfortable and receive treatment for symptoms of withdrawal. Furthermore, detox centers have no access to fentanyl. Some of the most common fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Disturbed mood
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Goosebumps
  • Pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Suicidal thoughts

Risk Factors for Fentanyl Use Disorder

Some people try to oversimplify fentanyl use disorder and other substance use issues as simply being a moral issue. The truth is, there are many risk factors for fentanyl use disorder. A risk factor is anything that can contribute to the development of fentanyl use disorder or another substance use disorder. No single risk factor will determine that a person will struggle with fentanyl use. For example, a history of a mental health condition is a risk factor for fentanyl use disorder. This does not mean every person with a mental health condition has fentanyl use disorder. However, it does mean a person’s mental health can contribute to fentanyl use disorder. Other risk factors for fentanyl use disorder include:

  • Trauma
  • Peer pressure
  • Family history of substance use
  • Early substance use
  • Antisocial behavior

Get Treatment For Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl use may be on the rise in New Hampshire, but Addiction Recovery Services is ready to help you reach your recovery goals today! Our staff can provide meaningful Fentanyl treatment that will help you find wellness. Call us at 978-228-5853 for more information about our treatment options.

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FAQs About the Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

What does fentanyl do to you?

Fentanyl was designed to help with pain management. It reduces pain and produces euphoria. Fentanyl also slows down the body’s natural processes. Fentanyl is a helpful medication, but it can cause dependence. Only use fentanyl under the supervision of a medical professional.

What are fentanyl withdrawal symptoms?

When a person ends fentanyl use, they will experience withdrawal symptoms as their body adjusts to the absence of fentanyl. Some examples of withdrawal symptoms are chills, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.

What are the signs that someone is addicted to fentanyl?

Someone who is misusing fentanyl will likely have lower than average energy. They might withdraw from social activities. It is common for those misusing fentanyl to pursue fentanyl use above all else. When unable to use fentanyl, they will have cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

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