How To Help Someone Addicted To Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a highly addictive drug that can wreak havoc on someone’s life. Helping someone get treatment for fentanyl addiction may involve admitting them into a formal treatment program.

If you believe a loved one or friend is addicted to fentanyl, helping them get treatment could potentially save their life. A formal treatment plan is often recommended to help overcome an opioid use disorder.

Fentanyl is a prescription drug that is in the opiate family and is typically reserved for the relief of severe pain. It may be prescribed after surgery or a significant injury as well as for cancer-related pain.

This substance is incredibly strong. It can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine and up to 50 times stronger than heroin. For these reasons, fentanyl can be incredibly dangerous when not used exactly as prescribed or taken recreationally.

Is Fentanyl Addictive?

Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug, meaning that it can be highly addictive, even when taken as prescribed. Fentanyl works by binding to receptors in the brain that are responsible for pain and emotions. The drug minimizes pain and produces excess dopamine in the brain, creating feelings of euphoria.

Additionally, a rapid tolerance to fentanyl can quickly be built up. This means that the person must take more of the drug to feel the same effects. The more of the substance a person takes, the more likely he or she is to develop a dependence on the drug.

In the medical setting, fentanyl is most commonly offered in patch form, as a lozenge, or as an injection. However, fentanyl that is found on the street may come in a powder, pill, or blotter paper. Fentanyl can be abused in any form and is just as dangerous no matter how it is ingested.

What Are The Signs Of Fentanyl Addiction?

When someone is addicted to fentanyl, he or she may display a number of physical and psychological signs. These signs may be noticeable to others, especially as the addiction progresses.

Signs of fentanyl addiction may include:

  • withdrawal symptoms when fentanyl is stopped
  • continued fentanyl use despite physical or psychological issues
  • withdrawal from people or things
  • intense cravings for fentanyl
  • extreme lethargy
  • lying about using fentanyl
  • partaking in dangerous or risky behavior

The signs of fentanyl abuse may at first go unnoticed by loved ones and friends. The worse an addiction becomes, the more prominent these signs will be to others. Many people who are struggling with addiction will also try to hide these signs, making it harder for someone on the outside to notice what’s going on.

If you have noticed any of these signs or symptoms of fentanyl abuse in yourself or in another person, seeking treatment as soon as possible can prevent a number of adverse side effects. The more someone abuses fentanyl, the more likely he or she is to experience the negative effects of the drug.

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Could You Be Enabling Someone Who Is Addicted To Fentanyl?

Codependent relationships are incredibly common when it comes to addiction. A codependent relationship is when a friend or loved one enables someone to continue abusing the drug of choice.

Signs of a codependent relationship may include:

  • providing support despite noticeable signs of addiction
  • coming up with excuses for the person’s addictive behavior
  • giving the person with the addiction money to buy more drugs
  • withdrawing from relationships or responsibilities to avoid confrontation about codependent behavior
  • pretending to not notice drug abuse or addictive behaviors

Many people who are in a codependent relationship believe that their relationship will end if they attempt to cut off support or address the issue of addiction. However, continuing to enable a person with a fentanyl addiction only worsens the situation.

Talking To Someone About Fentanyl Abuse And Addiction

The first step to helping someone who is addicted to fentanyl is to address the problem. Many people with a substance use disorder will initially deny that there is a problem. Often, an intervention is needed.

During an intervention, loved ones come together to address the impact that the person’s addiction has had on their lives. Often, a professional therapist will attend the intervention to help guide and mediate what is said.

An intervention can also show a person who is addicted to fentanyl that they have a strong support system. This can provide hope and comfort for the person as he or she enters treatment.

After the intervention has been staged, a treatment plan should be determined to help the person who is addicted to fentanyl get the help they need to recover.

Getting Treatment For Fentanyl Addiction

Many people who are struggling with a fentanyl addiction will need a formal treatment plan to successfully get on the path to recovery. Treatment will likely begin with a medically supervised detox program.

These programs will help a person safely and comfortably withdraw from fentanyl. A detox program can also provide any needed medication management and medical support throughout the withdrawal process.

Once a person has completed a detox program, he or she will likely be recommended to attend an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient treatment provides intensive programs that are individualized to meet each person’s needs.

Providing Support During And After Treatment To Someone Addicted To Fentanyl

Recovery from any drug addiction is hard, and it’s even harder when done alone. It’s important that loved ones and friends are as supportive as possible before, during, and after a treatment program.

Some treatment programs provide family counseling, which allows family members to attend therapy sessions. During these sessions, problems such as codependent relationships may be addressed.

Other ways to show support during recovery is by helping with the expense of treatment (if possible), providing transportation in the case of outpatient programs, and attending visiting hours.

To learn more about how you can help someone who is addicted to fentanyl, contact our treatment specialists today.

MedTV - Fentanyl Withdrawal

Drugs.com - Fentanyl Side Effects

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Fentanyl

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