Please click here for our latest coronavirus (COVID-19) response and preparedness.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Detox Treatment

treatment for fentanyl withdrawalFentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain medication that is prescribed to patients with severe pain or to manage the symptoms of pain after surgery. This opioid drug is extremely powerful, as it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.[1] When taken recreationally, fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs known to man and is the leading cause of opioid-related overdose deaths in America.

While fentanyl can be beneficial in treating the symptoms of pain, it is often abused. Typically, fentanyl is used as an adulterant in other drugs by drug dealers who are looking to stretch out their product, make more money, and cause their clients to become hooked faster. Many individuals who abuse fentanyl are taking the drug unknowingly or have developed a high tolerance to other opioids.

Frequent fentanyl abuse can quickly cause physical dependence and addiction. If you become addicted to fentanyl, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal upon quitting the drug. Although the symptoms you will experience during fentanyl withdrawal are not life-threatening, they can be extremely painful and cause you great discomfort.

Fentanyl

The Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal

The symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can range from mild to severe, depending on the frequency and length of time you were abusing the drug. Common symptoms associated with fentanyl withdrawal are similar to that of other opioids like heroin, oxycodone, or morphine. However, because this substance is much more potent, the symptoms of withdrawal may be more severe.

Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Excessive sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Abdominal cramps

While these symptoms are not life-threatening, some of them can lead to medical emergencies. For example, the combination of excessive sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting can lead to severe dehydration, or depression can become so severe that you develop self-harming behaviors or begin experiencing suicidal ideation.

The best way to detox from fentanyl is to get help from a drug detox center or another medical facility.

What is the Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline?

How long fentanyl withdrawal lasts varies from person to person depending on a variety of factors including:

  • The frequency in which you used fentanyl
  • How big of a dose you used each time
  • Your overall physical health
  • How long you were using fentanyl for
  • Whether you have any co-occurring mental or physical conditions
  • Whether you were using other substances along with fentanyl

There is a general timeline that most people follow. Symptoms of withdrawal typically begin within 12 hours of your last dose and resolve within a week. Unfortunately, you could develop a condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which causes you to experience symptoms of withdrawal past the usual timeline.

The fentanyl withdrawal timeline can be divided up into three phases:

Early Phase

Early symptoms typically begin 2 to 4 hours after your last dose. Symptoms may include excessive yawning, body aches, and chills. In other words, you may feel like you are sick with the flu.

You may also experience psychological symptoms like anxiety, restlessness, and cravings for fentanyl.

Peak Phase

During the peak phase of withdrawal, you will experience the most severe and concerning symptoms. This stage of withdrawal usually begins 24 to 36 hours after your last dose and could last for up to a week.

Peak symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal often include:

  • Yawning
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Cravings for fentanyl

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

While you should complete the detox process within a week, some individuals develop a condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). PAWS refers to symptoms of withdrawal for a longer period than usual, sometimes lasting for months. Because developing PAWS is always a possibility, you should always seek medical treatment if you are addicted to fentanyl.

The symptoms of PAWS could include:[2]

  • Anhedonia
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Depression
  • Pink cloud syndrome
  • Volatile mood disorders
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Feelings or actions of self-harm
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Insomnia

How is Fentanyl Withdrawal Treated?

Medical detox centers use several withdrawal management practices that help to soothe your symptoms of withdrawal. The goal is to ensure you do not experience severe symptoms that could motivate you to relapse.

It is important to note that detox is only the first step in addiction recovery, it should always be followed with inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.

Fentanyl detox treatments can reduce the pain and discomfort caused by fentanyl withdrawal by prescribing FDA-approved medications like buprenorphine, lofexidine, or methadone.

Medical detox centers in Massachusetts can offer:

  • A supervised environment that offers round-the-clock nursing care
  • Peer support and addiction education
  • Access to therapy and counseling services
  • Aftercare planning and support
  • Relapse prevention skills to use after completion of the program

Find a Fentanyl Detox Center in Massachusetts Today

If you or a loved one suffer from fentanyl addiction, do not attempt to quit on your own. Doing so could result in painful symptoms of withdrawal, causing you to relapse to soothe your symptoms.

Instead of attempting to go through this alone, consider asking for help. Woburn Wellness is a top-rated facility that can provide you with all of the tools and support you need to overcome fentanyl addiction safely and comfortably. We will connect you with a detox facility, arrange an individually-tailored treatment plan, and support you on your road to recovery. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/fentanyl/index.html
  2. https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS

Ready to Make a Change?

We know that overcoming addiction is not easy and requires courage to ask for help. At Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, our team of professionals has decades of combined experience in helping men, women, and families overcome substance abuse.

For Confidential Help, Call: