Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline
Apache. Dance fever. Friend. Goodfellas. Jackpot. Those are common street names for fentanyl. But the drug is anything but a friend, and nothing like hitting the jackpot.
Instead, it betrays individuals into thinking they are relaxed and safe. There is no cash reward, but the loss of money, broken relationships, and a cycle of drug abuse are left in its path.
Fentanyl is a medically prescribed opioid. Healthcare professionals use the painkiller to treat moderate to severe pain. It is also used for medical procedures that require sedation. Opioid use disorder can lead to an addiction that feels impossible to break up with. The dance becomes erratic movements and a downward spiral.
Opioid dependence, while treatable, does come with withdrawal symptoms. For most, there is a timeline for the withdrawal process. And while the severity of symptoms will differ from person to person and depend on the amount and frequency of substance abuse, there are some commonalities that individuals will share.
Continue reading to understand what to expect with fentanyl detox and withdrawal and how to treat it and drug dependency.
Symptoms and Causes of Fentanyl Withdrawal
Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal fall into two categories. There are common symptoms and severe symptoms.
Common symptoms may include:
- Muscle and bone aches and pains
- Stomach cramps
- Bouts of nausea and vomiting
- Sweating, chills, and goosebumps, or a combination of the three
- Runny nose
Severe symptoms may include:
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
- Intense cravings for the substance
- Mood swings
Because of fentanyl’s potency in managing pain, dependence can develop swiftly. This makes quitting the drug hard for many individuals.
Quitting cold turkey doesn’t work for most people because of the discomfort caused. Doing so in a controlled environment with trained medical professionals is essential.
How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Last?
The fentanyl withdrawal timeline will vary for each person. Typically, individuals can expect symptoms to start after 12 hours from the last use. Even though the first few days are the toughest, the acute phase can last several more weeks.
Each person’s underlying and preexisting health conditions affect how their body will respond to each withdrawal phase.
Fentanyl withdrawal can be a complex and lengthy process. When starting this journey to recovery, it is critical to note that withdrawal symptoms begin within 12 hours of your last dose and peak within 1-3 days. The symptoms can be very intense during this time, but they will subside with time. Patience is the key.
It is imperative to remember that fentanyl withdrawal should not be attempted without medical help. Withdrawal from fentanyl can be dangerous and life-threatening if not done safely and in a supervised setting.
This phase begins a few days to a week after the last use. The worst and more severe physical symptoms occur during this phase. The thing people need during this phase is emotional support and the guidance of medical professionals who understand opioid withdrawal symptoms and substance use disorders.
Some of the physical symptoms of withdrawal set in at this point. The psychological symptoms, including cravings, changes in sleep patterns, irritability, and anxiousness, continue for most individuals. For some, this phase lasts weeks or months, but others have reported experiencing them for up to a year into recovery.
Factors That Impact Withdrawal Duration
Some individual factors impact fentanyl withdrawal and the process for withdrawal management:
- Dosage – Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids available. The amount an individual takes in a dose will determine the impact. As you probably guessed, the more a person takes, the more severe the withdrawal.
- Duration and frequency of use – The longer a person uses fentanyl, the more the body adapts to its presence. While this lengthens the withdrawal process, it doesn’t make it impossible.
- Age – Younger individuals can metabolize substances quicker than older individuals. This makes the withdrawal duration shorter for them.
- Physiology – Genetic makeup can interfere with opioid receptors. That can alter the effects of drug dependency, impacting withdrawal symptoms and their severity.
- Mental health – Individuals with poor mental health, including disorders such as anxiety and depression, find it difficult to stop abusing substances. The withdrawal symptoms can also be tough to endure when going at it on their own.
Managing Fentanyl Withdrawal
For individuals struggling with fentanyl addiction and withdrawal, we offer comprehensive programs that target all aspects of recovery. The Summit Wellness Group does this in a structured yet flexible manner.
Medically-assisted detox benefits our physically dependent clients, who experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t abuse the substance.
This treatment approach provides a safe and supervised environment where our clients can detoxify from substance use and manage the symptoms that arise. This is the first step to treatment and is essential for long-term recovery.
During detox, our clients gain physical freedom from substances in a relaxing environment surrounded by experts. Our detox services and professional drug rehab treatment center help clients safely navigate the withdrawal process while ensuring comfort and stability – thus significantly improving the chances of maintaining sobriety.
While in medical detox at The Summit Wellness Group, our treatment team provides the necessary support and medical care for fentanyl addiction. In the case of severe addictions, we can provide medication-assisted treatment to help individuals navigate withdrawal symptoms.
Fentanyl Withdrawal Medications
Methadone and buprenorphine, as well as Suboxone — a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone — may be prescribed long-term to help keep cravings under control while transitioning into recovery. Doing so reduces the risk of overdose.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Programs
For individuals struggling with fentanyl use, we offer comprehensive programs that target all aspects of recovery.
Our day treatment is completed through a partial hospitalization program (PHP). This is the highest level of care we offer. This program requires that our clients spend at least 30 hours a week in our substance abuse treatment program and return home afterward.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
Our intensive outpatient program (IOP) is flexible as it only requires 9 hours, split into three days a week at one of our two facilities. We have a day and an evening program to fit your schedule best, making it easy to incorporate into your week.
The duration and frequency of this program depend upon the individual at the direction of their therapist. IOP works best for individuals who need a more extensive treatment plan than traditional outpatient services but not residential care.
Sober Living Homes
Our sober living program is ideal for those who need to be surrounded by a support system for people with similar disorders. Housing is close to our treatment facilities for convenience.
For most clients, sober living homes are the next step following release from an inpatient program. Sober living homes provide a highly structured program overseen by our treatment team.
Fentanyl Withdrawl FAQ
- Are there any permanent side effects of fentanyl withdrawal?
Since the duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary for each person, there isn’t a specific timeframe for how long they will last. Some people are free of withdrawals in weeks, while others might take years. Also, underlying or preexisting medical conditions and mental disorders can make recovery longer for others.
- What is fentanyl withdrawal trauma?
Long-term fentanyl use causes changes in the brain. When this happens, it can take individuals a long time to recover from all acute withdrawal symptoms. This extended period is known as withdrawal trauma.
- How many people have died from fentanyl overdoses?
In 2021, the National Institute of Health reported 70,601 fentanyl-related overdose deaths.
- When and where did fentanyl originate?
As far back as 1979, drug dealers have been using illicitly made fentanyl-like drugs. The current epidemic has expanded globally, with the majority of street fentanyl made in Mexico with chemicals from China.
- What happens when you take fentanyl with other opioids?
When individuals take fentanyl with prescription painkillers, heroin, and other synthetic opioids, the risk of overdose increases.
Getting Help for Fentanyl Withdrawal
If you or a loved one are addicted to fentanyl, seeking help as soon as possible is essential. Withdrawal can be difficult and potentially dangerous if not managed properly. Rehabilitation and treatment programs can help with both physical and psychological side effects. Professional support can also provide the tools and resources to help sustain recovery. Seeking help is the best way to break the cycle of addiction and start on the path to recovery.
The Summit Wellness Group admissions process begins with an initial medical evaluation and assessment. After that, we develop your treatment plans, including medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, or both. Speaking to one of our caring team members is vital to determining the best action and starting recovery. Contact us now by calling (770) 299-1677 or visiting our Atlanta or Roswell offices.