How to Detox From Fentanyl: The Timeline Explained

how to detox from fentanyl

Do you struggle with addiction? If so, you’re not alone. After all, substance abuse affects millions of families every year in the United States. This includes addiction to fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is prescribed for the treatment of severe pain. It’s also a highly addictive drug that can lead to dependence and addiction.

Here we walk you through the timeline of how to detox from fentanyl. This includes the symptoms and stages of withdrawal. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It’s similar to morphine but many times stronger. The primary use is to manage severe pain. This includes pain from cancer treatment or surgery.

It binds to opioid receptors located in the brain and central nervous system. This helps to reduce the sensation of pain in the body.

Because of its potency, it is also a drug that’s easily abused. It can cause feelings of euphoria and relaxation, making it attractive to those seeking a high.

This type of abuse can lead to dependence and addiction, which can have serious consequences for physical and mental health.

Fentanyl Addiction

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that between 2011 and 2016, the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the United States increased by over 1,000%.

That’s not all. The problem is getting worse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), synthetic opioids (including fentanyl) were involved in over 60% of all opioid overdose deaths in the United States in 2020.

Fentanyl addiction can develop rapidly, and tolerance to the drug can build quickly. This can lead to people needing higher and higher doses of fentanyl to achieve the same effects, which can increase the risk of overdose and death.

Thus you can see the need for quality fentanyl addiction treatment.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for fentanyl withdrawal varies. The exact timeline is different for each person and depends on a number of factors. This includes the duration and intensity of use, the method of use, and individual differences in metabolism and physiology.

Here we break the timeline for fentanyl withdrawal down into several stages.

Stage 1: Early Withdrawal (Days 1-3)

The first stage of withdrawal typically begins within 12-30 hours after the last dose. It lasts for 1-3 days. During this stage, the individual may experience the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Yawning
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Stage 2: Peak Withdrawal (Days 3-5)

The second stage of withdrawal usually begins around day 3. It lasts for 2-4 days. During this stage, the individual may experience the most intense and uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goosebumps and chills
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Stage 3: Subsiding Withdrawal (Days 5-7)

The third stage of withdrawal begins around day 5. It can last up to a week. During this stage, the individual may still experience some symptoms. Fortunately, they are typically less severe than in the previous stage.

Symptoms may include:

  • Continued muscle aches and pains
  • Continued restlessness and anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Depression

Stage 4: Post-Acute Withdrawal (Weeks to Months)

After your acute withdrawal symptoms subside, you may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms often continue for weeks or months.

These symptoms may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Cravings for fentanyl or other drugs
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly

Detoxing from Fentanyl

Detoxing from fentanyl can be a challenging and uncomfortable process. And yet this process is necessary to break the cycle of addiction and begin the road to recovery.

Here’s a guide to detoxing from fentanyl safely and effectively:

Seek Professional Help

Detoxing from fentanyl can be dangerous. This is especially true for those who have been using the drug for a long time or in high doses. It is important to seek professional help.

The best strategy is to look for a medical detox center or addiction treatment facility in your area.

These facilities have trained medical staff who can monitor your progress and provide medication-assisted treatment to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

Gradual Tapering

For individuals who have been using fentanyl for an extended period, a gradual tapering approach may be necessary. This involves slowly reducing the dosage of fentanyl over a period of weeks or months, under the supervision of a medical professional.

The right approach can help minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted involves the use of medications like buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone. These medications are effective at managing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 

MAT is often used in combination with behavioral therapy to help individuals manage their addiction and improve their chances of long-term recovery.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy can help individuals identify the underlying causes of their addiction and develop coping strategies to manage cravings and triggers.

This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or other forms of psychotherapy.

A Guide on How to Detox from Fentanyl

The process to detox from any type of addiction is challenging. The key is to first understand how to detox from fentanyl. Then you should find a recovery facility with trained and experienced staff who can guide you every step of the way.

Please contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of the admissions counselors at Living Stones Recovery.