Fentanyl Detox Timeline & Withdrawal Symptoms

Last Updated on November 20, 2023
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Writer: Adam Zagha
Clinical Reviewer: Ariana Gravanis

In the midst of an opioid epidemic, where challenges like opioid use disorder and fentanyl withdrawal pose significant challenges for families, withdrawal symptoms and detox from fentanyl can be scary; however, we are here to discuss withdrawal management and addiction treatment for those suffering from fentanyl abuse.

Numa Recovery Centers understands and acknowledges how tough fentanyl withdrawal can be. This article aims to help by managing expectations for fentanyl withdrawal and providing insight into fentanyl abuse. Continue reading to find out more information.

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Fentanyl Detox Timeline

A common question for people getting sober from fentanyl is "How long does it take to detox from fentanyl?". This is a very valid concern regarding opioid withdrawal.

The timeline for opioid and opiate detox, specifically fentanyl detox, is individually unique, shaped by factors such as the extent of opioid dependency, the duration of the substance abuse, and the person's overall health.

The initial withdrawal stage begins in the first 24-72 hours after the last dose. This stage includes early symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal, like anxiety, restlessness, and such.

The peak stage typically starts from day 3 to day 5. This is when the severe withdrawal symptoms start to surface. It not only includes intense physical symptoms but also involves psychological symptoms like depression and mood swings.

Then comes the subsiding withdrawal stage ranging from day 6 to day 14. This is when the body starts to adapt to the absence of the drug, and the individual might start to feel pain relief while the psychological symptoms start to lessen as well.

The final stage is the post-acute withdrawal syndrome which lasts for weeks to months. This syndrome, known as PAWS, is the last part of the recovery process. The withdrawal symptoms of this stage can include deep cravings for the drug, along with insomnia, mood disturbances, and cognitive difficulties.

Common Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Like any other opioid withdrawal symptoms, the withdrawal symptoms of misusing fentanyl are intense and uncomfortable. These symptoms occur as the person is often both physically and psychologically dependent on the drug.

It should be noted that detoxing from fentanyl should be done at a treatment center since unsupervised detox may put your safety at risk. The withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Muscle Pain

  • Nausea

  • Increased sensitivity

  • Dizziness

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Flu-like Symptoms

  • Depression

  • Intense Cravings

  • Goose-bumps

  • Dilated Pupils

  • Yawning

  • Restlessness

How Long Do Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Opioid addiction can be extremely difficult to deal with, especially when facing the need to detox for a drug test. Typically, healthcare professionals can detect fentanyl in urine for up to 72 hours after the last dose. However, the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can last for up to weeks or months, depending on the severity of the addiction.

In general, the withdrawal symptoms begin during the first few hours, peaking around the third or fifth day. With professional medication-assisted treatment and withdrawal management, the symptoms do end up getting better, but they may not fully go away.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms tend to linger for weeks, or even months at times, depending on the level of physical and psychological dependence on the drug.

Recovery can be at a different pace for everyone, as recovery is not a linear process. Usually, it takes 7 to 10 days to detox from fentanyl, but taking into account the statement mentioned previously, it could take more or less time for the effects of withdrawal to subside.

Home Detoxing from Fentanyl

Substance abuse is often a very serious issue to deal with. The effects of opioid withdrawal can be uncomfortable and hard for not just the individual going through it, but for those around them as well.

Seeking professional support at a treatment center is recommended for detoxing from fentanyl rather than attempting it alone at home, as breaking an addiction to opioids is extremely difficult. Furthermore, detoxing at home increases the risk of overdose if the person relapses and resumes fentanyl use after detoxing.

To prevent relapse, it's recommended to undergo medical detox at a licensed facility. Professionals at these designated facilities are equipped to provide appropriate care for the withdrawal phase while having a safe experience.

Medical Detoxing from Fentanyl

Medical detox programs refer to a structured process that involves addiction treatment programs and withdrawal management. It is supervised by medical professionals to ensure optimal service and safety.

Typically, a medical detox can take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting, depending on what the individual chooses. Medical detox at a designated facility often focuses on the physical and emotional aspects of opioid withdrawal.

A comprehensive detox program may involve things like counseling, family therapy, or support groups to help deal with withdrawal management.

Medical detox can also involve the use of a partial opioid agonist, which is a drug that acts as a replacement to help the body return to its normal functioning. It can reduce fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and help stabilize your condition.

Detoxing alone isn't beneficial because if someone quits cold turkey, it could lead to even more complications since the person has a physical dependence on the drug. There are different options for detox available depending on what is most suitable to the individual's circumstances.

NUMA Recovery Centers also offers distinct rehabilitation and detox plans that provide a range of therapies and approaches to deal with addiction as a long-term process.

About Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl abuse is a serious and potentially life-threatening issue. The risk of overdosing is very high and has left a devastating impact on the community.

It's mainly given for medication purposes for patients experiencing severe pain, like cancer patients and those undergoing surgery. Typically, it's only used when other methods of pain relief don't prove to be efficient.

Fentanyl is a dangerous drug to be taken with the intent of abusing it. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can be very hard to tackle and can be associated with several other risks like overdose and physical dependence.

Fentanyl abuse usually appears in the form of polydrug use, meaning that it's taken with multiple other substances simultaneously. This also increases the risk of unpredictable outcomes and adds complexity to reducing the harm caused by it as well.

Though fentanyl is similar to other drugs like heroin and morphine, it's almost 50 to 100 times stronger, making it more dangerous. Statistics have shown that 7 out of every 10 overdose deaths can be attributed to the use of opioids.

The federal data shows that over 1 million people have died as a result of overdose and drug abuse, many due to fentanyl. This shows how dangerous and harsh the drug can be to those who don't use it in the way it's intended to be used.

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Side Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Just as there are symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal, there are also side effects linked to the drug's use as well. While many turn to opioids for their perceived benefits, it's important to acknowledge the negatives associated with opioid use disorder. However, attempting detox drugs from home is generally not recommended for individuals addressing opioid use disorder.

It's essential to note that substance abuse can lead to serious health consequences, even while you're actively using your drug or drugs of choice. These side effects include:

  • Respiratory Issues: When using fentanyl, breathing may become low and shallow, leading to decreased oxygen levels in the bloodstream. It can also lead to respiratory failure.

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting can be associated with fentanyl use, and can be an uncomfortable feeling and can lead to dehydration.

  • Constipation: Constipation during opioid use is a common occurrence. This is due to the drug slowing the movement of stool in the bowel and increasing the absorption of fluid from the bowel.

  • Dizziness and Confusion: A person using opioids may become disoriented, causing them to lose the capability of making rational decisions.

  • Cognitive Impairment: Those who use opioids may experience problems with cognitive functioning, leading to issues like memory loss, low attention span, and other cognitive issues.

  • Tolerance and Dependence: Opioid abuse can lead to the user developing a tolerance, effectively causing them to consume higher amounts of the drug for the same intended effect. This also leads to the person developing a physical and psychological dependence on the drug, making it harder to overcome the addiction.

  • Social and Behavioural Consequences: Fentanyl and general opioid use can lead to social isolation, strained relationships, financial problems, difficulties at work and school, and even legal issues.

  • Increased Sensitivity: Hyperalgesia, or increased sensitivity to pain, can be a significant side effect of fentanyl abuse.

  • Overdosing: The risk of overdose is always present when using fentanyl. This is especially due to tolerance of the drug, causing the individual to take higher doses. However, due to its potency, even small amounts can lead to an overdose, causing serious complications or even death.

Can NUMA Recovery Centers Help with Fentanyl Detoxing?

Struggling with fentanyl withdrawal and detox can be a struggle for both the addicted individual and their loved ones. NUMA Recovery Centers stands as a beacon of hope for those battling substance abuse.

The staff at NUMA Recovery Centers are well-equipped to provide effective support during this challenging period. We offer a safe and controlled environment to help the individual feel at ease, both emotionally and physically, during the fentanyl detox process.

We also provide personalized treatment plans, along with 24/7 supervision, that fulfill every requirement for a successful recovery process. Furthermore, the plan extends to aftercare that goes beyond the initial detoxification.

We recognize that the journey is an ongoing one, and that's why we make sure we provide peer support and other therapeutic modalities, like counseling and behavioral therapy.

For comprehensive fentanyl detoxing support and a path to recovery, we urge you to reach out. Contact us today for assistance in your recovery and to take the first step in reclaiming your life.

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Adam Zagha
Adam Zagha is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles with over a decade of experience in addiction treatment and recovery. He holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and is certified in EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, and ACT. Prior to Numa Recovery Centers, Adam was CFO and the Director of Clinical Outreach at Transcend Recovery Community. Adam is committed to providing top-quality care to individuals seeking treatment for addiction and mental health issues. He also provides trainings and workshops on addiction, mental health, and mindfulness.
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Numa Recovery Centers is a leading drug and alcohol detox and rehab company based in Los Angeles, providing evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and addiction. With a team of experienced professionals, Numa offers a comprehensive range of personalized services to help clients overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery.
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