November 29, 2023

Fentanyl Detox: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

image representing long-term side effects of painkillers

Fentanyl detox is a process that involves purging the drug and its toxic metabolites from the system. For anyone wondering how to detox from fentanyl, the safest and most comfortable approach involves close medical supervision. Medically supervised detox mitigates complications and helps prevent relapse from disrupting early recovery.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller typically recommended for the management of acute and severe pain situations like ongoing cancer treatment or post-surgical recovery. Marketed under various brand names like Actiq and Sublimaze, fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Its mechanism of action involves targeting pain receptors and triggering the release of dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that plays a key role in mood regulation and enhancement.

While prescribed fentanyl serves a crucial medical purpose, prolonged and consistent usage may lead to opioid dependence, characterized by the development of a reliance on the drug for pain relief. The extended use of fentanyl, whether for legitimate medical reasons or otherwise, carries the risk of triggering intense withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.

This guide highlights issues that include:

  • What are the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms?
  • What to do for fentanyl withdrawal symptoms?
  • How long to detox from fentanyl?

Fentanyl Detox Symptoms

Need Help Getting
Addiction Treatment?

The severity of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, influenced by factors such as health and dosage. The symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include both physical and psychological effects. These can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Heavy sweating
  • General irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Sleepiness

Distinct symptoms manifest during each phase of detox from fentanyl. 

image representing fentanyl withdrawal timeline

Fentanyl Detox Timeline

How long does it take to detox from fentanyl, as well as the intensity of symptoms, are influenced by factors that include the specific formulation of fentanyl and individual variables. While timelines can differ, here is what to expect when detoxing from fentanyl.

Hours 8 to 30

Mild withdrawal symptoms normally present during this initial phase.

Hours 36 to 72

Physical symptoms peak during the most intense phase of withdrawal. 

Days 5 to 8

Primary withdrawal symptoms generally subside around this period, and individuals often begin to experience a sense of returning to normalcy. For some people, though, this process may last for a few weeks.

Several weeks or even months

A lingering phase of withdrawal may follow, characterized by a mix of residual physical symptoms like heightened sensitivity to pain, and various psychological symptoms – cravings, depression, sleep disturbances, irritability, and anxiety. This phase is described clinically as PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) or protracted withdrawal. In some cases, symptoms can persist for months or years.

If you are undergoing withdrawal or contemplating discontinuation of fentanyl, seek guidance from a medical professional for tailored support and management.

Fentanyl Detox Treatment

Fentanyl detox treatment helps ensure safety and comfort during the detoxification process. Medical detox for opioids is often the first phase in a comprehensive treatment plan. That said, detoxification alone is generally insufficient for sustaining long-term recovery. Following successful detox, ongoing treatment is essential for addressing the complex nature of fentanyl addiction. Comprehensive treatment plans may include:

  • Inpatient or residential treatment: Inpatient programs provide a highly structured environment with 24/7 medical and emotional support. They are especially beneficial for individuals with severe addictions or those facing challenges such as co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient programs enable people to receive treatment while living at home. These programs are suitable for those with a stable living environment and a lower risk of relapse.
  • Therapy and counseling: Individual and group therapy sessions are integral components of fentanyl addiction treatment. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is frequently indicated to address maladaptive thoughts and behaviors associated with addiction.
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment): Medications approved by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications may be prescribed to help manage cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Peer support and 12-step programs: Engaging in support groups like NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or participating in other peer support programs like SMART Recovery provides individuals with a sense of community and shared experience, fostering ongoing recovery.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment: For those with co-occurring mental health conditions, coordinated treatment that addresses both disorders simultaneously delivers the most positive treatment outcomes.
  • Aftercare and ongoing support: Establishing a robust aftercare plan is crucial for preventing relapse. Continuing support through counseling, support groups, and ongoing medical check-ups contributes to the maintenance of long-term recovery.

The treatment approach should be tailored to the person’s unique needs, considering factors such as the severity of addiction, mental health status, and overall well-being. The goal is to provide a comprehensive and personalized continuum of care to support individuals in their journey to recovery from fentanyl addiction.

An image of a woman using addiction hotline's to find fentanyl detox symptoms treatment

Call Addiction Hotline for Help Finding a Fentanyl Detox

Do you need help addressing fentanyl addiction in California? If so, calling Addiction Hotline at 855-701-0479 could be a valuable first step.

We can help you connect with medical detox centers, inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities, support groups, and healthcare providers throughout the state of California. All rehabs that we recommend utilize a blend of science-based and holistic treatments to help you unpack the physical and psychological aspects of opioid addiction.

Call toll-free at any time of day or night and speak with an experienced professional in complete confidence at 855-701-0479.

Want to learn more?

Table of Contents

Compassionate Care for Substance Abuse Treatment

Read More Blogs

image depicting depression and addiction
July 15, 2024

Depression and Addiction: What You Should Know

For many people, depression and addiction happen together. Living with these conditions or taking care of someone who has both

July 15, 2024

3 Ways to Manage Antidepressant Withdrawal

Antidepressant withdrawal can occur if you stop taking your antidepressant medication, especially all of a sudden. It can cause sickness,

image depicting the question how effective is rehab
July 15, 2024

Rehab Effectiveness: Stats & Facts

When deciding how effective is rehab, we need to understand that some drugs are harder to treat than others. Things

image depicting alcohol and pregnancy
June 27, 2024

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Alcohol and pregnancy do not mix. It’s not safe to drink any alcohol while pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

image depicting how to help someone with an addiction
June 24, 2024

How to Help Someone with an Addiction | 5 Steps

Working out how to help someone with an addiction is challenging, but timely treatment can lead to long-term recovery. This

group of people representing alcohol abuse counseling
June 27, 2024

What You Need to Know About Alcohol Abuse Counseling

Alcohol abuse counseling is a way to help treat alcohol use disorder. A counselor can give you guidance and support

Recent Articles

image depicting depression and addiction
July 15, 2024

Depression and Addiction: What You Should Know

For many people, depression and addiction happen together. Living with these conditions or taking care of someone who has both

July 15, 2024

3 Ways to Manage Antidepressant Withdrawal

Antidepressant withdrawal can occur if you stop taking your antidepressant medication, especially all of a sudden. It can cause sickness,

image depicting the question how effective is rehab
July 15, 2024

Rehab Effectiveness: Stats & Facts

When deciding how effective is rehab, we need to understand that some drugs are harder to treat than others. Things

image depicting alcohol and pregnancy
June 27, 2024

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Alcohol and pregnancy do not mix. It’s not safe to drink any alcohol while pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

image depicting how to help someone with an addiction
June 24, 2024

How to Help Someone with an Addiction | 5 Steps

Working out how to help someone with an addiction is challenging, but timely treatment can lead to long-term recovery. This

group of people representing alcohol abuse counseling
June 27, 2024

What You Need to Know About Alcohol Abuse Counseling

Alcohol abuse counseling is a way to help treat alcohol use disorder. A counselor can give you guidance and support