Fentanyl Withdrawal & Detox
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Last Updated - 1/17/2023View our editorial policy
Fentanyl withdrawal can be painful and even dangerous, so it’s always recommended to seek assistance from a healthcare professional.
Not only is fentanyl incredibly addictive psychologically, but it’s also easy to become physically dependent on the drug. This happens when your body gets used to the presence of the drug, so you cannot function normally without it. If you have become dependent on fentanyl, you may not even feel its effects when taking it, but you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug.
It’s important to avoid letting the thought of withdrawal symptoms prevent you from addressing a substance use disorder. With treatment, symptoms can be managed comfortably and safely.
Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
Some withdrawal symptoms of fentanyl include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Sleep problems
- Cold flashes with goosebumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Severe cravings
Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline
The withdrawal symptom timeline will not be the same for every person. However, here is a general overview of the timeline for most people:
- The first phase of fentanyl withdrawal typically lasts for one to two days. It can begin within 12 hours after using fentanyl for the last time. During this phase, people may experience sweating, achiness, insomnia and anxiety.
- During the second phase of fentanyl withdrawal, symptoms may begin to worsen. This usually lasts for one to two days.
- During the third phase of fentanyl withdrawal, the person is likely to feel more comfortable, though there may still be some persistent symptoms. This can occur anywhere from three to five days after the person used fentanyl for the last time.
Medication for Withdrawal Symptoms
During withdrawal treatment, people typically convert to medication-assisted therapy (MAT) medications like methadone or Suboxone to safely get off opioids. Methadone and Suboxone are narcotics that prevent a person from getting high, and also stop withdrawal symptoms.
Other medications are sometimes used to treat specific withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms and their appropriate treatments include:
- Insomnia: Temazepam or promethazine
- Nausea: Metoclopramide or prochlorperazine
- Abdominal cramps: Hyoscine
- Diarrhea: Kaolin or loperamide
- Headache: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Fentanyl Detox Options
How does one safely detox from fentanyl? The best course of action is to find a treatment center like The Recovery Village Columbus that offers medically-supervised detox programs and inpatient treatment programs that the patient can begin immediately after detox. While detox addresses the physical aspects of addiction, a treatment program is needed to address the mental, emotional and psychological aspects of addiction.
- Detoxing from Fentanyl at home: Detoxing from fentanyl at home can be difficult. Without medical supervision, withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be overwhelming, impairing your recovery.
- Quitting cold turkey: Quitting cold turkey, or suddenly stopping opioid use, is not recommended. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings are likely, which can trigger a relapse.
- Professional detox: A medically supervised detox can treat withdrawal symptoms as they occur and offer you MAT to reduce the risk of cravings. Medically supervised detox is also recommended if you struggle with more than one substance or have underlying medical or mental health conditions.
Finding Help for Fentanyl Withdrawal & Detox
Detoxing from fentanyl on your own is not recommended. Having the assistance of the medical professionals at The Recovery Village Columbus can ensure that you avoid relapsing while finding the right treatment solution for you.
If you or someone you love is suffering from a fentanyl use disorder, it’s crucial that you get help right away. Fentanyl addiction is not only destructive, but it is life-threatening. Take back control of your life and get the treatment you deserve.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Opioid addiction.” MedlinePlus, November 1, 2017. Accessed November 29, 2021.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Fentanyl DrugFacts.” June 2021. Accessed November 29, 2021.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine. “The ASAM National Practice Guideline for[…] 2020 Focused Update.” 2020. Accessed December 12, 2021.
World Health Organization (WHO). “Withdrawal Management.” Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings, 2009. Accessed November 29, 2021.