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Fentanyl Detox & Withdrawal Symptoms

Fentanyl detox and withdrawal symptoms can be grueling, so much so that many people who try to detox on their own end up relapsing just to stop the pain and discomfort. It’s never a good idea to attempt to detox cold turkey on your own from any substance for which you’ve developed a tolerance and physical dependence. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can be very dangerous. Some research finds it can even be fatal. Fentanyl detoxification should always happen in a medical setting.

What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal Like?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug used for pain management. Opioid drugs can have difficult withdrawals without medical oversight. Fentanyl comes in the form of a prescription medication, but it can also be bought on the streets illegally. Fentanyl detox can be difficult, and physical symptoms can be painful.

If you’re addicted to fentanyl, you will likely experience opioid withdrawal syndrome when you quit taking the drug. This is a set of withdrawal symptoms that may occur over the first few days of fentanyl detox. Some of these symptoms may linger for several weeks or months, like sleep and stomach issues, as well as mental health symptoms.

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms due to opioid dependence may include:

  • Cravings for opioids
  • Runny nose
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heart rate
  • Excessive sweating or “the chills”
  • Hypothermia
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Aches in your muscles and bones
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach cramps

When you abruptly stop taking opioids, you can experience severe withdrawal symptoms. This process is known as quitting “cold turkey,” and it can be very difficult to manage without professional help. The safest and most comfortable way to detox from fentanyl is under the care of physicians and nurses who can help ease withdrawal symptoms and intervene if there’s a medical emergency.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and their duration vary by individual. The time it takes to detox from the effects of fentanyl depends on factors like:  

  • Your physical health and makeup
  • How much fentanyl you usually take
  • How long you’ve been using fentanyl
  • What form the fentanyl was in and how it was ingested (pill, powdered, intravenously, snorted)
  • If there’s any polydrug use, meaning you’re also using other drugs or alcohol
  • If you have co-occurring disorders like mental illness or medical conditions

While no one can predict how long fentanyl withdrawal will take for you, typically withdrawal symptoms peak in about a day or two and then slowly taper off.  A general timeline for opioid withdrawal is:  

Phase One

During the first 12 hours of fentanyl withdrawal, you will experience flu-like symptoms as your central nervous system recognizes the absence of opioids and starts trying to function without them. Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal will grow more uncomfortable and painful over the next one to two days.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms may include:  

  • Flu-like symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and runny nose
  • Intense cravings for opioids
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety, irritability, and agitation
  • Feeling like you’re going to “jump out of your skin,” restlessness
  • Sweating or the chills
  • Cramping and muscle aches

Phase Two

About three to five days into fentanyl detox, your brain begins rebalancing itself. Severe fentanyl withdrawal symptoms typically subside, but you may still experience lingering flu-like symptoms.

Phase Three

In the weeks and months after you quit fentanyl, your brain continues to repair the damage done to its chemicals and signaling system. Fentanyl depleted your brain’s natural supply of chemicals like dopamine. It must now learn to produce dopamine on its own. It is normal to experience some mental health symptoms because dopamine is one of the chemicals tied to mood and motivation.

During phase three of the fentanyl withdrawal timeline, you may experience symptoms such as:  

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low mood
  • Poor sleep
  • Apathy

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

Though a high from fentanyl can last around four hours, the drug can be detected in your body for days, weeks, or months after ingesting it. In general, drug tests can detect fentanyl in your system for these durations:

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Why It’s Crucial to Detox from Fentanyl with Medical Help

The importance of detox in a medical setting cannot be stressed enough. It’s not worth the risk of detoxing from fentanyl on your own. Withdrawal symptoms can be painful and dangerous, and your chances of relapsing are very high. Undergoing the process in a fentanyl detox center won’t make withdrawing comfortable, but it will make completing your detox program much more bearable and more likely to succeed.

In a medical detox program like the one at Vogue Recovery Center, you receive:

  • 24/7 medical care from nurses and detox specialists
  • Medical monitoring from a physician
  • Medications that ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • Medical professionals to intervene in case of an emergency
  • Regular monitoring of your vital signs and comfort level

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may involve you taking other prescribed medications that can help the withdrawal process. Methadone, Suboxone, and buprenorphine are three common ones. They work to stimulate the same receptors in your brain and either limit the opioid’s ability to activate the receptor or block it entirely. This helps alleviate the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal and makes the process more comfortable.

These drugs should only be used under the supervision of certified addiction treatment professionals. A consultation with a treatment center can determine if medically supervised detox is the right course of action for you.

Stages of Fentanyl Treatment

Opioid abuse is one of many addictions we treat at Vogue Recovery Center. Our treatment center is known for effective and engaging treatment, and we’ve seen thousands of clients reclaim their lives from drugs and alcohol. We’ll help you or a loved one safely detox from fentanyl abuse and receive the treatment you need for long-term recovery. Our treatment staff are not just addiction experts; they are compassionate and invested in your recovery.

Our goal is to craft a unique recovery plan for every client we assist. We tailor your recovery plan to your needs and your pace. Our treatment programs are evidence-based, and we offer a full continuum of care that includes treatment options that help you recover in stages:

  • Medically assisted opioid detox – Detox involves ridding the body of all substances. The medical team at Vogue Recovery Center oversees the process so it’s safe and comfortable. How long detox takes depends on each case. The detox staff is on hand 24/7 to offer assistance throughout the process.
  • Inpatient treatment – Inpatient or residential rehab is the most comprehensive stage of addiction recovery. It involves living full-time at a recovery center, attending group and individual therapy sessions and other treatment programs. Residential treatment addresses all aspects of addiction, from trauma to triggers and how to deal with them in a constructive way. It also allows you to begin building a support system of counselors and peers who can help in the future.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP) – In a PHP you spend six or more hours per day at a treatment center, continuing to develop skills and coping mechanisms. You live at home during this time and are encouraged to apply your newly learned skills to everyday life.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP) – An IOP is focused on helping you make the transition back into your everyday life. You live at home and may only attend programs at the rehab facility a few times per week. You can continue building on the network of support you developed in recovery. That support can be key in relapse prevention.
  • Outpatient treatment – As you continue to the outpatient stage of fentanyl treatment, visits to the rehab facility may only happen once or twice per week. Outpatient care is focused on applying the skills learned in recovery to help aid in relapse prevention when you’re faced with triggers in the future. Treatment staff are still available around the clock should you need extra support. They can also assist with aftercare and finding sober living options.
  • Sober living residences – Sober living homes are a place where those in recovery can live while they work on sobriety. Everyone in a sober living environment is committed to being 100% drug- and alcohol-free. That sense of camaraderie can give you confidence you aren’t alone as you work to end fentanyl abuse.

Through each stage of recovery, you get more independence, taking what you’ve learned and applying it during everyday life.

What Is Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Like?

Fentanyl is extremely addictive. After you detox from fentanyl, participation in a structured addiction treatment program is a must. Without addressing the underlying issues that fuel your substance abuse and learning healthy coping skills to manage your triggers, relapse is very likely.

Treatment for Fentanyl may include:

  • Individual and group therapy to address the role substances play in your life and what issues or emotions you’re self-medicating with them
  • Psychiatric care to address co-occurring mental illness (also known as dual diagnosis)
  • Behavioral therapy to help you identify and manage unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that feed addiction
  • Family therapy or couples therapy as appropriate so you and your loved ones can work through difficult topics and learn how to better support each other
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help prevent cravings and withdrawal symptoms, so you can focus on treatment and getting better
  • Proven addiction treatment approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Holistic approaches that help heal mind, body, and spirit, like yoga, art therapy, music therapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), nutrition counseling, recreational therapy, and spiritual work
  • Introduction to 12-step groups or alternatives like SMART Recovery
  • Continuing care plan for life after treatment

Will Insurance Cover Fentanyl Treatment?

Insurance companies must cover behavioral health conditions like chemical dependency in similar ways as medical conditions. Your insurance may pay for all or a portion of fentanyl detox programs and treatment in a drug rehab center. Most insurance providers designate drug detox as a medical necessity and may cover much of addiction recovery. It depends on your particular plan and benefits. Paying for treatment should never hold someone back from getting help. To determine your coverage for detox and substance abuse treatment, call our treatment advisors, who can provide a free benefits check.

Our admissions process is compassionate and simple. Call us to determine the best program for your needs and life situation. The consultation is free and confidential. Our clinical assessment team can verify your insurance and create a treatment program that meets your needs.

Opioids like fentanyl are responsible for thousands of overdose deaths each year. If you or a loved one is showing fentanyl addiction signs, don’t wait to get help. Vogue Recovery Center can Help you through the withdrawal process and on to a better life.

Kelsey Jones vrc az

Medically Reviewed by Kelsey Jones, MS, LPC

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