Fentanyl Withdrawal & Detox

Quitting fentanyl is not always easy. This opioid drug is highly addictive on physical and mental levels alike — detoxing from it can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If you want to stop abusing fentanyl, you should seek professional medical help to undergo a supervised drug detox. Though the anticipation of detox is often an impediment to sobriety, there are many ways that you can create a more comfortable detox experience for yourself and set yourself on the path to long-term recovery.
Like other narcotics, fentanyl is highly habit-forming. Even in the absence of addiction, fentanyl can cause physical dependence, which means that your body relies on it. In fact, once dependence has developed, you need increasing amounts of fentanyl to achieve the same effect.

At that point, your body becomes so accustomed to receiving regular doses of fentanyl that you will need to give it time to adjust to existing without the drug. During that period, your body will experience symptoms of withdrawal.

Fully detoxing from fentanyl can take several days. However, the symptoms vary throughout the entire process based on the stage of withdrawal you are experiencing.

Early symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Watery eyes
  • Sleep trouble
  • Irritability
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating

Late symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Large pupils
  • Goosebumps on skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
fentanyl withdrawal
Doctors can offer certain medications to help you manage symptoms of detox. However, for medications to be effective, they must be used in conjunction with appropriate psychotherapies.

The most common pharmaceuticals for opioid detox are as follows:

  • Methadone – This may be the most famous of all opioid detox medications. Methadone assists in the detox process and alleviates cravings in the long term. In cases of long-term methadone therapy, dosage may be tapered over a period of several years. Methadone should only be used for a long period of time if you have repeatedly endured detox.
  • Buprenorphine – Also known as the brand name Subutex, buprenorphine can help ease the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal and even help to shorten detox. It can be used for years on end. Like methadone, buprenorphine should only be used for a long period of time if you have repeatedly endured detox.
  • Clonidine – While this medication does not alleviate cravings, it can help reduce some physical and mental signs, including anxiety, irritation, body aches, and more.
  • Naltrexone – This medicine is used to prevent relapse. It reverses the effects of narcotics, and can be used as a life-saving tool in emergency medicine as well as detox.
Fentanyl withdrawal can be dangerous without medical supervision. Not only is home detox performed without medications that can help ease the transition into sobriety, it also does not offer the kind of support you would receive at a professional detox and treatment facility. Additionally, at-home detox is a much longer and more painful process than professional detox.
Fentanyl withdrawal can be done in two weeks or less with professional medical assistance. The process can be broken down into two stages. Each stage has its own set of symptoms.

The stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1 – The first time frame, which encompasses 1–2 days, is often the most difficult. This is when withdrawal symptoms are most severe. Symptoms usually begin within 6–12 hours of a person’s last fentanyl use.
  • Stage 2 – Once the most severe withdrawal symptoms have been alleviated, the addict enters the second and final stage of fentanyl withdrawal. This stage occurs 3–5 days after a person’s last fentanyl use. Discomfort has decreased from stage 1, but a lessened level of discomfort may linger for two weeks.
Though sudden (or “cold turkey”) withdrawal may be very uncomfortable, it is often effective. In addition to the common signs of fentanyl withdrawal, the cold turkey method can cause additional moodiness, constipation, dehydration, and hunger.
In some cases, fentanyl withdrawal-related problems can lead to death. Though death during detox is very rare, opioid deaths commonly occur right after detox. This happens if an addict returns to substance abuse and uses the same amount that they were using before detox. However, their body is no longer accustomed to that amount of fentanyl — death by overdose can occur.

After detox, it is crucial that you seek fentanyl addiction treatment. While ceasing drug use is certainly a step in the right direction, only experienced addiction treatment professionals can provide the kind of guidance you need to stay sober.

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Fentanyl Withdrwal & Detox
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Fentanyl Withdrwal & Detox was last modified: July 7th, 2017 by The Recovery Village