Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Fentanyl is one of the most powerful opioids. With a potency that’s 100 times stronger than morphine, fentanyl use comes with a strong risk of addiction and overdose. Taking fentanyl for surgery or severe pain under a doctor’s orders is the safest way to use it. But whether you use fentanyl recreationally or therapeutically, you can quickly develop a painkiller addiction. One of the signs that you are dependent on or addicted to fentanyl is that you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it. Anxiety about fentanyl withdrawal symptoms may even make you hesitate to seek help. Understanding fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can help you recognize an addiction and learn what to expect during detox.

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What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Typically, your body produces chemicals that help you regulate physical pain and intense emotions. When you start using fentanyl, the drug takes over some of those tasks. The levels of natural feel-good chemicals drop, and you need the fentanyl to feel normal.

When you stop using fentanyl, your body doesn’t know how to handle the new chemical-free environment. Initially, your systems will be thrown off, and you’ll experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Some of these withdrawal symptoms are also related to the fact that your reward pathways don’t work as well as they did before you started using fentanyl. It’s difficult to find strategies for relieving your distress. But time and treatment can help you get through withdrawal so that your body begins to heal and return to its fentanyl-free state.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are dependent on fentanyl, you will likely experience some of the following withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Body pains
  • Low mood

You may also experience intense cravings. Your body is used to operating with the chemical in your system. Using the drug again will abolish the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal. However, it will keep you trapped in the cycle of addiction.

The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal symptoms don’t last forever. Support and guidance can help you get through fentanyl withdrawal.

The intensity of your symptoms varies depending on your history with fentanyl. People who have been taking frequent, high doses are more likely to be dependent than those who take smaller, lower doses. Therefore, they usually have more intense symptoms, and their fentanyl withdrawal timeline may be longer.

Early Withdrawal

Within 6 to 12 hours of your last fentanyl dose, you will probably start to experience symptoms. At first, you may yawn a lot and feel mildly uncomfortable. You may feel like you’re coming down with the flu, feeling fatigued and achy.

At the same time, you may feel restless. Cravings during this stage of withdrawal are intense and persistent. You may feel as though you have no choice but to use fentanyl again. Remembering that this stage peaks around 48 to 72 hours can help you get through this intense time.

Post-Peak Withdrawal

After the initial withdrawal stage, your symptoms will begin to subside. Just like when you recover from a virus, you’ll probably still feel run down. However, your symptoms become more manageable during this stage.

Self-care is crucial during this stage. It’s also a good time to start exploring coping strategies to help you sustain your recovery.

Recovery isn’t always linear. Some days are better than others. Your symptoms may fluctuate over time. Therefore, it’s important to have a plan for the hard days and celebrate the easeful ones.

Long-Term Withdrawal

Psychological withdrawal symptoms can last for months after you detox from fentanyl. You may still have cravings. Certain situations may trigger strong emotions. Working with a mental health professional will help you understand what’s going on. With practice, you’ll become more adept at using coping strategies to manage long-term withdrawal strategies so that your fentanyl addiction remains a thing of the past.

How to Get Through Fentanyl Withdrawal

You don’t have to go through withdrawal alone, and you can take measures to minimize the discomfort of detox. Coping with withdrawal is crucial to your recovery. Unmanaged fentanyl withdrawal often leads to relapse, which poses a greater risk of overdose for people who have stopped taking it. If your body has gotten used to a drug-free state, a smaller dose of fentanyl than you were used to taking could be fatal.

It’s important to be in a safe, comfortable environment where you have no access to fentanyl or other illicit drugs. Surround yourself with people who will help take care of your needs and support your goal of sobriety. Attending an inpatient addiction treatment center can help you get through every stage of fentanyl recovery successfully.

Treat yourself as you would care for a sick loved one. Rest and stay hydrated. You may not be able to stomach more than sips of fluid or popsicles. However, it’s important to nourish yourself as well as you can.

Medically assisted treatment can help relieve some of the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal. High levels of dependence often require individuals to wean off of the drug gradually. Some medications influence your opioid receptors and minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms while reducing dependency issues.

You may also relieve some symptoms and address co-occurring disorders with sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs and anti-nausea medications. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that it’s safe to take these medications, however.

Treatment for Long-Term Recovery

While it’s important to have access to treatment during fentanyl withdrawal, it’s essential to continue seeking support throughout your recovery. This looks different for someone who is coming out of detox compared with someone who is moving toward living on their own.

Burning Tree programs support you as you move through every stage of recovery. In addition to inpatient therapy and treatment for co-occurring disorders, we offer a continuum of care. We will help you build the skills that are necessary to get past fentanyl withdrawal and pave your way toward a long-term recovery.

Find an Inpatient Rehab Program Now

We are here to help you through every aspect of recovery. Call our admissions team to find the best for long-term recovery.

(866) 287-2877


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