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Withdrawal from Fentanyl: 5 Things You Should Know

In America, many drug addictions begin with an accident or medical procedure. Your doctor has prescribed an opioid painkiller to help you manage your pain but failed to provide a way to detox from the drug. Others accidentally become exposed to fentanyl and become hooked.

This has left you with an intense physical dependency and no other options. 

Fentanyl-related overdoses have increased by 59% since 2019, making this dangerous addiction an epidemic. Your addiction to opioids does not need to be fatal, however. Withdrawal from fentanyl is safe and possible with the proper support. 

No matter how your addiction began, there is help for you at our Ventura County substance abuse treatment center. We’ve created this guide to teach you five essential facts about withdrawing from fentanyl that could save your life. 

Read on to learn more about opioids and withdrawal. 

1. The Length of Withdrawal Isn’t Standard

There are numerous ways to take fentanyl, ranging from powder to patches. Some individuals believe they’re taking heroin but are actually using (and becoming dependent on) fentanyl. How you use the drug and the severity of your addiction can impact the amount of time it takes to withdraw and detox.

Genetics and underlying health conditions can also play a role. Therefore, it’s difficult to describe a “standard” trajectory for fentanyl detox. 

In general, however, individuals begin to experience relief from the physical symptoms of the drug between four and twenty days. It’s common to experience the physical symptoms of withdrawal for up to a month. They may become milder as time goes on. 

Psychological symptoms often take longer to pass, and most individuals require some medical and psychological support to avoid relapse. Anxiety, depression, and extreme cravings are common psychological symptoms. 

2. There Are Many Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

When individuals addicted to fentanyl withdraw, they can expect physical symptoms to begin between two and four hours after their last dose. If they are using patches, it may take up to thirty-six hours for symptoms to begin. 

While symptoms vary, they can expect to experience some or all of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy or insomnia
  • Cramping
  • Runny nose
  • Irritable mood
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Anxiety

Your symptoms will likely shift as you move through the three major stages of opioid withdrawal described below. Some of these symptoms require specialized medical care. We highly recommend detoxing from fentanyl under medical supervision.

3. There Are Three Stages of Withdrawal

The three stages of fentanyl detox include early withdrawal, peak withdrawal, and long-term withdrawal. The type and severity of symptoms will vary as you move through these stages. As discussed, there is no standard length for any one stage, as every individual’s history is unique.

Early Withdrawal

You may have experienced symptoms of early withdrawal before. They usually begin with discomfort and a strong, difficult-to-ignore craving for the drug. You might feel tension, restlessness, and anxiety, especially if the drug is unavailable. 

Peak Withdrawal

Your symptoms will increase in severity once the drug has been out of your system for twenty-four hours. Symptoms during this stage can be flu-like. Fever, diarrhea, and vomiting are common.

Individuals sometimes become dangerously dehydrated and may need intravenous fluids to prevent a dangerous escalation of symptoms. 

Long-Term Withdrawal

While peak withdrawal symptoms are the most severe and disruptive, long-term symptoms are often psychological and can linger or recur for months after medical detox. 

At this stage, anxiety can shift into feelings of depression. Occasionally, individuals experience more volatile mood disorders in the aftermath of detox. Other psychological symptoms may include anger, insomnia, and self-harm.  

Many individuals benefit from drug rehabilitation and counseling programs as they enter this challenging stage of recovery. 

4. Medical Detox Makes The Process Easier

If you’re ready to detox from fentanyl, attempting it on your own can be tempting. Even with the support of friends and family, this process can be challenging or even dangerous. You will not be yourself while you undergo this process, and even well-meaning individuals have compromised meaningful relationships by taking on this burden alone. 

When you choose medical detox, you’ll have the supervision of knowledgeable, dedicated staff throughout the process. They’ll monitor you and identify any underlying medical concerns before they can impact your comfort. You’ll also be in an environment where impulsive relapse is impossible. 

Our Ventura County drug rehab center offers both detox and rehabilitation services, so individuals can immediately transition from detox to counseling. You’ll have the support you need just as symptoms begin to manifest. It can be helpful to find yourself surrounded by an understanding, judgment-free community as you navigate a substance-free life.  

5. Medications Can Help

It may seem counterintuitive to use medication to curb drug addiction. That’s another benefit of medically supervised detox. Medical professionals can help create a weaning schedule, making the process more gradual and reducing the shock to your body. 

Furthermore, a doctor can prescribe other helpful medications to help mitigate symptoms. Muscle relaxers can help with joint pain, muscle pain, tremors, and chills. Some individuals benefit from antidepressants to help with psychological symptoms. 

Safer Withdrawal From Fentanyl at Our Ventura County Rehab Center

Withdrawal from fentanyl is a dangerous feat to attempt alone. Individuals who are ready to get clean should pursue fentanyl detox under medical supervision. Ideally, they’ll immediately follow up with a comprehensive treatment program at a qualified drug rehabilitation center. 

The Altitude Recovery Community is an ultra-modern, luxury alcohol, and drug detox and recovery center in Ventura County, California. It’s a comfortable setting with compassionate, experienced staff who will support you as you pursue wellness. Connect with us today, and we’ll begin crafting your customized sobriety plan including a free insurance verification.