Fentanyl plays a big part in the opioid crisis in the U.S., but those considering detox from opioids may worry about withdrawal symptoms. This is with good reason, since withdrawal from opioids is a complex process that requires professional guidance. Treatment centers experienced with this process employ caring and empathetic individuals experienced with detoxing from opioids. When searching for a treatment center to detox from fentanyl, seeking a safe and medically monitored environment is essential.

What is Fentanyl?

A synthetic opioid painkiller, fentanyl, is utilized for sudden and extreme pain situations. For example, post-surgery pain management and care for cancer are appropriate times for this prescription. Fentanyl is fifty to one hundred times more potent than morphine. While fentanyl, like other opioids, regulates pain reception in the brain by producing dopamine, fentanyl withdrawal is more complex and challenging with long-term use.

Fentanyl is highly addictive because of its intense potency. Medical documentation has shown that up to 10% of patients who switch up from morphine to fentanyl will experience some level of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. Those addicted to fentanyl need to rely on professional detox programs to safely detox. Those who attempt to detox without professional help could put themselves at grave danger.

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction

The signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction can be overwhelming and frightening. However, if you recognize these signs and symptoms in yourself, a friend, or a loved one, the next step is recognizing the addiction and deciding to quit. Fentanyl withdrawal can be physically and mentally dangerous, so, at all times, a professional detox needs to happen. The following signs and symptoms may signal an addiction to fentanyl:

  • Taking increased dosages or more than prescribed
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when the dosage is not maintained
  • Finding control struggles with fentanyl usage
  • A preoccupation with finding fentanyl and using the drug
  • Ignoring the problems in lifestyle that fentanyl causes
  • Developing a tolerance and dependency

Short-Term Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

The body begins to experience fentanyl withdrawal symptoms once usage ends. The brain must readjust and learn to respond without the drug. The withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and deadly if proper care and monitoring are not taken. This is why it is crucial to find a treatment center experienced with fentanyl detox.

While detox is challenging, it is the first step to recovering from addiction. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can range from mild, moderate to severe depending upon the length of addiction and the amount of fentanyl being used. Medication-assisted detox is one way to ease the severity of symptoms during detox. Medically monitored withdrawal is essential with such a potent drug.

The following symptoms are experienced during fentanyl withdrawal:

  • Anxiety and general irritability
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Muscle aches, cramps and joint aches
  • Trouble sleeping and insomnia
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Heavy sweating, chills, goosebumps and fever
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Dizziness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Severe abdominal cramps

Long-Term Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Long-term fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can persist for weeks after the medical detox occurs. Because of the danger of relapse it is essential for addiction treatment to continue after detox. It is not unusual for disruptive thoughts and cravings for the drug to entice the user to leave treatment and return to the drug. While the long-term fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, they push toward relapse. Long-term fentanyl withdrawal symptoms could include any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • The inability to experience pleasure
  • Depression
  • Pink cloud syndrome
  • Extreme moodiness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Extreme sensitivity to pain
  • Sleep problems

With MAT, or medication-assisted treatment, clonidine, methadone, buprenorphine or codeine phosphate may be prescribed with medical monitoring during detox. This form of therapy reduces the severity of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. MAT also reduces the intense cravings, which reduces the risk of relapse. Relapse is a hidden danger of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms during detox, since it’s so much easier to give up and start using again.

The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

With fentanyl withdrawal through detox, every case presents an individual challenge. Because every person has a different metabolism, addiction factors, and physical health status, it’s imperative that self-judgment does not sabotage detox. Typically there are three main stages of withdrawal from fentanyl. Early stage, peak and the long-term effects describe the normal timeline.

Early fentanyl withdrawal symptoms occur within two to four hours after the last dose of fentanyl. It all begins with just slight discomfort within the body, including body aches, chills and incessant yawning. Feelings of restlessness and intensity persist, while intense cravings for the drug manifest increasing difficulties. With medically monitored detox, medical staff detects fentanyl in urine 24 to 72 hours after the last usage.

Peak symptoms occur twenty-four hours to thirty-six hours after the last dosage. While blood testing results can track fentanyl five to 48 hours after last use, hair tests will detect trace amounts up to three months. Peak symptoms can include an increased intensity of early fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, as well as fever and vomiting. During this period of time, it is important to be monitored by the detox staff for dehydration as well.

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

It is imperative that treatment begins immediately after detox from fentanyl. Easing the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms with medication-assisted treatment, may encourage the user to move forward to embrace treatment. Individual and group therapy can impart new coping mechanisms to steer clear of relapse. It is possible to live a sober and healthy lifestyle after fentanyl addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy works well in combination with group and family therapies. New holistic therapies can also come into play for a healthy lifestyle.

Find Help with Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms in Tennessee

If you or a loved one is struggling with a fentanyl addiction and are hesitant to work through fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, Detox West can help. We are experienced in fentanyl addiction and medically assisted detox programs for those who are struggling with how to work through detox. Contact us to discuss the options available for your individual case. We have compassionate and experienced treatment specialists who are ready to assist in your recovery.