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Fentanyl Withdrawal | Timeline, Symptoms, and Detox

The opioid epidemic is on the rise, and more people than ever are dying from the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is powerful, and as a little as a few grains of rice of the substance is potentially fatal for human consumption. Although fentanyl is claiming more lives than ever, it is still being abused and misused among other opioids such as heroin. 

Fentanyl is being found in many batches of heroin and is being used to make the heroin more potent. However, this is extremely dangerous, especially when you have built a dependence on opioids, which ties to heightened tolerance. Fentanyl withdrawal, another consequence of addiction, is more powerful and insidious than other substances in its drug class. 

The severity of fentanyl withdrawal is not as life-threatening as the role it plays during active addiction. However, fentanyl withdrawal is highly unpleasant, and it can lead to a number of undesirable effects and health consequences.

Fentanyl is also used to treat chronic pain. However, this does not exclude participant users from experiencing fentanyl withdrawal, dependence, and a growing tolerance.

What Are the Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms?

Fentanyl is exceptionally fast-acting when used, meaning it immediately produces euphoric effects as it attaches and binds to the pleasure receptors in the brain. However, fentanyl abuse is common because of the substance’s potency. People who already have opioid tolerance might find it easier to use less fentanyl to achieve the effects they desire. However, fentanyl withdrawal is serious, daunting, and highly displeasing. Fentanyl withdrawal can occur within the first few hours after the last dose, requiring users to dose often. Frequent use of fentanyl can pose heightened risks of overdose and other health complications.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms consist of:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Yawning
  • Chills
  • Cold sweats
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Severe emotional instability
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cravings
  • Abdominal cramps

The symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal mimic those of other opioids; However, the severity of your symptoms will depend on your tolerance and genetic makeup, how much fentanyl you are using, and how long you use the drug. Also, whether you are using other substances in conjunction with fentanyl will also contribute to the severity of withdrawal symptoms and your risk of developing major medical consequences.

What Are the Stages of Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Since fentanyl is a fast-acting opioid, the effects will be gone in a short time. As the substance leaves the body, you will begin to undergo symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal. Unfortunately, the process can be overwhelming and uncomfortable, but it is worth it because of the adverse effects of actively using fentanyl.

Within the first one to three days after dosing, you will begin to experience acute to mild symptoms. These symptoms range in severity depending on what you are using and the duration of use. However, they are generally experienced by anyone who abuses fentanyl or other opioids.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms peak around days three to five. This is where the worst and most painful physical symptoms begin to arise. You will begin to experience the majority if not all of the symptoms listed above. You might also find yourself obsessing over the drug as a result of strong cravings and the discomfort associated with fentanyl withdrawal.

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Physical withdrawal symptoms will subside around seven to 10 days after your last dose. However, the psychological symptoms can linger for up to four to six months after the last use. This is commonly referred to as post-acute withdrawal symptoms. If you are pre-exposed to mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, the symptoms will heighten during the time you are experiencing the aftermath of fentanyl withdrawal.

Relapse is also highly likely at this time, which is why it is imperative to seek professional help to aid in maintaining recovery.

Why Should I Detox?

The beginning stages of recovery are the most crucial and vulnerable times for you and your support network. Opioids such as fentanyl are so powerful that they keep people using, despite the consequences, and they use until it’s too late. The number of overdoses related to fentanyl should be an eye-opener and encourage those who are struggling with substance abuse to seek help.

Detoxing from fentanyl “cold turkey” is not a good idea as it can lead to health complications and a failure to stop using. The most beneficial and safe means of undergoing the detoxification process is to attend a medical detox facility.

A professional detoxification facility will help you safely and effectively combat the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal. It will also keep you away from dangerous environments that are not conducive to recovery. The detoxification process is difficult, and it can be discouraging to do on your own, especially if you don’t have the support.

Also, attending a detox program sets you up to continue treatment with more intense and in-depth techniques.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

After completing a detox program, it is highly recommended that you continue your recovery journey. Attending an inpatient facility can help you better understand your addiction while also providing the support and therapy you need to successfully overcome the obstacles of substance abuse.

Inpatient programs typically last around 45 days and use proven and effective methods for treating addiction. Individualized treatment plans will help you learn how to regain control of your life and live without the use of mind or mood-altering substances.The benefits of inpatient programs that lead up to an outpatient program prepare you for the transition back into society after long-term drug use. Outpatient programs are less intense, yet they offer the same therapeutic options. You also will be adjusting to living alone or in a sober living house without needing to rely on a substance to get through your daily responsibilities.

Start Your Recovery Journey Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, it’s never too late to turn your life around. Thousands of people die each year from drug-related overdoses, but you don’t have to become another statistic.

At Ocean Breeze Recovery, our trained professional staff is understanding and compassionate about the process of addiction treatment, and they are here to help you achieve the life you deserve. If you find yourself struggling to ask for help, contact us at (844) 554-9279 or online and speak to a representative who can help find the right program for you. Don’t wait until it’s too late; get help today.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (December, 2018). Fentanyl. Retrieved from

NIDA. (2020, June 16). Fentanyl DrugFacts. Retrieved from

NIDA. (March, 2018). Benzodiazepines and Opioids. Retrieved from

MedicalNewsToday. (2019, January 22) Everything you need to know about fentanyl. Fast Facts on Fentantl. Davis, K., FNP, Retrieved from

NIDA. (2020, May 10) Overdose Death Rates. Figure 2. National Drug Overdose Deaths by Specific Category—Number Among All Ages, 1999-2018. Retrieved from

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