Fentanyl Withdrawal

It’s no secret that opioid addiction is an epidemic in the U.S. In fact, opioid-related deaths represent 60 percent of overdose deaths in the U.S. One of the leading causes of opioid overdoses is the advent of a that is sometimes added to heroin, creating an even more powerful–and extremely dangerous—drug.

While someone may want to stop using fentanyl or other opioids, quitting is often difficult because of uncomfortable fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. A professional fentanyl withdrawal treatment plan that follows a full continuum of treatment can help make the recovery process more successful.



What Are the Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms?

Fentanyl withdrawal causes very uncomfortable, but not life-threatening, symptoms including:

  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Watery eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

What Are the Stages of the Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline?

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, like other opioid withdrawal symptoms, usually start within 6 to 30 hours after last using the drug. The worst of the symptoms typically occur at about 72 hours after last using the drug. The worst symptoms usually occur during the first week of detoxing from opioids. However, fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can last up to about a month. They may even continue for a few months after you stop using the drug.

While the most difficult physical symptoms usually occur during the first week of fentanyl withdrawal, cravings and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia may last longer. These behavioral symptoms can be uncomfortable, especially after long-term opioid use. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). It is a necessary, but often difficult, part of the withdrawal process that the body must go through as it rids itself of the fentanyl on your system.

You may experience the following symptoms during the first few hours of opioid withdrawal:

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  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Muscle pain
  • Aching body
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

You may encounter more symptoms over the next few days of the withdrawal process, including:

  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain

Why Should I Detox?

Withdrawing from fentanyl can be difficult and uncomfortable. The physical symptoms may feel like those of a severe flu.

While it’s possible to detox and go through the fentanyl withdrawal process at home, it is not at all recommended. For many, using fentanyl is a means to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. It is no longer about getting high, now it is just about staving off sickness. Going through it alone and without medical supervision is a recipe for relapse or unforeseen medical complications. The emotional support of family and friends is helpful, but participating in a professional addiction treatment program is key to managing the withdrawal process successfully.


Additionally, going through a medically supervised detox program ensures that you will be carefully monitored throughout the withdrawal process in a safe environment.

In some cases, your medical team may administer medications such as buprenorphine to help relieve your cravings. They will make sure your body has the proper amount of nutrition, fluids, and electrolytes to mitigate the symptoms.

Because withdrawal is also a mentally and emotionally challenging process, you will also receive professional counseling support to help make the withdrawal process successful.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

There are different stages of opioid addiction treatment but following a full continuum of treatment is the most comprehensive approach. When you follow a full continuum of treatment, you start by going through the highest and most intense level of care during the detox phase. Then you progress through less intense levels of treatment going through all of the treatment stages will help ensure that you have a successful recovery. The stages of opioid addiction treatment include:


Detox is the first stage of fentanyl withdrawal treatment. During this stage, the goal is medical stabilization. Your medical team, which includes doctors, nurses, and support staff, will give you a complete medical assessment, which will determine your level of addiction plus your overall health and any other medical needs you may have.

After reviewing the results, your doctor will develop a detox plan for you. Then you will begin the detox process under the care of your medical team. A combination of detox drugs, such as buprenorphine, and emotional support may be included in your treatment plan as you begin addiction therapy.


Once you have completed the fentanyl detox stage, you may continue your treatment in a residential facility or in a partial-hospitalization program. Your physician will recommend which path is right for you based on the severity of your addiction. They will also consider whether or not you have any other addictions or additional medical or psychological needs.

During residential treatment you can focus specifically on your psychological and emotional recovery. Here, you will live full-time at the facility while participating in a supportive, but structured, treatment program at least five days a week. Throughout this period, ou will learn important coping skills and participate in therapeutic counseling as you begin the process of transitioning to your life outside the treatment center which will help to prepare you for long-term recovery.


A Partial Hospitalization Program blends together aspects of inpatient care and outpatient treatment. At this point, you will either live at home or in a transitional living facility while you participate in therapy sessions for at least 20 hours each week.

The treatment program will include individual, group, and family therapy programs to help you with your emotional and mental health needs. The focus during PHP is to learn positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and relapse prevention techniques. The goal of PHP is to help better prepare you for long-term recovery and begin the process of returning to your life outside the treatment center.


After you successfully complete residential and/or PHP treatment, you will then transition into an intensive outpatient program (IOP). The IOP will provide you with critical counseling and treatment services you may need to support you as you return to your everyday life in sobriety. At this stage, the emphasis is on continuing to fine-tune life and coping skills, plus relapse prevention strategies to help you develop a healthy routine and enjoy your life.


When you have completed the treatment program, you will have the opportunity to join other treatment center alumni at weekly support groups and social events. Recovery is a lifelong process, but these opportunities can help you develop new friendships. Plus, building this social support network with others who understand the recovery journey can help better position you for long-term success.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

If you’re ready to get help and overcome an addiction to fentanyl, contact our admissions specialists for free and confidential help. They’re here to listen and guide you through the process so you know what to expect from our evidence-based services. After speaking with our specialists, you will feel prepared to make an informed decision about your addiction treatment. Our specialists can also contact your private health insurance to see if your treatment costs will be fully covered.

Call us today at (844) 557-8575 or contact us online and let us help you take back your life the right way.