Drug and Alcohol - Opioid Addiction

Fentanyl Withdrawal: The Timeline and Symptoms on the Road to Recovery From Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl Withdrawal; What is Fentanyl Withdrawal Like?

What is fentanyl withdrawal like? Our blog explores this challenging phase of addiction treatment. Fentanyl withdrawal is easier with a drug rehab.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Opioid Addiction

July 18, 2023

It takes enormous strength and resilience to go on the journey to conquer addiction. Fentanyl is a powerful and lethal medication among the opioids that have wreaked havoc on many lives.

Understanding the opioid withdrawal process is becoming increasingly important as the opioid crisis grips societies. This blog delves into the complicated road to recovery by offering light on the timeframe and symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal.

Fentanyl withdrawal is a complex and challenging experience with physical and psychological symptoms. It necessitates a thorough grasp of the process to ensure that individuals have the essential knowledge and assistance to successfully navigate their recovery. This blog attempts to empower folks on their road to recovery by going into the withdrawal timetable and emphasizing the various symptoms that may be encountered.

Fentanyl Withdrawal: An Overview of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid, more potent than morphine and heroin. It is generally used to treat severe pain, especially after other opioids have failed to provide relief. Fentanyl, on the other hand, has a high risk of misuse and addiction due to its strength.

When fentanyl is ingested, it attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, causing significant pain alleviation and euphoria. Because of its effect, it is widely sought after by individuals looking for an intense high. It does, however, raise the chances of developing dependence and addiction.

Fentanyl's effects can be both rapid and long-term. Users may experience drowsiness, disorientation, nausea, and respiratory depression in the short term. Because of the substance's potency, fentanyl addiction can sometimes result in an overdose, which can be lethal.

Fentanyl Withdrawal: The Importance of Understanding Withdrawal From Fentanyl

Understanding fentanyl withdrawal is vital for several reasons. To begin, people who have acquired a fentanyl addiction may experience withdrawal symptoms when seeking to cease or reduce their use. These symptoms can be physically and mentally upsetting, making withdrawal difficult to bear without sufficient support and supervision.

Second, being aware of the signs and symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal allows individuals and their loved ones to seek appropriate professional aid and intervention. Early assistance during withdrawal can considerably improve the odds of recovery and reduce the danger of relapse.

Furthermore, understanding withdrawal symptoms reduces anxiety and misunderstanding by informing people about what to expect. This information motivates people to adopt a proactive approach to healing, helping them develop effective coping mechanisms and seek the necessary support systems.

Overall, both people addicted to fentanyl and those who support them must comprehend fentanyl and its effects, as well as the withdrawal process. It leads to educated decisions, compassionate care, and long-term rehabilitation success.

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Fentanyl Withdrawal: What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal Really Like?

Withdrawal is a collection of physical and psychological symptoms that occur when a person abruptly reduces or discontinues the use of a substance on which they have become dependent. Fentanyl withdrawal happens when a person using fentanyl frequently or in high dosages stops or drastically reduces their intake.

After becoming accustomed to the medication's presence, the body and brain adjust, resulting in various withdrawal symptoms. Fentanyl withdrawal is similar to heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Here's a quick look at fentanyl withdrawal:

Fentanyl Withdrawal: A Timeline
Why Should I Withdraw From Fentanyl?
Fentanyl Withdrawal: Phase 1
Fentanyl Withdrawal: Phase 2
Fentanyl Withdrawal: Phase 3
Why Fentanyl Withdrawal Is Easier In Drug Rehab
Fentanyl Addiction Is Treatable

What Affects Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Several factors can influence the severity and duration of fentanyl withdrawal. Among these characteristics include individual usage habits, such as the duration and frequency of fentanyl use, as well as dosage and method of administration. Individual differences in metabolism, overall health, and any co-occurring medical or mental health conditions can all influence withdrawal.

It's important to note that everyone's experience with fentanyl withdrawal is unique, and some people are more prone to experiencing severe symptoms.

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How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Last?

The duration of fentanyl withdrawal depends on several factors, including the individual's physiology, dosage, and duration of use. Acute fentanyl withdrawal symptoms typically begin within hours to a few days following the last dose and peak within the first week. Individuals may encounter severe physical and psychological difficulties during this stage.

Some people who go through withdrawal may develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) afterward. Acute protracted symptoms often disappear after a few days, but the condition can linger much longer. Mild but enduring protracted withdrawal symptoms include mood fluctuations, hunger, sleep issues, and inability to focus.

It is critical to understand that each person's withdrawal experience is unique and that the duration might vary. Seeking expert advice and support during this trying time is crucial to ensuring a safe and effective recovery.

When Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Start?

Early fentanyl withdrawal symptoms vary depending on factors like the individual's intake patterns and metabolism. Symptoms can emerge between a few hours and days following the last dose. It is important to note that the comparatively short half-life of fentanyl compared to other opioids can potentially influence the onset.

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The Early Stages of Fentanyl Withdrawal

Fentanyl withdrawal, like other forms of opioid withdrawal, gets more intense with time.

Physical Symptoms of Early Fentanyl Withdrawal

In the early phases of fentanyl withdrawal, physical symptoms can be unpleasant and distressing. Symptoms include muscle aches, joint pain, increased sweating, chills, and yawning. Physical symptoms include a runny nose, teary eyes, and dilated pupils. These symptoms are the body's attempt to return to normal functioning without the drug.

Psychological Symptoms of Early Fentanyl Withdrawal

During the early stages of fentanyl withdrawal, various psychiatric symptoms may occur. Anxiety and irritation are frequent as the brain and nervous system adapt to life without the drug. Restlessness, mood fluctuations, difficulties concentrating, and heightened sensitivity to stimuli are also possible. Sleep difficulties, such as sleeplessness or vivid dreams, are also frequent during this stage.

It's crucial to remember that the severity and length of these symptoms might vary from person to person. While the initial withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, they are only transitory and are part of the body's healing process. Seeking expert advice and support can substantially help effectively manage these symptoms and boost the chances of a successful recovery.

Peak Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Fentanyl withdrawal tends to peak around 48 hours after the last dose of fentanyl

Intensity of Symptoms

Individuals often suffer heightened physical and psychological symptoms during the peak of fentanyl withdrawal. The intensity of these symptoms depends on several factors, including the individual's drug history, dosage, and overall health. It is vital to note that peak withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to manage, and seeking expert help is essential.

Physical Symptoms 

Physical symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can be highly distressing. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal distress. Abdominal pains, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are also possible. These physical symptoms are the body's response to the lack of fentanyl. They might lead to feelings of discomfort and weakness.

Psychological Symptoms 

During the height of fentanyl withdrawal, psychological problems might also worsen. Depression, sorrow, and a lack of motivation are frequent psychological symptoms. Individuals may also suffer increased anxiety, agitation, and difficulty managing emotions. Furthermore, significant cravings for fentanyl may exist as the brain and body hunger for the chemical to alleviate the pain.

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Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Some people experience fentanyl withdrawal symptoms for months or even years.

What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) consists of problems that persist once the initial phase of withdrawal has passed withdrawal from fentanyl has ended. Although acute withdrawal symptoms usually last for about a week but protracted withdrawal can last for a number of weeks or even months. It is thought that PAWS could stem from the effects that linger of fentanyl to the brain as well as the gradual recovery of normal function.

Duration and Characteristics of PAWS

PAWS varies by individual, although it typically lasts several months. Individuals may have a variety of fluctuating symptoms during this time. Mood swings, anxiety, impatience, difficulty concentrating, sleep disruptions, and fentanyl cravings are all hallmarks of protracted withdrawal. These symptoms are usually milder than those seen during the acute withdrawal period. However, they can still be challenging to manage.

Management Strategies for PAWS

Managing PAWS effectively is crucial for long-term recovery. Here are some strategies that can help:

Supportive Therapy

It comprises attending counseling or therapy sessions to address underlying psychological disorders, learn coping skills, and receive emotional support.

Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep. These lifestyle changes can help to enhance general health and alleviate protracted withdrawal symptoms.

Support Groups

Join or attend peer support sessions to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. Sharing experiences and accepting assistance can provide motivation and useful ideas.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication, such as antidepressants for depression or anti-anxiety medications for anxiety, may be prescribed in some cases to help control specific symptoms. Consult a healthcare provider to determine whether medication-assisted treatment is appropriate.

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

To reduce stress, increase emotional stability, and improve overall well-being, practice mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or other relaxation techniques.

Remember that protracted withdrawal is a natural part of the recovery process, and symptoms will gradually intensify. Individuals can traverse protracted withdrawal and move towards a happier and more stable life in recovery by applying these management measures and obtaining expert help.

Coping with Fentanyl Withdrawal

Professional help is required while dealing with fentanyl withdrawal.

Finding Professional Help for Fentanyl Withdrawal

Seeking the assistance of medical professionals, addiction specialists, and counselors can provide valuable guidance, monitoring, and customized treatment plans. These professionals can help clients navigate withdrawal difficulties, manage symptoms efficiently, and treat any underlying issues contributing to addiction.

Professional support assures a safe and complete withdrawal technique, which increases the likelihood of effective recovery.

Drug Detox

Detoxification programs, usually carried out under medical supervision, can assist people in properly managing fentanyl withdrawal. These programs provide an organized environment where withdrawal symptoms can be assessed and treated as necessary. Specific symptoms may be treated with drugs, such as opioid replacement therapy (e.g., buprenorphine or methadone) to reduce cravings, anxiety, or insomnia treatments.

Detoxification programs and medications help people get through the acute withdrawal phase and increase their chances of effective withdrawal. Fentanyl withdrawal is always easier at a drug rehab.


Self-care practices are vital in managing fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and supporting overall well-being. Make healthy eating, frequent exercise, and enough sleep a priority. A well-balanced and healthy diet promotes physical and mental well-being during withdrawal.

For example, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety while generating a sense of peace.

Surround yourself with people who understand your journey and can offer encouragement and understanding.

Find enjoyable activities to make you happy and divert you from withdrawal symptoms. Hobbies, artistic outlets, and leisure activities may assist you in concentrating and feeling better.

Try stress-reduction activities such as writing, listening to calming music, spending time in nature, or seeking professional treatment to effectively regulate stress levels.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Is Easier with Professional Help. Reach Out to The Edge Treatment Center Today

Given fentanyl’s sheer strength, it’s one of the most dangerous drugs to abuse. It drives the ongoing overdose crisis in the US, and for many, fentanyl addiction is a short path to the end of their lives. Unfortunately, for people who want to stop using fentanyl, the idea of going through fentanyl withdrawal is intimidating.

Nothing about opioid withdrawal is easy. However, when done with professional help, it’s safer, more comfortable, and far more likely to be successful. With The Edge Treatment Center, you won’t have to navigate this difficult process alone. Our qualified team of experts will be on your side throughout the entire recovery process. With us, fentanyl withdrawal will be the start of life without fentanyl addiction – or the threat of overdose.

If you’d like to learn more about the evidence-based ways we treat fentanyl addiction successfully, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.