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Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline and Detox

person with finger on a red keyboard key that says fentanyl

Withdrawing from fentanyl can be very difficult due to the potency of this drug and its effects when used illicitly.  The fentanyl withdrawal timeline typically consists of several stages, each characterized by specific symptoms that vary in intensity and duration.

Understanding these stages can help individuals and their loved ones anticipate what lies ahead during the challenging journey of fentanyl withdrawal.

Fentanyl Addiction Statistics

Fentanyl addiction statistics make this synthetic opioid the deadliest opioid in the world Recent statistics are as follows:

  • 53% of all overdose deaths involve fentanyl.
  • 0.00025 grams of fentanyl use has a high risk of death. 
  • It only takes about 0.0007 grams of fentanyl to cause death.
  • Consuming 0.002 grams or more of fentanyl will cause certain death.  
  • There were 42,700 overdose fentanyl deaths in 2020.
  • 1 kilo of fentanyl can cause 250,000 deaths.
  • 991,000 people aged 12 or older used fentanyl in 2022.
  • Over 2.1 million people in the US are addicted to opioids, including fentanyl. 

Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?

Fentanyl is considered particularly dangerous due to its high potency and rapid onset of effects. Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids available, up to 100 times stronger than morphine. This extreme potency increases the risk of overdose and can quickly lead to respiratory depression, resulting in life-threatening consequences.

Illegally manufactured fentanyl is often mixed into heroin and other street drugs. As a result, individuals unknowingly consume significantly higher doses, leading to accidental overdose. In addition, fentanyl’s high potency makes it easier for individuals to overdose accidentally, even when using small amounts. 

The potency and the effects experienced also increase the risk of developing an addiction to it much faster than other opioids. As such, individuals build a tolerance to it, requiring them to take higher doses to achieve the desired effects, further increasing the risk of overdose.

How Long Does It Take to Withdraw from Fentanyl?

The duration of fentanyl withdrawal can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s level of dependency, duration and amount of drug use, overall physical health, and psychological well-being.

Generally, the acute phase of fentanyl withdrawal typically lasts about 7 to 14 days. During this period, individuals may experience intense physical and psychological symptoms as their body adjusts to functioning without the drug.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Drug cravings 

After the acute phase passes, the individual may enter a post-acute withdrawal phase. The intensity of symptoms gradually decreases over time but can last for several months or longer. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) may include mood swings, irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and continued cravings.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

The fentanyl withdrawal timeline generally follows these phases: 

  • Early withdrawal: Symptoms typically begin within the first 24 hours after the last dose and may include anxiety, restlessness, muscle aches, sweating, dilated pupils, insomnia, and runny nose.
  • Peak withdrawal: This stage occurs within 3 to 5 days and is characterized by the most intense withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Subsiding acute withdrawal: In about 7 to 14 days, the intensity of physical withdrawal symptoms begins to decrease. However, psychological symptoms like depression and cravings may persist.
  • Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): For some individuals, protracted withdrawal symptoms can continue for several months or even up to a year.

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse is crucial in identifying if someone is misusing this powerful opioid drug. Some common indicators to watch out for include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Itchy skin or scratching
  • Euphoria or intense happiness 
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Disinterest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety 
  • Poor judgment and decision-making skills                                                                         
  • Social withdrawal from family and friends  
  • Increased secrecy   
  • Neglecting personal hygiene                                                    
  • Financial difficulties
  • Needle marks/puncture wounds
  • Engaging in risky behaviors                       

Why Professional Detox Is Best

Professional detox from fentanyl is considered the best approach for individuals who want to stop using this drug. Fentanyl withdrawal can be physically and psychologically challenging, with potentially severe symptoms. Professional detox programs provide 24/7 medical supervision by licensed healthcare professionals who can monitor vital signs, manage complications, and provide appropriate medications or interventions as needed.

In some cases, withdrawal from fentanyl may involve life-threatening complications such as respiratory distress or dehydration. In a professional setting, individuals have access to immediate medical care if these situations arise.

Detox centers also offer a structured and supportive environment that focuses on addressing physical discomfort and emotional challenges associated with withdrawal. The presence of trained staff members ensures compassionate support during this difficult time.

Furthermore, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be used to help manage more intense withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Supervised detox also helps lay the foundation for continued recovery and transition into ongoing addiction treatment programs. 

Treatment and Fentanyl Detox in Pompano Beach, FL

Take the first step towards recovery from fentanyl addiction. Retreat of Broward in beautiful Pompano Beach, Florida, offers personalized, comprehensive treatment and professional fentanyl detox services. Our dedicated medical professionals and therapists will provide you with the support and care needed for a successful recovery journey.

Contact us now to start your path to a happier future free from fentanyl. 


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