Full Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline and Symptoms
Fentanyl withdrawal can be an intensely challenging experience for individuals grappling with opioid use disorder (OUD). The withdrawal timeline can vary depending on the person, but generally, it follows a pattern that includes several stages. Understanding this timeline is crucial for individuals going through withdrawal and the healthcare professionals assisting them.
MAT and Fentanyl Withdrawal
For many people, Medication-Assisted Treatment is a godsend, helping them cope with cravings while working on themselves. MAT is a highly effective approach for managing both withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It involves the use of medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies.
These medications help stabilize people during the withdrawal process, alleviate cravings, and reduce the risk of relapse. Addressing physical and psychological aspects of addiction via MAT significantly improves the likelihood of successful recovery.
Navigating fentanyl withdrawal can be an arduous journey for individuals with opioid use disorder. The withdrawal timeline encompasses several stages, each presenting unique challenges and risks of relapse.
MAT can be a critical intervention for many, offering support, relief from withdrawal symptoms, and a pathway to sustained recovery. By integrating it with comprehensive behavioral therapies, addicted people can overcome the hurdles of withdrawal and start a journey toward lasting sobriety and improved well-being.
Fentanyl Withdrawal: When Does it Start and End?
Withdrawal from fentanyl typically begins shortly after the last dose. Due to its short half-life, withdrawal symptoms can emerge within a few hours for those with severe addiction. The initial symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, muscle aches, sweating, and yawning.
After a day of withdrawal, addicted persons may experience intense symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, dilated pupils, and goosebumps (often referred to as "cold turkey").
By the second or third day, withdrawal symptoms peak in intensity, according to the NIH, but this may vary depending on a person's size and the amount of drug use. Symptoms may include severe cravings, insomnia, elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, tremors, irritability, and depression. Individuals may also experience intense drug-seeking behaviors during this phase.
After a week, physical symptoms may start to subside, although psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and drug cravings may persist. Sleep disturbances and fatigue are expected at this stage.
Within a month, most physical symptoms have significantly decreased or disappeared. Some of these symptoms, such as depression and cravings, can persist. It's crucial for individuals recovering from fentanyl addiction to seek ongoing support and therapy to address these lingering challenges.
People who take Medication-Assisted Treatment have a significant decrease in cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can encompass a range of physical and psychological manifestations. Many symptoms can be distressing and, in some cases, dangerous. Physically, people often experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, muscle aches, and excessive sweating. These symptoms, while uncomfortable, are typically not life-threatening on their own. Severe dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea can pose risks if left untreated.
People with underlying conditions such as high blood pressure are more at risk for complications when detoxing.
Psychological symptoms can also exacerbate the overall distress of withdrawal. Anxiety, agitation, restlessness, insomnia, depression, and intense drug cravings are common. These symptoms can significantly impact an individual's emotional well-being and may increase the risk of self-harm or suicidal ideation, particularly in cases of co-occurring mental health disorders.
Polysubstance Users and Fentanyl Withdrawal
For polydrug users, withdrawal is complicated by the presence of other substances in their system. While medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can effectively manage fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, drug users may still experience withdrawal from other drugs they use concurrently.
Polydrug use complications underscore the importance of comprehensive assessments and tailored treatment plans that address the unique needs of each person, including potential polydrug use and its implications for withdrawal management.
Not all drugs have medication that can help with the urges to use. A doctor can determine what medication, if any, is more appropriate.
Treatment is Essential
When a person quits using fentanyl, they need a lot of support. It’s hard to overstate the role of supportive therapy alongside MAT. Behavioral therapies, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or contingency management, can help address the psychological aspects of addiction. Doing this footwork can help people achieve long-term recovery.
Therapy will help addicted people develop healthy coping skills, emotional support, and strategies to navigate cravings, triggers, and stressors effectively.
Therapy helps people build a solid foundation in recovery. Through treatment, people can learn to identify and work on issues that may contribute to their substance use. They may explore trauma, co-occurring mental health disorders, or personal conflicts as triggers to use. By addressing these factors, therapy enhances the effectiveness of MAT and promotes holistic healing and personal growth.
Getting Help With Fentanyl Detox and Recovery
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can be challenging. With the appropriate support and treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and supportive therapy, people can learn to manage withdrawal symptoms effectively, address underlying issues, and embark on a path to sustained recovery and improved well-being.
We’re here to help you get started on that path safely and discreetly. Get in touch to learn about our programs and determine if Medicated-Assisted Treatment is the right choice for your journey.