Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid used medically to manage severe pain, is a catalyst for the worst drug epidemic in our nation’s history and is responsible for the deaths of approximately 200 people each day. Estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and about 50 times more potent than heroin, fentanyl is highly addictive and causes dependency with just a few doses. When a person stops using fentanyl they can experience extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but these can be mitigated with an effective detox program administered by experienced medical professionals.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a prescription opioid, often used in a medical setting for pain management, especially in cases of severe pain like after surgery or for patients with chronic pain conditions. It is available under various brand names and in various forms, including patches, lozenges, and injectable solutions. Due to its potency, it carries a high risk of overdose, especially if used outside of medical recommendations or mixed with other substances. Its illicit use or misuse has been a significant factor in the opioid crisis observed over the past few decades.

Why Do Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms Occur?

When a person uses opioids like fentanyl consistently over time, their body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and develops a dependency. The brain changes its chemistry and function to adapt. Once the drug is no longer available or is taken in lesser quantities, the body reacts, leading to withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and duration based on various factors, including the length of use, the dose, and individual physical characteristics. Here is a breakdown of what someone might experience:

Early Symptoms (6-12 hours after the last dose)

  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Muscle aches and pains

  • Peak Symptoms (2-3 days after the last dose)

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goosebumps
  • Pupil dilation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Intense drug cravings

  • Late Symptoms (up to a week or more after the last dose)

  • Depression or mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Continued drug cravings


    Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

    For some individuals, even after the initial withdrawal symptoms have passed, a second phase known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can set in. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome symptoms include:

  • Mood Fluctuations: Including periods of irritability or anxiety.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Continuing insomnia or altered sleep patterns.
  • Cognitive Challenges: Difficulty with memory, concentration, or decision-making.
  • Physical Symptoms: Dizziness, numbness, or increased sensitivity to pain.

  • While PAWS can last for weeks to months, understanding and preparing for it is crucial. Ongoing counseling, support group participation, and healthy lifestyle habits can help manage PAWS symptoms.

    Fentanyl Detox and Treatment Near You

    Given the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and the potential for complications, it’s essential to approach fentanyl detox under medical supervision. The Coleman Method utilizes Medication-Assited Treatment (MAT) with Naltrexone—a non-addictive, non-opioid that blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opiates—alongside other comfort medications to clear the brain of Fentanyl quickly and ease withdrawal symptoms.

    Our outpatient detox program has a 98% completion rate and can be finished in as little as 5-6 days. There is no need for a hospital stay, and patients’ daily routines remain largely uninterrupted. For those living close by, nights can be spent at home, ensuring rest in a familiar setting, and those traveling can return to their hotel or place of lodging each day. Once your Accelerated Fentanyl Detox is done, we assist you in addressing any lingering withdrawal symptoms, reinforcing your progress toward recovery.

    Coping Mechanisms for Fentanyl Detox

    For those undergoing fentanyl withdrawal, certain coping mechanisms can aid the process:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to counteract the dehydrating effects of symptoms like sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Nutrition: A balanced diet can support recovery. Vitamins and minerals, especially from fruits and vegetables, can help repair the body.
  • Exercise: Mild to moderate exercise can release endorphins, natural painkillers, that can help with muscle aches and mood swings.
  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation can alleviate anxiety and stress.
  • Sleep: While insomnia is a common withdrawal symptom, establishing a regular sleep pattern helps. Avoid caffeine in the evening and try relaxation techniques before bed.

  • Detox Complications and Concerns

    Like most opioids, Fentanyl withdrawal can be severely uncomfortable. However, some complications can arise:

  • Dehydration: Due to symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, there’s a risk of dehydration. This can lead to more severe complications if not addressed.
  • Relapse: The intense cravings during withdrawal can lead to relapse, which carries a high risk of overdose, especially if the person takes the amount they were accustomed to before detoxing. The Coleman Method uses Naltrexone therapy to curb these cravings by blocking opioid receptors in the brain throughout the initial recovery period, reducing the risk of patients feeling the “high” normally associated with opioid use.
  • Mental Health: Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can be exacerbated during withdrawal, increasing the risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

  • A Beacon of Hope for Recovery

    Despite the challenges, countless success stories of recovery from fentanyl addiction highlight the human spirit's resilience. Comprehensive treatment, community support, and societal interventions can help reduce the risk of relapse. With ongoing research, evolving treatments, and heightened awareness, society can move towards a holistic approach to manage and mitigate the challenges posed by fentanyl and other opioids.

    Detoxing from fentanyl is a difficult process, but recovery is possible. Remember—reclaiming your life from fentanyl dependency or addiction is a journey, and every step is progress toward a healthier, more fulfilling future.