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How to Detox From Fentanyl


Detox can be a challenging and daunting process, but with the right information and resources, it can be the first step on the journey to a lasting recovery. The process of detox, or detoxification, is when the body is being weaned off of the substance it is addicted to. The detox process can be more intense and prolonged depending upon the substance an individual is addicted to, the severity of the type of addiction, and their unique biological and environmental factors.


Fentanyl is a highly addictive drug that can become increasingly abused in recent years, and to detox from Fentanyl safely, it is necessary to seek help from a treatment center that is experienced and knowledgeable about Fentanyl detox. To help those wondering how to detox from Fentanyl, we have put together a guide of major steps, milestones, and actions that will take place during the Fentanyl detox process.

Understanding How Fentanyl Affects the Body

To understand the intricacies and inner workings of how the detox process from Fentanyl works, it is first necessary to understand what Fentanyl is and how it affects the body. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is often used to manage pain following a major surgery or for individuals who have built up a tolerance to other types of prescription pain medication. Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

In order to be classified as a Schedule II narcotic, it must be determined that the substance has a high likelihood of being abused and an increased likelihood that its use will result in a severe psychological or physical dependency. Fentanyl is extremely potent and is often known for its comparative strength when analyzed in relation to other commonly abused drugs. Fentanyl is fifty times more potent than Heroin and one hundred times stronger than Morphine. Because of its intensity and its Schedule II classification from the Drug Enforcement Administration, medical professionals are very cautious about the dosages of Fentanyl they prescribe and the duration of the prescription. Fentanyl is often prescribed within hospital settings to prevent the heightened likelihood of abuse in an outpatient setting.

Fentanyl is known for significantly reducing feelings of pain, but how does it accomplish this feat? Fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in the body, which control feelings of pain and emotion, and floods these receptors with a surge of dopamine. Dopamine counteracts the feelings of pain by filling the body instead with a sense of relaxation, pleasure, and in some cases, euphoria. Fentanyl can be extremely useful and beneficial because of its ability manage pain, but only when used in a controlled setting under the direct advisement of a licensed medical professional.

It is important to have medical oversight when taking Fentanyl because opioid receptors control more than just feelings of pain and various emotions, they also control how the body regulates breathing. If an individual consumes too much Fentanyl, the body may begin to have difficulty regulating its breathing, which can lead to seizures, coma, and even death in some cases. With this understanding of how Fentanyl works in mind, it is now possible to examine the various steps an individual must take to successfully detox from a painkiller addiction.

Recognizing There is a Problem and Acknowledging Dependency

The first step an individual must take in order to begin a detox from Fentanyl is to realize that they have become dependent upon Fentanyl and that they need to stop taking Fentanyl in order to live a healthier life without a substance dependency. While this step may seem simple in theory, it is often one of the most difficult steps to take.

This requires individuals to be introspective and honest with themselves about how severe their addiction is, the toll it has taken on their life, and the work it will require to enter recovery. In order for an individual to successfully detox from a Fentanyl dependency, they must recognize that there is a problem with their relationship to Fentanyl and they must be ready and willing to change their habits and lifestyle in order to remove Fentanyl from their body and their life. Once an individual has acknowledged their addiction and made the decision to pursue a detox, it is then necessary to find qualified help capable of aiding them in detoxing in a safe, controlled environment and providing the necessary aftercare once detox is complete.


Finding the Right Treatment Center

Finding the right treatment center can be the difference between relapse and recovery, so it is important to invest time and energy into finding a treatment center that is right for the addicted individual. The first decision to make is whether or not to seek treatment locally or in a different state. Seeking treatment locally can often be more cost effective, allow individuals to maintain their employment, and keep individuals close to a network of friends and family that will support them during the detox process.

However, for some individuals receiving treatment locally may expose them to people that foster and encourage their addiction, which can increase the probability of relapse. For some, seeking treatment in a different state can be beneficial as it allows them to focus solely on their recovery, it bonds them with other patients in the facility, and it affords them an anonymity that is rarely possible in a local treatment center. However, for some, displacing themselves from their friends and family may make them feel alienated, which may drive them to want to use again. In addition, seeking treatment in a different state can require additional financial commitments, logistics, and housing arrangements. In order to determine the right option, it is important to consider the unique individual and which environment in which they feel they could best combat their addiction and begin a healthy recovery.

Once an individual has decided the geographical region in which they would ideally like to receive treatment, it is then necessary to research various facilities within the area that specialize in Fentanyl detox and treatment for Fentanyl addiction. Once the list of prospects has been narrowed down to a handful of top facilities, it is best to conduct a site visit to meet with the staff and experience the environment to make sure it is the right fit. It is also important during this stage to analyze the financial commitment it would require to receive treatment at each facility and whether or not it feasible within the allocated budget. When at the treatment center, there are a number of vital questions to ask the staff and administrators to validate that it is a qualified treatment center at which to undergo detox and treatment. Below are a few of the most important questions to ask during a visit to the treatment center.

  1. Is there a waiting list to enter? If so, how long is the waiting list?
  2. What type of programs are offered? Are there both residential and outpatient treatment options? What are the durations of the various programs offered?
  3. What licenses and certifications do the treatment center and staff have?
  4. What are the qualifications of the staff? Do the staff specialize in treating addiction? Who on the staff has prior experience treating Fentanyl addiction?
  5. If I enter into a residential treatment program, will family and friends be able to visit or contact me? Will friends or family be asked to participate in counseling or therapy with me at any point?
  6. What services are included in your fees?
  7. How does your treatment center approach detoxing from a Fentanyl addiction? How long does the detox program typically take? What should I expect during the detox program?
  8. Is each treatment program individualized to the needs of each patient? How is the treatment plan structured?
  9. How many medical professionals are on staff at any given time? What is the staff to patient ratio?
  10. What are the policies for administering prescription medication?
  11. Is insurance accepted? How will I be billed for services rendered? Are there any financing plans available?

Once a decision has been made about which treatment center is the right option, the next step is to set a date to begin detox, make arrangements accordingly, and prepare to begin the detox process and subsequent withdrawal symptoms.


The Fentanyl Withdrawal Process

Withdrawal is one of the most difficult and challenging aspects of the detox process, both physically and mentally. Once an individual has developed a dependency on Fentanyl, their body has inherently changed the way that it functions and reacts because it believes it will continue to maintain the same dose of Fentanyl. When the Fentanyl is no longer present, the body is thrown into a state of unbalance in which it attempts to regulate its processes and return to a state of equilibrium.

However, because of Fentanyls effect on the opioid receptors in the body, this process can be even more difficult and potentially dangerous. Because of the potential dangers of detoxing from Fentanyl, it is important to detox from Fentanyl under the supervision of a qualified team of medical professionals to ensure that there are no adverse physical or psychological effects.

Each treatment center will develop a different approach to detoxing from Fentanyl depending on an analysis on a number of variables, including the severity of the addiction, whether or not any other substances have been used concurrently, the length of the addiction, and whether or not there are any other preexisting medical or mental health conditions. Some treatment centers may choose to slowly wean an individual off Fentanyl by steadily decreasing the dose over time until it is no longer required.

This will mitigate how severe the withdrawal symptoms are. Other treatment centers may deem it best to gradually step an individual down to a different, milder drug until they are completely weaned off of any substances. Some treatment centers may also administer other medications during the withdrawal process to control withdrawal symptoms and lessen their severity. The other option individuals often consider is quitting “cold turkey,” which means without weaning the body off of the substance at all. This should only be attempted when approved by a medical professional. With this in mind, below are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox from a Fentanyl addiction.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches or bone pain
  • Cravings or obsession about the substance
  • Memory problems or difficulty focusing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Goosebumps
  • Chills
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Depression

The duration of these Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms varies on a case by case basis depending upon a variety of different factors. But, there is a general timeline often associated with Fentanyl withdrawal that serves as a sufficient baseline withdrawal timeline. Below are the three main phases of the Fentanyl withdrawal timeline and their respective durations.

  • Phase One: During this phase of the withdrawal process, the body begins to recognize that it is not receiving the dosage of Fentanyl it is expecting, until it determines that there is no longer any Fentanyl present in the bloodstream. Individuals often begin to display symptoms of withdrawal within twelve to thirty hours from the last dose of Fentanyl. During the first phase, withdrawal symptoms are often relatively mild due to the slow-acting nature of Fentanyl. Common symptoms during this phase include runny nose, muscle aches, insomnia, and agitation. Phase one often lasts several days.
  • Phase Two: Phase two of the withdrawal process often presents the most acute withdrawal symptoms and begins roughly three to five days from the last dose of Fentanyl. The second phase of withdrawal will reach the peak of intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms are determined by the severity of the addiction and method of detox. During this stage, individuals may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, a runny nose, anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
  • Phase Three: During the final phase of the withdrawal process, symptoms will begin to abate and individuals will begin to return to a feeling of normalcy. It will often be one to two weeks before all symptoms have dissipated.

Detoxing from Fentanyl can seem daunting, but it is the first step in freeing yourself from the chains of addiction. Luminance Recovery is a drug rehab in Orange County that specializes in detox. We have helped many people overcome their painkiller addictions and live a life that is drug free. Call us today to learn more about our detox process.


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