Understanding Your Recovery Journey: The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

green form

The number of deaths attributed to fentanyl overdoses has increased every year since 2012. Fentanyl has rapidly become a commonly abused drug due to its widespread availability and strength. 

Like all opioids fentanyl can have a significant impact on your life. In addition, when you’re ready to overcome your addiction, you’ll have to go through detox and withdrawal. 

What is the fentanyl withdrawal timeline? Keep reading to learn more about fentanyl and what withdrawal looks like. 

What Is Fentanyl and Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is commonly used to manage severe pain. It is around 100 times stronger than morphine. This makes it highly effective for patients dealing with intense pain.

However, this potency also makes fentanyl highly addictive and dangerous when misused or abused.

When someone develops an addiction to fentanyl, the process of withdrawal becomes a crucial step towards recovery. Fentanyl withdrawal occurs when an individual abruptly stops or reduces their use of the drug after prolonged exposure. This sudden change can lead to a range of physical and psychological symptoms as the body adjusts to functioning without the presence of fentanyl.

The symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can be challenging and uncomfortable. They often drive individuals back into substance abuse if not properly addressed. Understanding these symptoms and having support during this time is crucial for a successful recovery.

Factors Affecting Fentanyl Withdrawal Duration

Understanding the factors that can influence the duration of fentanyl withdrawal is crucial for individuals seeking recovery. Each person’s experience with fentanyl withdrawal can vary, and several elements come into play.

The length and intensity of fentanyl use play a significant role. The longer someone has been using fentanyl and the higher their dosage, the more likely they are to experience a longer and more intense withdrawal period.

Additionally, individual factors play a role as well. These can include the following:

  • Age
  • Overall health
  • Metabolism rate
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Underlying medical conditions

The level of support and treatment received also affects the duration of fentanyl withdrawal. Comprehensive addiction treatment programs can help individuals navigate through the challenging journey toward recovery.

The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

So, what is the timeline for fentanyl withdrawal? Following our discussion of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and factors, let’s look at what you can expect as your recovery progresses.

Twelve to Thirty Hours After Stopping Use

In the early stages of fentanyl withdrawal, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia

These initial symptoms typically occur within 12-30 hours after your last dose. In addition, they can last for several days.

Acute Fentanyl Withdrawal

Once the initial symptoms subside, you may enter the acute withdrawal phase. This typically occurs three to five days after stopping use and can last for up to two weeks.

Some possible symptoms of acute fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goosebumps and chills
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure

Depression and irritability are also common during this stage. These psychological symptoms can be difficult to cope with, but they usually improve over time.

Protracted Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

After the acute phase of fentanyl withdrawal, some individuals may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). These symptoms are ongoing and can persist for weeks or even months.

Examples of PAWS include:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Low energy levels or fatigue

It’s worth noting that not everyone experiences PAWS. However, it is common for individuals who have been using fentanyl for an extended period.

Treatment Options for Fentanyl Withdrawal

There are many ways to treat fentanyl withdrawal and help people recover from it. Based on how bad withdrawal symptoms are and what each person needs, these choices can change.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

One common approach is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Doctors may use medications like Suboxone or methadone to help with withdrawal and cravings. MAT helps individuals gradually wean off fentanyl while minimizing discomfort.

Detox Programs

Another option is detoxification in a residential or outpatient setting. Here medical professionals provide support and monitoring during the initial stages of withdrawal. They may administer medications to manage symptoms and ensure a safe detoxification process.


Therapy and counseling are also crucial components of fentanyl withdrawal treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals with the following:

  • Developing coping skills
  • Identifying triggers
  • Modifying unhealthy thought patterns related to drug use

In addition, groups like Narcotics Anonymous provide support and understanding when times are tough.

Reclaiming Your Life After Fentanyl Withdrawal

Once you have gone through fentanyl withdrawal, it’s time to focus on reclaiming your life. This phase is just as important as the detox process itself.

It’s important to create a plan that works for you. Here are a few ideas to help you get started. 

Surround Yourself With a Support Team

It’s crucial to surround yourself with a strong support network. Whether it be friends, family, or a support group, having people who understand what you’ve been through can make all the difference in maintaining your recovery. They can offer guidance, motivation, and accountability.

Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Developing healthy coping mechanisms is essential for long-term success. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment can help fill the void left by drugs. Things like exercise, hobbies, therapy sessions – whatever works best for you – can provide structure and purpose in your daily life.

Give Yourself Grace

During your journey to recover from fentanyl withdrawal, be patient with yourself. Recovery takes time and setbacks are not uncommon. Don’t forget to celebrate small victories and keep focused on moving forward to a better future.

Start Your Path to Recovery Online 

Understanding the fentanyl withdrawal timeline is crucial for those who are embarking on their recovery journey. Knowing what to expect can provide comfort and reassurance during a challenging time.

Recovery Delivered is here to remove barriers to treatment. We want to help you start your journey to recovery. We make it easy by providing online services that you can access easily. 

Get started with treatment today by downloading our app. 

Share this post