Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

fentanyl withdrawal timeline

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain medication that is used to treat severe cases of pain. While the substance is similar to morphine, it is about 50 to 100 times stronger, making it much more dangerous and deadly than other opioids. 

Unfortunately, fentanyl is found in many other drugs on the street. For example, while someone may think they are buying a Percocet pill, they are actually buying a pressed pill that is filled with fentanyl. Unknowingly ingesting fentanyl causes many people to experience accidental and life-threatening overdoses. 

While most people accidentally take fentanyl, some individuals begin abusing this drug once other opioids do not affect them anymore (or once they have developed a tolerance). Regular fentanyl abuse can result in physical dependence and addiction.

Detoxing from fentanyl isn’t life-threatening, but it can be severe and painful. A medical detox center can help guide individuals through the fentanyl withdrawal timeline safely and comfortably.

What are the Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Like any other substance, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms will depend on how much and how often the individual was using fentanyl. Withdrawal symptoms associated with fentanyl include physical and psychological effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fever
  • Depression 
  • Excessive sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety 
  • Irritability and agitation 
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Abdominal cramps

While fentanyl withdrawal cannot cause life-threatening seizures like alcohol or benzodiazepines, some of the symptoms can become concerning. For example, excessive sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting can lead to severe dehydration without proper treatment. Additionally, the depression associated with fentanyl withdrawal can lead to suicidal ideation, making it important for individuals to receive professional care. 

The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline 

While the fentanyl withdrawal timeline varies from person to person, the symptoms usually begin around 12 hours after an individual’s last dosage. Because fentanyl is a short-acting opioid, withdrawal usually peaks within a few days and begins to resolve over a week. However, some individuals may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome for several weeks after. 

A general timeline for fentanyl withdrawal is:

Early Symptoms 

The early symptoms of withdrawal may begin as soon as 2 to 4 hours after the last dose. These symptoms may include slight body discomforts such as excessive yawning, body aches, and chills. These symptoms can mimic that of the common flu. 

Additionally, people may experience psychological side effects during this time. Some of those symptoms may include feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and cravings. 

Peak Symptoms 

The peak symptoms are the worst and most uncomfortable symptoms individuals will experience throughout the withdrawal process. This usually begins 24 to 36 hours after the person’s last use and lasts for up to a week. 

The symptoms associated with this stage of fentanyl withdrawal may include more intense early symptoms, as well as additional symptoms like fever, vomiting, and increased breathing rate. This is when most people require medications in a detox program to soothe their symptoms. 

Long-Term Symptoms 

While most people complete the withdrawal process after a week, some individuals may experience symptoms for a much longer period. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Because symptoms can recur, people need to seek continuous medical detox care to prevent themselves from experiencing a relapse. 

Long-term symptoms of opioid withdrawal may include:

  • An inability to experience pleasure
  • Depression 
  • Pink cloud syndrome 
  • Volatile mood disorders
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Feelings or actions of self-harm 
  • Increased sensitivity to pain 
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)

How Does Medical Detox Help With The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline?

Medical detox uses a combination of withdrawal management practices to soothe a patient’s symptoms of withdrawal so they don’t experience severe symptoms that could motivate them to relapse. Detox is always the first step in the addiction recovery process. 

Detox can help by:

  • Reducing the pain and discomfort associated with fentanyl withdrawal 
  • Providing the ability to identify other health conditions that could contribute to an individual’s pain and discomfort 
  • Receiving long-term recovery plans to overcome opioid use disorder 
  • Reducing the risk of relapse 
  • Removing the physical dependence on fentanyl and other opioid substances 
  • Administering medications that help soothe symptoms of withdrawal 
  • Providing referrals to long-term residential rehab and outpatient treatment 

Medical detox is not the only step towards recovery from fentanyl addiction. It is important for someone suffering from this condition to attend a full continuum of care. This means attending medical detox, transitioning into inpatient treatment, and then stepping down into outpatient rehab. 

Attending a continuum of care allows patients to collect all of the tools and positive coping mechanisms they need to gain and maintain long-term sobriety. 

Finding Help for Fentanyl Withdrawal 

Fentanyl abuse can quickly lead to addiction and a life-threatening overdose. Because of the dangers of fentanyl abuse and addiction, individuals need to attend a medical detox center to overcome their symptoms of withdrawal and avoid an unnecessary relapse. 

At Moving Mountains Recovery Center, we provide our patients with all of the tools they need to succeed. From medical detox to outpatient rehab, we offer a continuum of care that is unmatched. Contact us today for more information on how to get started. 

Related Posts

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops after you experience something traumatic. You could also develop this condition after seeing or hearing about a traumatic event. The symptoms can begin immediately after the traumatic...

6 Warning Signs of Relapse

Maintaining long-term sobriety from addiction is never easy. People must continuously practice their recovery maintenance techniques without cutting any slack. When someone does slack in their recovery, they put themselves at risk of suffering from a relapse. ...

Stereotypes About Addiction and Why They Are Dangerous

Addiction is a common disease that affects about 10% of Americans.[1] Despite addiction being so prevalent in our country, the attitude around this condition is not always supportive or understanding. Many people still believe in stereotypes and the stigma surrounding...

Hydrocodone Addiction: Signs Symptoms and Treatment

Hydrocodone is an opioid medication used to treat pain. This substance belongs to a class of drugs known as narcotic analgesics (opioids) and acts on the central nervous system in the brain. While this medication helps treat severe cases of pain, it is also known to...

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

Heroin is a powerful, illicit opiate drug that has been a major contributor to the United States opioid crisis. In 2020, about 691,000 people had a heroin use disorder and more than 13,165 people died as a result of a drug overdose involving heroin.[1] Despite how...

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood changes, including emotional highs and lows. People who struggle with this condition may experience mania (emotional highs) for weeks to months on end until they crash, leading to emotional lows...

What Can I Expect During Benzodiazepine Rehab in New Jersey?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 40 million adults in America suffer from an anxiety disorder.[1] One of the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety is benzodiazepines and many Americans take these substances daily. ...

Should I Go Back to Rehab After Relapse?

Drug addiction and alcoholism are complex and progressive diseases that require constant dedication and practice to recover. If you suffer from a substance use disorder, you know that attending professional treatment is the best way to learn how to maintain long-term...

Dangers of Mixing Xanax (Alprazolam) and Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.[1] This substance is highly dangerous, claiming the lives of thousands of Americans each year. Oftentimes, fentanyl is mixed into drugs to create a stronger...

What Makes Fentanyl So Dangerous?

Drug addiction is a serious problem in the United States. Individuals who suffer from this condition suffer from an array of consequences that hinder their ability to function in their daily lives. One of the most concerning risks of drug addiction is the possibility...

Take The First Step to a New Life

Transform daydreams into realities

Moving Mountains takes a whole-person approach to recovery by offering a continuum of care, clinically proven treatments, and holistic healing. We work closely with you to identify your unique needs, facilitate individualized treatments, and help you establish a foundation upon which your recovery--and the rest of your life--can grow. Our compassionate, friendly staff is available 24-hours a day to take your call and help you begin your recovery journey.


Combatting the ever-growing drug epidemic that this country faces begins with you. Make the most of our vast knowledge of addiction treatment and our proven ability to change lives. Let's Move Mountains together.  Take the first step towards a new, better life by giving us a call today.

Begin RecoveryVerify Insurance

Get Addiction Help Now
(973) 397-5055
Representatives available now.