Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic (pain reliever) that is similar to but much more potent than morphine. It is classified as a Schedule II prescription drug, and it is used medically to manage severe pain, especially pain associated with surgery, cancer, or certain medical procedures. Fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are concentrated in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions.

While fentanyl can be an effective and important medication when used appropriately under medical supervision, it is associated with a high risk of overdose and dependence, especially when misused, and can lead to fentanyl addiction. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl has become a significant public health concern and contributes to a rise in overdose deaths.

The potency of fentanyl makes it particularly dangerous, and even a small amount can cause a life-threatening overdose. Public health efforts aim to raise awareness about the risks of fentanyl misuse, improve access to overdose reversal medications like naloxone, and address the larger issues related to opioid misuse and addiction. It is important to recognize the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal in order to get people the fentanyl addiction rehab they need.

Fentanyl addiction is best treated in a residential setting due to the addictive and potent nature of the drug. Quitting fentanyl or any drug cold turkey is dangerous and often unsuccessful.

In a medication-assisted treatment program, individuals receive medications to help them stop using a drug. These medications help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, eventually helping you wean off addictive substances, such as fentanyl. In a MAT program in Portland, your doctor may put you on a tapering schedule to gradually eliminate fentanyl from your system. Doctors often put fentanyl users on another, less-potent opioid, such as methadone. The idea is to keep some opioids in the system to lower the severity of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms.

Medical professionals reduce the dosage of the opioid by 20%-50% each day. Eventually, this will reduce to nothing. This is done until your body starts adjusting to an absence of the opioid and withdrawal symptoms are manageable.

Your doctor will design the tapering schedule based on factors such as the:

  • Level of dependency
  • Presence or absence of co-occurring disorders
  • Duration of dependency
  • Existence of polysubstance use

After a medical detox from fentanyl, attending therapy for fentanyl addiction can help resolve the underlying causes of the opioid addiction and help learn relapse-prevention skills. Fentanyl detox is essential to end opioid dependency, and pairing this with residential or outpatient treatment and therapy can help individuals stay clean.

In therapy for fentanyl addiction, individuals discuss their thoughts and behaviors that led to and were caused by fentanyl abuse. In Portland, Oregon, Crestview Recovery offers individual, group, and family therapy for addiction.

elderly woman in fentanyl detox being assisted by a nurse

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment in Portland, Oregon

woman in fentanyl detox portland

Detox, followed by substance use treatment, is the ideal route for treatment that most likely leads to long-lasting recovery.

During this time, your body will crave the drug. It’s best that you gradually cleanse your body of fentanyl under the supervision of doctors at a detox facility. Fentanyl withdrawal is a critical first stage that sets the momentum for sobriety. After detox, addiction treatment programs can start to maximize the chances of sustained recovery and relapse prevention. There are a variety of options for fentanyl addiction treatment at Crestview Recovery, including:

Fentanyl Withdrawal

Fentanyl withdrawal is the set of physical and psychological effects that occur when an individual with opioid dependence suddenly stops or reduces their fentanyl use. It’s a challenging and uncomfortable experience, as the body and mind adapt to functioning without the presence of the opioid. The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary based on factors such as the individual’s level of dependence, the duration of fentanyl use, and their overall health. Seeking professional medical guidance and support is crucial during the withdrawal process to manage symptoms and promote a safer transition to a drug-free state.

When an individual stops fentanyl use, they may experience symptoms, such as:

  • Flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, or watery eyes
  • Gastrointestinal issues, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sweating
  • Chills or goosebumps
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, restlessness, and fatigue
  • Respiratory symptoms like constant yawning
  • Dilated pupils

An individual may also experience psychological symptoms when quit using fentanyl and other opioids. These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Mood changes like having anxiety, being irritable, feeling depressed, or having mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Vivid dreams or nightmares
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Heightened sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
  • Emotional dysregulation

Understanding the fentanyl withdrawal timeline can guide individuals through the various phases and assist them in adopting effective coping strategies for both physical and psychological symptoms. The fentanyl withdrawal timeline varies among users, but certain patterns are generally observed:

  1. Onset of Withdrawal: Withdrawal symptoms typically commence 12 to 30 hours after the last fentanyl dose. For those using fentanyl patches (a long-acting medication), withdrawal may initiate within 24 hours of patch removal.
  2. Early Signs of Withdrawal: Early withdrawal signs include muscle aches, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
  3. Peak Symptoms: The peak of withdrawal symptoms occurs two to four days after the last dosage. During this phase, individuals often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
  4. Duration of Physical Symptoms: Physical symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal generally subside within a week.
  5. Transition to Post-Acute Withdrawal: Following the physical withdrawal, individuals enter the post-acute withdrawal stage characterized by psychological symptoms.
  6. Post-Acute Withdrawal Stage: This stage can last for several months up to two years. Symptoms include disturbed sleep, irritability, mood swings, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
  7. Risk of Relapse: There is a heightened risk of relapse during the post-acute fentanyl withdrawal period. Learning self-care strategies from our master therapists can assist in managing cravings and maintaining progress in the recovery journey.
  8. Aftercare Support: Our post-rehab aftercare plan is tailored to individual needs, providing ongoing support for sobriety. Especially crucial for those returning to stressful living environments, aftercare helps reinforce the lessons learned in rehabilitation.

How To Avoid the Risk of Fentanyl Overdose

patient on a fentanyl detox in portland

Accidental fentanyl overdose from mixing the drug with cocaine, alcohol, and methamphetamines is increasingly common among young adults. Although Naloxone can reverse a fentanyl overdose, it’s not reliable enough to bet your life on.

Don’t put your life in jeopardy. Get in touch with Crestview Recovery to receive a customized treatment plan combining addiction therapy services such as:

  • Group therapy
  • Life skills rehab
  • Trauma therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation therapy

We look forward to helping you move forward with recovery to create a new life.