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Fentanyl Withdrawal and Effects

Published On: 09 December 2017

What is fentanyl?

Drug dealers have been mixing fentanyl with other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA. Since it doesn’t take much fentanyl to produce a “high”, dealers use the mixing method to lower their costs. Unsuspecting users may think they’re taking heroin, but in reality, are taking heroin mixed with fentanyl (a cheap and dangerous additive), significantly increasing the chances of overdose and death. If you purchase painkillers such as oxycodone or anxiety medication such as Xanax on the street, you could be purchasing fentanyl disguised as a different medication. This act of deceit is proving deadly. Essentially, it’s like ordering a glass of wine and instead receiving a lethal dose of pure ethanol (Wakeman, 2016).

Why is fentanyl so addictive?

Just like other opioids, fentanyl is highly addictive. When someone uses fentanyl, their body quickly develops a dependency for the drug, resulting in needing a larger dose to achieve the same level of “high”. This is the beginning of a vicious cycle. It’s nothing that any user of the substance thought of preemptively, it’s simply the outcome of using a powerful drug without fully understanding the possible outcome. Therefore, education and keeping lines of communication open are imperative to the prevention and cessation of using fentanyl. Fentanyl’s effects include:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Sedation
  • Problems breathing
  • Unconsciousness

Once a person develops a dependency for fentanyl by continually increasing doses in order to achieve the same level of “high”, they are considered addicted to the drug. Addiction, especially when it comes to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, is extremely difficult to treat as patients will experience symptoms of withdrawal in order to discontinue the cycle of drug abuse. Patients can experience these symptoms as soon as few hours after using fentanyl depending on the amount of time they’ve been using, the frequency and dosage amount and the weight of the individual. Signs of fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goose bumps
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Severe cravings

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. *

Treatment for fentanyl addiction

Like other opioid addictions, treatment for fentanyl addiction is shown to be effective when the drug rehabilitation plan involves medication and behavioral therapies. We use certain medications to help prevent seizures and to comfort patients for a few days. Behavioral therapies are designed to help patients cope with the psychological effects of discontinuing fentanyl abuse. During this time, patients are encouraged to adopt healthy habits to living such as diet, exercise and environment. It’s important to understand that when a patient has successfully detoxed, this is a very vulnerable time for the person. Behavioral therapy is designed to assist a person acclimate back into his/her normal routine, minus the drugs. It sounds straightforward, yet this treatment is essential in the recovery process, and is highly effective at reducing the chances of relapse.

From the moment you or your loved one calls the Daylight Recovery team, your health and wellbeing is our top priority. Our nationally recognized substance abuse treatment center provides a safe, quiet and relaxing environment to promote the healing of the entire patient – mind, body and soul. We are not the standard hospital-like facility offering cookie-cutter solutions for drug and alcohol addictions. Instead we treat each person on an individualized basis. Taking the extra time to learn about each person’s specific story plays a large role in our success in helping people overcome addiction. A customized fentanyl addiction treatment plan designed specifically for you or your loved one’s needs will greatly increase his/her chances of living a life free from the restrictions of drug addiction.

Our licensed and insured medical team is onsite 24/7. Patients always have access to speak with a licensed medical professional on an individual basis. Additionally, we encourage patients to interact with one another through group therapy sessions and other recreational activities. We foster a warm and welcoming environment designed for those wanting help; receiving it in a way that will make a life-long impression. Our industry-leading dining area is where our onsite Chef creates his masterpieces from scratch. We believe in the importance in proper nutrition, and Chef takes pride in cooking up meals that are tasty and nutritionally sound! Our recreational room offers plenty of books, games and exercise equipment to keep you busy during downtime. Looking for something more tranquil? Feel free to gaze into our stunning 450-gallon saltwater aquarium. For more information, please call (888) 708-2602.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2019) What is fentanyl? Retrieved from
Wakeman, S. (2016, August 5) Fentanyl: The dangers of this potent “man-made” opioid. Retrieved from


46 people die every day from a prescription opioid overdose in the United States. **

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