Fentanyl Detox Treatment Rehab

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Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug, often manufactured illicitly. It is approximately 50–100 times more potent than morphine and is frequently used as an adulterant in heroin and other drugs. Fentanyl dependence can have devastating and even fatal effects. If you or a loved one is misusing fentanyl, you are urged to seek professional help promptly to prevent life-threatening side effects like central nervous system depression, coma, and overdose.

At Guardian Recovery, our compassionate team of addiction specialists is dedicated to providing individuals with the comprehensive treatment they need to conquer fentanyl addiction and reclaim healthy, fulfilling lives. Our behavioral healthcare services are clinically proven to be effective, and our personalized treatment plans are tailored to meet the clinical needs and personal goals of each client. If you are ready to overcome addiction, recovery is possible, and we are available to help you on your recovery journey.

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What Is Fentanyl Dependence?

Physical dependence can develop after short-term use of fentanyl, as it has a very high potential for addiction. Although the synthetic opioid is used for legitimate medical purposes, most fentanyl found on the street is illicitly manufactured. (1) Its addictive nature stems from its powerful central nervous system effects, which include feelings of pleasure and euphoria. 

When fentanyl is used, essential neurochemical processes are altered. Over time, the brain and body can become dependent on the substance. (2) Attempting to quit results in withdrawal symptoms as the body attempts to restore chemical balance. Prolonged use can also lead to tolerance, in which increasingly large amounts of fentanyl will be needed to achieve the desired effects. 

Fentanyl Addiction Detox & Rehab Process

The first critical stage in the treatment of fentanyl addiction is medical detox. While engaged in medical detox, a person undergoes a safe fentanyl withdrawal under the close supervision of licensed medical professionals. Once the person has been physically stabilized, they transition to the next appropriate level of care. The next level of care might include inpatient, partial hospitalization, or outpatient treatment. 

The rehab process is different for everyone. Because fentanyl addiction affects each person uniquely, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all process. Your clinical team will determine the best treatment options for you or your loved one while you are undergoing detox.

Detoxing the Body From Fentanyl Misuse or Overdose

If a person has been using fentanyl and is at risk of a life-threatening overdose, it is important to seek professional addiction treatment as quickly as possible. If a person has been using fentanyl and is resistant to treatment, it might be a good idea to stage a professional intervention. Detox is the first step in the recovery process, and consists of 24/7 medical monitoring and medications to help reduce cravings and relieve unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. 

If someone you know is suffering from a fentanyl overdose, it is vital to call emergency first responders. First responders can administer naloxone, an opioid overdose medication that can halt and reverse the dangerous respiratory depression that accompanies it. (3)

Duration of Withdrawal Symptoms

The duration of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms varies depending on factors like the duration and intensity of use. Generally speaking, the worst physical symptoms will subside within a week or two. Psychological symptoms can last much longer due to a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). In this case, emotional symptoms, such as depression or anxiety, can persist for several weeks or months. 

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Although their duration and intensity can vary between individuals, there are three identifiable stages in the process: early, acute, and protracted.

Early Stage—Withdrawal effects during this stage typically begin within hours or up to 2–3 days after the last use of fentanyl. Associated symptoms tend to be relatively mild during this time, depending on individual factors. 

Symptoms Include:

  • Cravings.
  • Restlessness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Irritability.
  • Insomnia.
  • Sweating.

The Acute Stage—Withdrawal effects of the acute stage include those of the early stage but tend to be more severe. New symptoms are also likely to arise.

Symptoms Include:

  • Intense drug cravings.
  • Muscle aches and pains.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Runny nose and watery eyes.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Restlessness and irritability.
  • Anxiety and depression.

The Protracted Stage—Not everyone experiences this stage, and its duration can vary widely from a few weeks to months, or years. These effects are mostly psychological and also vary in terms of duration and intensity.

Symptoms May Include:

  • Mood swings.
  • Anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability and agitation.
  • Concentration and memory difficulties.
  • Loss of motivation and interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Lingering fatigue and low energy.
  • Slowed thinking and information processing.
  • Insomnia, excessive sleepiness, and other sleep disturbances.
  • Gastrointestinal issues.
  • Headaches.

How Long Does It Take To Detox from Fentanyl?

Medical detox for fentanyl may closely align with the time it takes to complete the early and acute stages of the withdrawal process. However, it is not possible to predict the precise timeline, it generally depends on the individual’s dependence level, overall health, and response to detox. 

Can You Detox From Fentanyl Dependence on Your Own?

It is never advised to undergo detox on your own. There are several risks involved, and some may include significant complications that warrant medical attention. The risk of relapse is also much higher, because there will be cravings and little or no one to intervene, and withdrawal symptoms can become so severe that a return to use may feel necessary to relieve them. 

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The Treatment Approach for Fentanyl Dependence

Like medical detox, the approach to treatment for fentanyl dependence will be based on several individual factors, such as the specific drug used and the person’s intensity of misuse. Still, it typically involves using a multi-faceted approach that addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT for opioid dependence treatment includes medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. These are pharmaceutical interventions intended to help reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and support the individual throughout their recovery. MAT may be used for weeks, months, or years if necessary, depending on the person’s needs and whether their health provider deems them appropriate.

Behavioral Therapies

Various evidence-based behavioral therapies can be effective in addressing fentanyl dependence. Among these are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and dialectical behavior therapy. These approaches are designed to help individuals identify underlying issues, alter unhealthy thought patterns, and develop better coping skills to foster long-lasting recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is intended to provide community support in which individuals can share experiences with peers, express a sense of understanding, and make use of guidance from others facing similar issues. This method can help forge interpersonal connections, reduce feelings of isolation, and promote personal accountability. Therapists, counselors, or other experts in the field of addiction frequently lead group therapy sessions.

Family Therapy

Family therapy can be integral to an individual’s recovery progress. These sessions can address family dynamics, improve communication, and offer education and support for loved ones. Contrast this intervention with informal peer groups like Al-Anon, where peers with a history of sobriety facilitate the meetings rather than therapists. However, both are semi-structured forms of family interaction that can be especially beneficial when used in conjunction.

Holistic Approaches

Holistic strategies serve as ancillary or complementary approaches to addiction treatment, with the intent to address the “whole” person. They are designed to recognize the interconnectedness of various aspects of an individual’s life and promote overall mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellness.

Holistic Approaches Include:

  • Mindfulness meditation.
  • Yoga and movement therapies.
  • Sports-related activities.
  • Art and music therapy.
  • Outdoor, adventure, and wilderness activities.
  • Nutrition and exercise.
  • Acupuncture and acupressure.
  • Massage therapy.
  • Religious and spiritual services and activities.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment & Co-Occurring Disorders

Dual diagnoses, also known as co-occurring disorders, are very common among individuals with substance use disorders. Mental health issues can compel a person to use drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medication. Another reason is that addiction itself can cause or worsen mental health conditions due to the chemical and emotional imbalances that occur with substance use and dependence.

Ultimately, the two disorders can exacerbate each other and lead to a vicious cycle of drug use and psychological distress. Similar underlying factors, such as genetics, can also contribute to the development of both issues. For this reason, intervention is necessary to stop the cycle, and both conditions must be treated simultaneously to prevent one disorder from fueling the other.

Rehab Options & Treatment Programs for Fentanyl Addiction

There are many treatment options for fentanyl addiction. They vary in intensity and flexibility and are often combined to provide clients with a multi-staged treatment plan. Levels of care include inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient services, and standard outpatient services. However, the specific components and duration of these programs vary based on the treatment center itself and the severity of the fentanyl use disorder.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab involves individuals living at a facility 24/7, including overnight stays. This is the most intensive level of care available. Inpatient programs offer intensive therapeutic care, relapse prevention training, and holistic activities such as mindfulness meditation and art therapy. The goal of inpatient rehab is to provide a safe, comfortable, substance-free living environment where peers can gather, share in groups, and offer each other advice and support.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial Hospitalization Programs are organized treatment programs that, concerning intensity, fall somewhere in the middle between inpatient and outpatient programs. Individuals participating in PHP stay at a facility most of the time but return to private residences in the evenings. 

These programs are frequently ideal for those who require a greater level of care than outpatient offers but need the round-the-clock supervision seen in highly structured inpatient environments. They typically provide similar therapies and services as inpatient treatment programs.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) & Outpatient Programs

Intensive outpatient programs can serve as a transition between PHP and standard outpatient rehab, offering therapeutic sessions that require participation for several hours on average on five or more days per week. The precise program duration can vary from several weeks to months depending on the program’s specific design and the interventions provided. They may have a predetermined length or be tailored to the individual’s needs.

In standard outpatient programs, sessions are less frequent and may be held only once a week or once a month.

Virtual & Online Treatment or Counseling

Online therapy provides mental health support from any location. The benefits of online therapy include lower rates, convenience, easy access, privacy, and the avoidance of public stigma. Guardian Virtual, our latest treatment option, allows you access to our highly effective and individualized intensive outpatient program from the comfort of your own home.

Fentanyl Addiction Aftercare Planning & Relapse Prevention

Aftercare planning and relapse prevention strategies are vital components of fentanyl addiction treatment. They are designed to help people in recovery maintain their sobriety and reduce the risk of relapse after they’ve completed formal treatment. 

Various Components Can Include:

  • Continuing professional care, including individual and group therapy and counseling.
  • Supportive services, including case management, vocational assistance, or legal support.
  • Continued medication-assisted treatment and changes to the individual’s treatment plan.
  • Participation in self-help groups like Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery.
  • Relapse prevention strategies include identifying triggers, developing improved coping mechanisms, and establishing a relapse prevention plan. These plans typically involve identifying early warning signs of relapse, devising a plan of action, and having a support system in place to respond appropriately and promptly in cases of relapse.
  • Lifestyle modifications, such as adopting healthier habits (e.g., exercising, eating a balanced diet, and practicing good sleep hygiene). This can also include mindfulness and self-care strategies, such as medication and deep breathing exercises.
  • Building a support network of family, friends, and sober peers to provide accountability, encouragement, and a sense of community and belonging.

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Guardian Recovery Can Help You Overcome Fentanyl Addiction

Guardian Recovery offers a range of evidence-based services and multiple levels of care to ensure that all individuals we treat have access to personalized treatment that will be most effective for their unique circumstances.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation health insurance benefits check. You will be connected with a treatment advisor who will explain our streamlined admissions process.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/DEA_GOV_DIR-008-20%20Fentanyl%20Flow%20in%20the%20United%20States_0.pdf
  2. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain
  3. https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions/naloxone

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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