September 25, 2023

Quitting Fentanyl Cold Turkey: Is It Safe?

image of sunset representing quitting fentanyl cold turkey
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Quitting fentanyl cold turkey – that is, abruptly and without medical supervision – is never advisable, and it could even be life-threatening.

Help for you or a loved one is only one call away.

Although there is no universal solution for addressing fentanyl withdrawal, several strategies can improve the likelihood of success. These approaches involve gradually reducing the dose, incorporating MAT (medication-assisted treatment), and collaborating with a healthcare professional to address mental and behavioral well-being during detox and beyond.

Read to discover more about the following issues:

  • Can you quit fentanyl cold turkey with the help of loved ones?
  • Why is cold turkey fentanyl withdrawal never recommended?
  • What is the most effective alternative to fentanyl withdrawal cold turkey?
  • What to do instead of going off fentanyl cold turkey – how to connect with evidence-based treatment in Southern California.

Fentanyl Cold Turkey Withdrawal Symptoms

When abruptly discontinuing fentanyl cold turkey, individuals may experience a range of challenging withdrawal symptoms. Cold turkey withdrawal symptoms are the body’s response to the absence of a substance upon which it has become accustomed.

Common withdrawal symptoms when quitting fentanyl cold turkey include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Sweating and chills
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Last Cold Turkey?

The duration of fentanyl withdrawal during a cold turkey approach can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s usage history, dose, and overall health. Generally, fentanyl withdrawal symptoms peak within the first 72 hours and gradually subside over the course of 7 to 10 days. That said, some lingering symptoms, such as fatigue and mood disturbances, may persist for several weeks.

What is the Best Way to Quit Fentanyl?

Quitting fentanyl is a significant decision that should be approached with careful consideration and professional guidance. Due to the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms and the risks associated with sudden discontinuation, it is vital to choose the best approach for quitting fentanyl. Here are key steps to consider:

  • Seek professional guidance: The best way to quit fentanyl is under the supervision and guidance of a healthcare provider. A healthcare professional can assess your situation, medical history, and addiction severity to determine the most suitable approach for cessation.
  • Tapering: Tapering, or gradually reducing the fentanyl dosage, is generally considered the safest and most effective way to quit. Under medical supervision, your healthcare provider will create a personalized tapering schedule that allows your body to adjust to decreasing levels of the drug. Tapering helps minimize the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and provides a smoother transition to a drug-free state.
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment): Medication-assisted treatment involves using FDA-approved medications like buprenorphine or methadone to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. MAT can significantly enhance the success of fentanyl cessation by providing relief from discomfort and reducing the risk of relapse.
  • Behavioral support: Incorporating behavioral therapy, counseling, or support groups into your cessation plan can help address the psychological aspects of addiction. These approaches provide coping strategies, stress management techniques, and relapse prevention skills.
  • Holistic approach: Engaging in holistic practices such as exercise, proper nutrition, mindfulness, meditation, and stress reduction can contribute to your overall well-being during the quitting process. A holistic approach supports physical, mental, and emotional health.
  • Ongoing support: After successfully discontinuing the use of fentanyl, maintaining your progress requires ongoing support. Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider, participation in therapy or support groups, and utilizing relapse prevention strategies are crucial for sustained recovery.

Quitting fentanyl is a personal journey, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Working closely with a healthcare professional ensures that your quitting plan is tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and professional support significantly increases your chances of a successful and safe fentanyl cessation journey.

a woman sits on a large rocky hill to represent quitting fentanyl cold turkey

Fentanyl Withdrawal Treatment

Withdrawal from fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, can be challenging, but various treatment strategies can help individuals navigate this process with greater ease and safety. Fentanyl withdrawal treatment aims to alleviate discomfort while promoting a successful transition to a drug-free state. Here are some essential components of fentanyl withdrawal treatment:

Medical supervision

Withdrawal from fentanyl can lead to the presentation of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms. Medical supervision ensures that individuals receive appropriate care and support throughout the process. Healthcare providers can address any complications, monitor vital signs, and adjust treatment as needed.

Tapered reduction in dosage during detox

Gradual dose reduction, known as tapering, is a common approach to managing fentanyl withdrawal. Under the guidance of a healthcare provider, individuals can slowly reduce their fentanyl dosage over time, minimizing the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

MAT

MAT involves the use of approved medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Common medications used for fentanyl withdrawal include buprenorphine and methadone. These medications help stabilize the body’s opioid receptors, minimizing withdrawal discomfort and promoting a smoother transition.

Psychotherapies (talk therapies)

Behavioral therapy like CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) can aid individuals in addressing the psychological aspects of addiction. This approach helps individuals develop coping skills, manage cravings, and adopt healthier behavioral patterns.

Individualized and blended treatment plans

Every person’s journey through fentanyl withdrawal is unique. Customized treatment plans account for factors like the severity of addiction, medical history, and co-occurring mental health conditions. Personalized plans increase the likelihood of successful withdrawal and sustained recovery. Comprehensive treatment often includes holistic elements that contribute to overall well-being and aid in managing withdrawal symptoms.

Continued support

Recovery is an ongoing process. Continued support through counseling, therapy, support groups, and relapse prevention strategies is crucial for maintaining progress after completing the withdrawal phase.

Seek professional guidance is essential when considering fentanyl withdrawal treatment. Healthcare providers can assess your situation, recommend appropriate treatment options, and ensure a safe and effective withdrawal process.

FAQs

How long does fentanyl withdrawal last cold turkey?

The duration of fentanyl withdrawal during a cold turkey approach can vary, but withdrawal symptoms typically peak within the first 72 hours and gradually subside over 7 to 10 days. Some symptoms may persist for weeks, though.

Is there a fentanyl cold turkey patch that works?

Currently, there is no specific stopping fentanyl patch cold turkey designed for withdrawal. Withdrawal from fentanyl is best managed under medical supervision and with the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Can I withdraw from fentanyl at home?

While some individuals may choose to withdraw from fentanyl at home, it is strongly recommended to detox instead under medical supervision. Fentanyl withdrawal can be intense and potentially risky, so seeking professional guidance ensures safety and effective management of symptoms.

an image of Gratitude Lodge's fentanyl withdrawal treatment center

Get Treatment for Fentanyl Withdrawal at Gratitude Lodge

Although fentanyl is fiercely addictive, almost all fentanyl addictions respond positively to evidence-based treatment. We can help you with this at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California. We have pet-friendly treatment centers located in Long Beach and Newport Beach, CA devoted to whole-body healing from fentanyl addiction.

Begin your recovery with a supervised fentanyl detox, taking advantage of medications and continuous clinical and emotional care for the safest and most comfortable approach to withdrawal from fentanyl. After a week or so, you can shift into ongoing inpatient treatment. Our 30-day residential program offers the most structured and supportive route to long-term recovery from opioid use disorder.

All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs draw from these interventions:

When you are ready to move beyond fentanyl addiction call Gratitude Lodge admissions at 888-861-1658.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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