Prescription Drug Detox

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When used appropriately, prescription drugs can help people experience improved health and much better quality of life. Unfortunately, the use of these medications can also expose people to the risk of addiction – a danger that can be magnified if a person engages in prescription drug abuse. Once someone has developed an addiction, they may need detox for prescription drugs to help them overcome their compulsions and achieve successful, long-term recovery.

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Types of Prescription Drugs That Require Detox

People can become dependent on virtually any prescription medication if they take it long enough. However, some types of drugs pose a greater risk of particularly distressing and disruptive withdrawal symptoms.

Three types of prescription drugs that often require detox are:

  • Stimulants such as amphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Depressants such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), zolpidem (Ambien), and eszopiclone (Lunesta)
  • Opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), tramadol, morphine, and fentanyl

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Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

In general, someone who has become addicted to any prescription drug may exhibit signs such as:

  • Using the drug in greater amounts, or for a longer period of time, than directed by the prescribing physician
  • Exaggerating or lying about their symptoms in order to get additional prescriptions for the drug.
  • Trying to buy, borrow, or steal drugs that were prescribed to someone else.
  • Developing tolerance, which means that they need to take larger amounts of the drug to achieve the effects they previously felt after taking smaller doses.
  • Experiencing physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms when they abruptly stop taking the drug.

 

In addition to these general signs, other symptoms can depend on which type of prescription drug a person has become addicted to. For example:

  • Someone who is addicted to stimulants may develop symptoms such as increased energy and activity, loss of appetite, diminished need for sleep, elevated body temperature and blood pressure, mood swings, agitation, and aggressiveness.
  • Addiction to depressants can cause symptoms such as double vision, muscle weakness, memory problems, diminished reaction time, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns. 
  • Symptoms of opioid addiction include slowed breathing, persistent lethargy, change in appetite and resultant weight loss or gain, constipation, memory problems, cognitive delays, and poor judgement. 

Prescription Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

As with the signs and symptoms we discussed in the previous section, the types of withdrawal symptoms a person develops during detox for prescription drugs can vary depending on which substance they have become addicted to.

If a person is withdrawing from prescription painkillers or other medications that contain opioids, their experience may involve:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Racing heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

 

Withdrawal from depressants can involve symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Racing heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal ideation

 

During detox for an addiction to prescription stimulants, a person may develop:

  • Exhaustion
  • Overall achiness 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Deep sadness
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Disrupted concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

How Long Does It Take To Detox from Prescription Drugs?

The amount of time it takes to detox from prescription drugs can be influenced by many factors, including:

  • Your age, weight, and metabolism
  • Which drug you have become addicted to
  • How long you have been abusing that drug
  • How much of the drug you typically use
  • If you have any co-occurring medical or mental health concerns 

 

In general, symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal often begin within 24 hours of the last time you took the drug. These symptoms will usually become stronger over the next few days, after which they will slowly begin to subside.

The most intense physical withdrawal symptoms usually dissipate within five to seven days, though it’s not uncommon to experience lingering distress for another week or so. 

After the acute phase has passed, some people develop what clinicians refer to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. 

This experience is usually characterized by extended psychological symptoms, such as drug cravings, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and trouble with memory and concentration. Some PAWS symptoms can persist for several weeks or even months. 

What to Expect At Our Prescription Drug Detox Programs

At Music City Detox, we are committed to personalized service. This means that different patients can have different experiences while they are in our care. However, every person who completes detox for prescription drugs with us can expect to benefit from certain fundamental features of our program, such as:

  • You will be in a safe and closely supervised environment where you won’t have access to the drug you have become addicted to.
  • You will be cared for by a team of compassionate professionals who are familiar with all parts of the withdrawal process.
  • The members of your treatment team will be available to answer any questions that you have about addiction and withdrawal, so you will be empowered to make the most informed decisions about your care and your continued progress.
  • You may receive certain medications to alleviate drug cravings and ease other withdrawal symptoms.
  • You can participate in various forms of therapy while you’re still in detox for prescription drugs. This can help you manage your symptoms and begin to make the changes that will support your successful, long-term recovery.

Depending on your specific needs and goals, the therapeutic component of your experience at Motor City Detox may include services such as:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dual diagnosis programming
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Music therapy

We also provide customized aftercare planning for all patients. As you approach the end of your time with us, a member of your team will meet with you to discuss your treatment options and identify the most appropriate types of follow-on care for you.

Can I Detox From Prescription Drugs At Home?

It’s possible to get through withdrawal at home, without professional help. But taking this route can be much more difficult than entering detox for prescription drugs. Here are just a few reasons why trying to withdraw from prescription medications at home can be problematic:

  • Intense cravings are common symptoms of withdrawal from all types of prescription drugs. In a detox program, you won’t have access to the drug you are addicted to, so it will be impossible for you to act on these cravings. At home, easy access to the drug, combined with the knowledge that using the drug will ease your discomfort, can quickly undermine your detox efforts.
  • In most cases, detox from prescription drugs doesn’t pose a serious threat to your health. You may feel miserable for a while, but you’re probably not in danger of incurring significant harm. However, “probably” being not in danger is not the same as not being in any danger at all. If you begin to have health problems in a professionally managed detox program, your treatment team can intervene before things get too bad. When you try to detox from prescription drugs at home by yourself, you may not be able to get help until it’s too late.
  • Detox can be an essential step toward recovery from prescription drug addiction. But simply getting through withdrawal doesn’t mean your struggles are over. Addiction is a chronic disease, which means you will likely need to make a concerted, ongoing effort to resist relapse and remain in recovery. When you enroll in a reputable detox program, your team will develop a discharge plan to guide your continued progress. At home, you won’t have access to this type of important ongoing support.

Learn More About Detox From Prescription Drugs in Nashville

If you have become dependent on prescription drugs or any other addictive substances, Music City Detox can help you get through withdrawal safely and with minimal discomfort. 

At our center, you can expect to receive personalized services and customized support from a team of skilled and experienced professionals. With our help, you can end your use of prescription drugs and start building a foundation for a much healthier and more hopeful future.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.

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