Prescription drug withdrawal is what happens to the mind and body during recovery from addiction. During the detox process, intense withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult to maintain recovery and can even be dangerous.
The prescription drug detox program at Northpoint Washington is designed to maximize safety and comfort during the early stages of recovery. Learn more or get started in our comprehensive prescription drug treatment program by calling 425.437.3298 today.
Why Do People Experience Withdrawal from Prescription Drugs?
When you become addicted to prescription medication, your body becomes used to it over time. This means that both your body and brain tolerate and expect consistent doses of it.
When you suddenly stop taking your medication, neither your body nor your brain knows how to respond. Since the medication relieved the brain and body, some internal processes stopped working as efficiently or altogether. Withdrawal symptoms occur when your brain and body overcompensate in an attempt to fill the gap left by the medication’s function.
Common Prescription Medication Withdrawal Symptoms
Prescription drug withdrawal may be the worst experience you ever have. People usually suffer from both physical and mental symptoms, and they can become debilitating. Since there are so many classes of prescription drugs that function in different ways, each may bring a unique combination of symptoms.
Prescription Opioid Painkillers
There is a long list of prescription opioid medications that can lead to withdrawal, including fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine.
If you’re addicted to prescription painkillers, you may experience some of the following withdrawal symptoms during detox:
- Achy muscles
- Bouts of restlessness
- Symptoms of anxiety
- Tearing eyes
- A runny nose
- Problems sleeping
- Excessive yawning
- Cravings for your medication
- Stomach cramps
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
There are several complications associated with opioid withdrawal, including dehydration, pneumonia, and potential seizures. Opioid withdrawal symptoms typically peak within three to five days and lessen over time.
Stimulant medications, like Adderall, Ritalin, or Vyvanse, are generally used to treat attention disorders. Common withdrawal symptoms associated with stimulant abuse include:
- Feeling extremely tired and fatigued
- Drug cravings
- Symptoms of depression
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
- Low energy and lethargy
- Frequent mood swings
- Anger and agitation
The most serious potential complication that can occur when coming off prescription stimulants is severe depression, which can lead to suicidal thoughts. People usually reach the peak of withdrawal by the one-week mark. It can take as long as four weeks before their symptoms gradually diminish and then disappear.
Drugs like Zoloft, Celexa, and Prozac work well for people with anxiety and depression. While antidepressants are often considered to be some of the safest drugs on the market, withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone stops using them. Some common symptoms include:
- Returning depression symptoms
- Symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks
- Fatigue and excessive sleep
- Insomnia with vivid dreams
- Flu-like symptoms, such as aches and chills
- Bouts of nausea
- Sensations that feel like electric shocks
- Irritability and agitation
There are several complications that can occur during antidepressant detox, including dehydration, psychosis, depersonalization, and severe depressive symptoms that could lead to suicidal thoughts. Most experts indicate that withdrawal symptoms usually last for about a week or two. However, there are some cases when they could last as long as six weeks.
Benzodiazepines like Ativan, Klonopin, and Librium are some of the strongest drugs in the world. They’re usually prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures, or insomnia. Some common signs of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
- Symptoms of anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Problems with concentration
- Increased irritability
- Emotional outbursts or mood swings
- Impaired memory
- Body aches and pains
- Muscle stiffness and soreness
- Difficulty sleeping
It is very dangerous to detox from a benzo medication alone. Complications include severe depression, which could lead to suicidal thoughts. Withdrawal seizures are most commonly associated with benzodiazepines.
Benzo withdrawal symptoms will usually appear within six to twelve hours after the last dose of the drug. Withdrawal will often peak at around the one-week mark. During the second week, symptoms will begin to subside.
For people who don’t get professional help, it’s possible for prescription drug withdrawal symptoms to last for years. They may experience some intermittent relief, but it’s not uncommon for withdrawal to come back in full force from time to time.
Medications Used in Prescription Drug Detox Programs
There are several medications that addiction and behavioral health professionals often prescribe to treat withdrawal symptoms. For example, if you are addicted to opioid painkillers, you may begin medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This form of therapy involves taking a different drug that directly treats your withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the drugs that are commonly given to people in MAT programs include:
Vivitrol is a newer medication that has been approved to treat opioid addiction. It isn’t an opioid drug like Suboxone, but it works in much the same way. This medication is given as a monthly injection, which makes it very convenient as well.
How to Detox from Prescription Drugs at a Professional Center
The best way to safely detox from prescription drugs is to do it at a professional center. Experienced teams will be able to provide you with the medical and emotional support that you need. They will also assess your physical, mental, and emotional health before providing an appropriate treatment plan.
While in detox, staff members may give you medications designed to reduce withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. You’ll also receive counseling and psychotherapy, as well as other forms of therapy that may improve your chances of a successful recovery.
The Prescription Drug Detox Program at Northpoint Washington
We understand how hard it can be to detox from prescription drugs. Our compassionate and experienced staff are here to provide you with the best possible care while in our center.
Our treatment center in Edmonds, Washington is a safe and comfortable environment for your recovery process. You’ll have access to medication-assisted treatment if needed, as well as counseling and psychotherapy services.
We also offer group therapy sessions to help you build a strong support network and practice lasting sobriety. Get started on your journey today by contacting us at 425.437.3298. We look forward to helping you begin on the path of recovery and healing from addiction.