Page Updated on Nov 28, 2019 by Dr. Reyfman (Pain Management Specialist) of Pain Physicians NY

If you need prescription drug detox after taking prescribed medication for a period of time, visit a clinic such as Pain Physicians NY. They have the expertise and the specialists who know how to take you through a detox from prescription drugs. Don’t attempt the detox at home; the risks are too high.

Prescription drugs can hurt as much as they help. Whether you have to use them for physical problems like chronic pain or psychological issues like anxiety or depression, there’s no doubt that prescription drugs can make the healing process a little easier.

But even good things can pose a threat if they’re not used correctly or end up in the hands of people they weren’t prescribed for. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, prescription drugs are the third most commonly abused drugs. It’s estimated that about 48 million Americans abuse prescription medication.

The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs

The three most commonly abused classes of drugs are pain killers, tranquilizers/sedatives and stimulants. Each has different effects, addictive properties and side effects. All are highly addictive and require treatment at prescription drug detox centers. Features of these three drug classes include:

  1. Opioids block or alter sensations of pain or stress. Used for: pain relief and chronic pain, they deliver pain relief, euphoria, drowsiness, nausea and slow breathing. Examples include hydrocodone, oxycodone/Oxycontin, fentanyl and morphine.
  2. Tranquilizers/sedatives are central nervous system depressants. Used for anxiety, panic disorder and sleep disorders, they cause calming, drowsiness, respiratory and cardiac depression. Examples include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, Xanax and Valium.
  3. Stimulants increase brain activity, leading to alertness, high energy and increased attention. Used for ADHD, narcolepsy and depression, they increase blood pressure and heart rate, while causing euphoria, seizures and arrhythmias. Examples include Ritalin, Adderall and Dexedrine.

Detox from Prescription Drugs

Treatment for prescription drug addiction is multifaceted. Detox from prescription drugs is only a part of comprehensive treatment. In addition to stabilization and complete withdrawal of the drug from your system, behavioral therapy and medical therapy can lead to a successful recovery.

Prescription drug detox programs are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Detox from prescription drugs can be done at home, but because of the severe, even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, detox under medical supervision and care is your best chance. Some methods of detox at a clinic include:

  • Cold turkey
  • Short-term medicated detox
  • Long-term medicated detox

What Detox Looks Like

Detox is the method by which a drug is removed from your body, with or without aid. The process includes stabilization, monitoring and support, physically and mentally, as your body gets rid of the drug. Detox also includes management of your withdrawal symptoms.

It’s not an easy process. Once you’ve reached out to a prescription drug detox center, the staff does an evaluation to determine the best treatment plan for you. Your treatment, including the detox process, depends on physical factors like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height and weight
  • Physical or mental illness
  • Involvement of other drugs
  • Dose and frequency of drug taken
  • Length of addiction

Time Becomes Relative

Detox lasts as long as symptoms of withdrawal are present — as long as it takes you to stabilize, both emotionally and physically. Detox from prescription drugs varies, depending on the drug that’s in your system. Every detox process starts with a gradual tapering of the drug to reduce your dependence.

Some prescription drugs, like opioids and sedatives, have stronger physical withdrawal symptoms. Stimulants, on the other hand, tend to affect you more psychologically. Symptoms range from mild to severe. For example:

  • Sleep, appetite, or mood disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Stomach cramps
  • Aches and pain
  • Anxiety
  • Aspiration
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Delirium tremens
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Violence or psychosis

Helpful Drugs

While most prescription drug detox treatment programs don’t involve other drugs, opioids is a class that does. Medications like naloxone, buprenorphine and methadone bind to the opioid receptors in your brain, essentially blocking the stronger drugs from having an effect.

These helpful drugs should only be used under medical supervision at a prescription drug detox center. Unfortunately, you may become addicted to these drugs and have to undergo methadone detox or Suboxone detox after taking these medications.

Just the First Step

Detox from prescription drugs is just a first step in your return to a healthy life. Counseling and psychological management, like cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management, help you maintain your recovery after the drugs are out of your system.

It’s important that you don’t attempt detox from prescription drugs by yourself. The dangers, as well as the risk of relapse, are too high a price. Getting help at a prescription drug detox center gives you all the tools you need to succeed.