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What Happens During Prescription Drug Detox?

Prescription drug detox can be on the mind of those addicted to prescription drugs daily. Facing an ebb and flow of the drug’s effects and being almost sober is a frustrating self-sabotaging cycle of anxiety. Throughout the day, the prescription drug user’s levels drop slowly until the withdrawal begins to set it. Consequently, the war within their heads argues vehemently to quit or take another dose. 

It’s not uncommon for those addicted to prescription drugs to enter a detoxification state. However, the combination of the drugs and the withdrawal effects of not having enough in the body, drugs breed an intense level of distress. Markedly, cognitive processes are unclear, and the body aches when denied. For this reason, entering a prescription drug detox would allow the professionals to work their magic and perform a successful detox. 

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse presents a diverse range of options to choose from. Typically, there are two types of prescription drug abusers. For example, choosing only one drug, some users stick to that specific drug with no variations. On the other hand, many users mix prescription drugs to fashion their cocktail of effects. In any event, the presence of more than one prescription drug in an addiction can complicate the prescription drug detox.

Polydrug use is widespread; as stated in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs report, 12.1% of college students mix alcohol and prescription drugs, and 6.9% mix multiple drugs. Therefore, a prescription drug detox begins with an assessment to determine what drugs are ingested. Furthermore, a medical examination can determine the patient’s physical and mental health. Finally, a plan is made for a safe detox. 


Prescription drug detox involving benzos can be performed through a process called tapering (gradually reducing the dose of benzos) or cold turkey. Typically, detox involving benzodiazepines is very uncomfortable and can be dangerous. Therefore, medically-monitored detox is recommended for those using these prescription drugs. 

The following drugs are benzodiazepines:

  • Ativan
  • Halcion
  • Librium
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Klonopin

Opiates are complex and uncomfortable to detox from. However, in reducing the risk of overdose, prescription drug detox is vital in improving physical and mental health. 

Opioids commonly abused can include:

  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone

What is Prescription Drug Detox?

Detoxification is the process of removing a substance from the body and mind. Prescription drug detox is uncomfortable and can be dangerous. In addition, it causes chaos within the body. Once the body recognizes the drug is absent, it adjusts to maintain all functioning. The brain follows in the queue to adapt to the absence of the levels of chemicals. 

Medically-monitored drug detox is always recommended. The body and mind are at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms. Experienced physicians monitor the patient’s blood pressure, heart, breathing, and lungs. Physical and mental withdrawal symptoms fluctuate. Finally, professional therapists trained in recovery monitor emotions, feelings, and psychological distress. 

Within a week to ten days, the most challenging aspects of prescription drug detox are lessening. First, the team monitors the patient until the substance has been removed from the system. Then, the withdrawal symptoms begin, and a stable state of mind comes to the forefront. Finally, the detox is completed as the patient starts to eat normally, sleep, and function within an acceptable level.

Prescription Drug Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal can vary with the type of drug involved with the addiction. Furthermore, a standard of factors determines the intensity and length of time the symptoms linger. In addition, prescription drug detox can be brutal and very dangerous. Consequently, each detox is an individual experience because of the personal factors involved. 

Physical symptoms experienced in prescription drug detox can be any of the following:

  • Chills and shivering
  • Heavy sweating
  • Irritation of the skin
  • Sensitivity
  • Weight loss

Mental symptoms experienced in prescriptions drug detox can be any of the following:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Poor concentration
  • Disorientation and confusion

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

In prescription drug detox, some people experience extreme symptoms, which could be treated with medication-assisted treatment. In addition, opiate withdrawal is very uncomfortable, and those with an opiate use disorder can feel intense pain, sleep problems, anxiety, and severe cravings. The benefits of resorting to MAT are that the patient is more comfortable, the chance of relapse is reduced, and detox can move along faster in some cases. 

The mental distress experienced in prescription drug detox can be more detrimental than the physical symptoms. As a result, memories run through the mind like a movie reel, and these memories have been buried so long that the detox experience becomes unbearable. Moreover, left alone, the patient could refuse to continue detox and relapse. 

Finally, the professionals supervising the detox recognize this could endanger the chances for future sobriety and use medication to relieve the patient. 

Finding A Treatment Facility

Prescription drug detox can occur in many places, but to begin a sober journey, find a professional treatment center with many options. This will allow the patient to have a successful, medically monitored detox and the choice of MAT. It is imperative to have medical and mental health professionals supervise and guide the patient through detox. Inpatient detox programs are the most successful. 

Those who have the following conditions need to consider using inpatient detox seriously:

  • History of hallucinations or seizures
  • Serious medical conditions
  • Previous history of outpatient addiction care
  • Mental health disorders
  • Lack of support
  • Polydrug use
  • Opiate addiction
  • Prior history of outpatient addiction care
  • Mental illness
  • Lack of social support
  • Poly-drug use
  • Opiate dependency

Continued treatment must follow detox immediately. Inpatient therapy is recommended. Evidence-based therapies need to be added to the treatment plan for success. Group and family therapy are excellent for additional support. Many people have found holistic therapies beneficial for adapting to a sober lifestyle. 

Explore Your Options for Prescription Drug Detox in Georgia

Prescription drug addiction can be challenging to detox from. However, in Georgia, the Retreat of Atlanta has many evidence-based therapies to follow their medically monitored detox plan. In addition, our admissions team has excellent resources to reduce your anxiety in getting enrolled and started on your way to sobriety. Contact one of our advisors today to get your concerns and your questions answered.

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