At the Excel Center, we appreciate how hard it is to detox from prescription drugs. Even though they are legal, prescription drugs can be just as addictive as illegal street drugs.
We know that many people find themselves addicted after being prescribed by a doctor, and we also know that people also buy these drugs on the black market. Prescription drug use is at high levels in New Jersey – in 2018, prescription opioids killed 14,975 people in this state alone.
Prescription drug addiction is a broad term, which covers many different kinds of drugs. It includes drugs from the opioid, benzodiazepine, and stimulant families.
Because of the different effects of these drugs, different approaches are required to make sure that detox is safe. Although the withdrawal effects of these drugs can be uncomfortable, they can be managed with medication.
Clients are often surprised at how much easier it is detoxing in a clinical setting, than attempting to do so alone at home.
Different Prescription Drugs
Opioids and Opiates
These drugs are painkillers, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Lortab, and Oramorph. They are prescribed for moderate to severe pain and are only recommended for short-term use. They are very effective at blocking out pain. However, they can also block emotional pain, and cause euphoric pleasurable feelings.
Prolonged use of opioids and opiates causes physical dependence. This means that the brain now relies on having these chemicals in the bloodstream to regulate itself. If the use of the drug is suddenly stopped, users experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance also occurs with long-term use, meaning that users need more of the drug to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.
Opioid and opiate addiction is hazardous. Because of its chemical similarity to heroin, they can be used interchangeably. A common story we hear is people starting with an addiction to prescription painkillers and ending up using heroin.
Despite this danger, opioids and opiates are still widely prescribed. In 2018, doctors wrote 38 prescriptions for every 100 people in New Jersey.
These are tranquilizers such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. They are prescribed for mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder and panic attacks, and they give users a calm, tranquil feeling. In high doses, they produce a feeling similar to drunkenness, with lowered inhibitions and memory loss.
Benzodiazepines are highly addictive. They cause both physical and mental dependence. The withdrawal symptoms can be very unpleasant, and in some instances, fatal. If you or one of your loved one is addicted to benzodiazepines, clinical detox is a must to ensure safety.
These drugs are usually prescribed for ADHD and include Adderall and Ritalin. Unlike benzodiazepines and opioids, they are designed to be prescribed long-term. However, they are frequently misused.
These drugs give a feeling of being alert, awake, and euphoric. College students commonly use these to help them study. Despite this sounding harmless, these drugs are seriously addictive. Addiction to these drugs is linked to a range of mental and physical health conditions, which is why a structured clinical detox is the best approach to tackling prescription stimulant addiction.
Excel Treatment Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care for each of our clients. Recovery starts with detox, where we break the physical hold that drugs have over the body. Although this can be scary, we are partnered with a well-established facility that specializes in treating prescription drug detox.
During your stay with them, all your needs will be taken care of, so you can focus on making your recovery your main priority. Recovering from prescription drug addiction isn’t easy, but it is possible with the right commitment and support.
Opioids and Opiates Withdrawal Symptoms
Detoxing from these drugs can be extremely uncomfortable. These drugs cause physical changes in the brain, which means that without the drug, the body is unable to regulate itself properly.
The drugs have the same effect, regardless of whether you obtained them on the black market or your doctor or physician has prescribed them.
Some of the withdrawal effects include:
- Teary eyes
- Stomach pain
- Muscle pain
- Cravings to use
The acute symptoms of this detox usually start six to eight hours after the last dose, and peak within three days. Most of the physical symptoms will have stopped after three weeks, although there are sometimes lasting effects that can occur sporadically for months after.
Because of these withdrawal effects, it is not advisable to try and stop taking them on your own. Recovery is made much easier when there are trained professionals on hand to help.
Opioids and Opiates Detox Treatment
Although the withdrawal symptoms can be scary for people who have only previously tried to quit or go ‘cold turkey’, it is possible to detox from opioids and opiates safely and comfortably.
Opioid and opiate detox is usually treated by providing a substitute drug. Because all these drugs are similar in the way they act, it is possible to replace them with another longer-lasting drug and the dosage is then slowly reduced. This has the effect of gradually lowering the body’s dependence on the drug.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
Benzodiazepines are highly addictive. This addiction can be both physical and mental and can start after just four weeks of use. Many users who are prescribed these drugs are not aware of these risks.
Benzodiazepines depress the nervous system. When it is used to being constantly depressed, it reacts by ‘firing’ harder than it usually does. When the drug is suddenly removed from the system, it can make it ‘overfire’, and this causes the withdrawal effects. These can be extremely dangerous, and in some cases, can be fatal.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:
- Reduced appetite
The symptoms usually start around six to twelve hours after the last dose and will peak within three to five days, depending on which drug is being used. The acute effects should start to subside after three weeks, although many people experience effects that last for several months afterwards.
Benzodiazepine Detox Treatment
Despite the alarming nature of these symptoms, it is possible to manage them with medication. A detox usually works by switching to long-acting benzodiazepines such as Librium or Valium, and gradually tapering the dose down.
This slowly reduces the dependence and allows the brain to get used to functioning normally again. The dosage is then gradually reduced over a period of time until it is no longer needed. It is important not to try and detox from benzodiazepines rapidly as if attempted too quickly, the withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming. It can also result in seizures.
Stimulant Withdrawal Symptoms
Many people originally start taking these drugs to help performance without knowing how habit-forming they are. This is very risky, and many people find themselves unwittingly addicted.
These drugs cause a massive release of dopamine, our feel-good chemical, which alters the chemical balance in our brains. Altering these chemicals is dangerous as, with time, the brain gets used to the drug. Users quickly develop a tolerance, meaning that more and more of the drug is needed to obtain the same effect.
When drug use is suddenly stopped, users experience withdrawal symptoms as the levels of these feel-good chemicals in the brain crash.
Some of the withdrawal effects include:
- Disturbed appetite
Stimulant Detox Treatment
This varies from person to person and depends on the severity of the addiction and the resulting withdrawal symptoms. If a person has a legitimate use for the medication but has been abusing it, they will be stabilized with controlled doses.
If someone has been using stimulants that weren’t prescribed to them, and they have no legitimate use, they will stop as soon as they get to detox. This is safe to do, and various medications can be used to control the worst of the withdrawal effects.
ENSURING LASTING RECOVERY
Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix for drug addiction. However, if our clients have the motivation, then we have the means to help. To ensure lasting recovery, clients should engage in one of our recovery programs following detox.
We know that drug addiction doesn’t have to be a life sentence, and we are committed to helping everyone who walks through our doors take control and get their lives back on track. We offer a variety of treatment programs that are tailored to suit all needs. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of our clients find happiness in their own unique recovery, and we can help you too.
Excel Treatment Center is partnered with a number of detoxification facilities that are professional, licensed, and insurance friendly. These facilities are expertly run and provide the same level of personalized care that you can expect from us. If you or a loved one is ready to seek detoxification treatment, do not hesitate to reach out to us at (973)-989-7500.