Prescription Drug Detox

Prescription drug addictions are surprisingly common and can be very difficult to shake. Dependency can subtly take hold after a few episodes of recreational drug use, or after a user falls into its grips after a long course of therapeutic pain-control treatment. Prescription drug detox can be difficult and is best achieved with in-house therapy.

Making the Decision to Quit

Prescription Drug DetoxMany individuals do not realize that they have a serious drug dependency problem until they spiral into a serious state of psychological and physical addiction. By the time many people come to terms with the fact that drugs are destroying their lives, serious problems have set in such as broken relationships, overwhelming debt, and job loss.

The first step that many sufferers from drug addiction attempt is to quit substance abuse on their own. Trying to withdraw from drugs without professional help can often backfire and allow the addiction to take an even stronger hold. Individuals often struggle by trying to stop taking the drugs, and once the discomforts of withdrawal appear they immediately reach for the pills to ease the distress. The result is frequently a stronger psychological and physical addiction to the substance than what was earlier experienced.


Prescription drug detox should not be taken lightly. People who are seriously committed to purging themselves of drug dependency are best served by carefully monitored inpatient treatment. Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and dangerous, and professional medical staff are available at inpatient facilities to help individuals ease into the process of prescription drug detox safely. Detoxification must take place before any effective treatment program is initiated.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and include the following:

  • Sleeplessness-Removal of opiates such as heroin and opiate medications can cause severe insomnia.
  • Anxiety-The fear of upcoming withdrawal symptoms along with the loss of the drug’s calming effect can cause uncontrollable anxiety.
  • Depression-The main effect of opiates is pleasure, and when the constant pleasurable effect is taken away, depression often follows.
  • Paranoia-The brain reacts to the loss of a constant flow of opiates by an over-reactive response of paranoia.
  • Weight loss-The desire for drugs often supersedes the body’s natural craving for food resulting in poor or virtually non-existent eating habits.
  • Suicidal thoughts-An overwhelming desire to harm oneself can occur due to a removal of the gratification felt from opiates along with the realization of overwhelming personal loss due to addiction.

Opiates cause severe physical dependency which results in marked symptoms after withdrawal including:

  • Extreme agitation
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yawning
  • Chills and goose flesh
  • Severe body aches

Undergoing withdrawal symptoms is best experienced while in a medically supervised environment. Medications are available to ease the suffering caused by the cessation of opiate use, and patients are monitored to ensure that their health is not compromised during the process. The discomfort of terminating opiate use can push individuals to return to drug use to ease the distress caused by the process. Tight in-house supervision protects patients from losing the goal of recovery by attempting to go through detox alone.

Many times individuals are eased into detox by replacing the addictive drug with another controlled substance that is gradually withdrawn. The symptoms using this process are less severe and the patient undergoes much less suffering. The gradual method is safer for individuals who are less medically stable and who may be unable to endure the physical symptoms experienced during withdrawal.

Many people equate drug detox with treatment, but the two processes are quite different. Detoxification is the system of removing the chemical effects of the opiates that have gripped the individual both physically and emotionally. Detox must first occur before any real treatment is initiated, and is the very first step in a long process back to a happy and productive life.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

Treatment and recovery can occur once the patient has been medically cleared from the detox process. Also known as rehabilitation or “rehab,” the treatment process involves in-depth counseling to help patients come to grips with their addictions and develop learning tools to avoid repeating the behavior. Reputable programs have been scientifically proven by federal medical institutes to be safe and effective in treating drug addiction. Good programs are staffed with experts in the field of addiction and operate under evidence-based treatment protocols. Many states and insurance companies require recovery programs to maintain standards aligned with evidence-based treatment.

During treatment, every aspect of the individual’s life is explored to reveal the underlying causes of drug dependency. Once a patient understands the driving forces behind addictive behavior, he or she can begin to devise a plan to avoid destructive behavior.

Individuals cannot be forcefully rehabilitated from prescription drug addiction. The suffering person must first come to terms with the destructive force of dependency and make an internal resolution to change the direction of life. Successful rehabilitation is enjoyed by highly motivated individuals who religiously follow the treatment plan and seek support from groups, family members, and professionals. In short, people who take advantage of support programs and group discussions through the recovery process are more likely to achieve success in treatment. Studies have shown that patients who have an increase of emotional and financial support are more likely to beat addiction.

Finding the Best Treatment Program

Nothing is more serious in a drug dependent patient’s life than successfully beating addiction. Potential treatment programs should be carefully investigated and researched before a commitment is made to a particular facility. Several key points should be discovered before embarking on a particular program and are as follows:

  • Does the treatment program employ the latest scientific findings?
  • Are licensed medical and counseling staff employed at the facility?
  • Are medications used in the withdrawal/treatment process?
  • What kind of treatment is used and how does it work?
  • Is a psychologist who specializes in addiction on site?
  • What studies are available that support the facility’s program?
  • How is successful treatment monitored and what is the success rate?

The best rehabilitation facilities employ in-depth and multifaceted treatment programs. Good recovery centers help patients by integrating the family into the learning process to create a better healing environment once the individual returns back into a normal life. Many sufferers of addiction have fallen into financial despair, and excellent recovery programs connect patients with social service providers to help ease overwhelming financial burdens. Reputable treatment centers make use of random drug screening to monitor the patient’s progress and ensure that the only drugs being used are those prescribed for treatment.

Prescription drug detox and treatment is a battle that is best won by using proven methods by a professional staff in a reputable rehabilitation facility. An addiction-free life is an invaluable treasure that, once achieved, should be guarded with the utmost diligence. Successfully recovered patients practice effective coping skills learned during treatment by integrating useful tools and avoiding triggers of destructive behavior. Support from family and organized groups should be sought out for the rest of the individual’s life.

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