Anyone who abuses prescription drugs or an illicit substance can benefit from a drug detox. While most drug withdrawal symptoms are not fatal, they are often extremely unpleasant, and may invoke feelings of anxiety, depression, and suicide. The first few hours to days of drug detox is often enough to make user relapse to escape the horrible symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms occur because the brain receptors affected by the drug have been used to the drug’s effects.
For any drug, withdrawal effects may be mild, moderate, or severe. While there is usually a general time frame for effects, the duration and intensity will vary for every user.
Prescription Opioids/Opiates Painkillers
Prescription opioids are central nervous system depressants. They adhere to receptors in the brain responsible for pain and general well-being, and increase dopamine.
They include medications such as Oxycontin (oxycodone). Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), Percocet, and Morphine sulfate
Withdrawal symptoms commonly include:
- muscle aches
- lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
- runny nose
- excessive sweating
- abdominal cramping
- nausea and vomiting
- dilated pupils and possibly blurry vision
- rapid heartbeat
- high blood pressure
Heroin withdrawals are very similar to those of opioid withdrawals. Withdrawing from heroin is known as being “dope sick’. Because heroin is often more powerful than prescription opioids, the withdrawals may be more severe depending on frequency and duration of use.
Detox for Benzodiazepine and Anti-Anxiety Medications
Benzodiazepines are also depressants. The effect GABA (the neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for suppressing activity) in a similar manner as alcohol.
Withdrawal effects commonly include:
- anxiety and panic attacks
- hand tremors
- Impaired concentration, cognitive ability and confusion
- memory problems
- weight loss
- heart palpitations
- muscular pain and stiffness
- hallucinations and/or psychosis
Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. Like many drugs, cocaine increases dopamine. Withdrawal typically includes the opposite effects. They include:
- agitation and restless behavior
- depressed mood
- general feeling of discomfort
- increased appetite
- vivid and unpleasant dreams
- slowing of activity
Amphetamines are also stimulants. They include prescription amphetamines such as Adderall and Ritalin. These drugs are indicated to treat ADHD, but are often used for recreational purposes or for increased energy and alertness.
Methamphetamine is an illicit drug without much accepted medical purpose, and withdrawal symptoms are similar to that of cocaine.
What To Expect During A Medical Detox
The typical detox process is between 5-10 days. The duration and intensity of symptoms are largely dependent upon the patient’s frequency and duration of drug use.
Each patient may expect:
- 24 hour medical supervision
- Medication management for withdrawal syndrome if needed
- Individual and group therapy
- Nutritional assessment and guidance
- Holistic treatment options such as: yoga, reiki, meditation, and more
Medication-assisted detox may be available based on recommendations by health care professionals and client needs.