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withdrawal symptoms of prescription drugs

Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs, Dangers, Risk Factors, Addiction & Detox Treatment

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug addiction is a disease that affects a person’s behavior and brain; this condition represents a huge problem in the US. Prescription drug abuse is a disease that affects a person’s behavior and brain; this condition represents a huge problem in the US.

About 52 million Americans older than 12 have used prescription medications non-medically at some point in their lives. Being addicted to Prescription Drugs is a process that happens slowly.

Some people don’t notice the moment at which they shift from recreational abuse to intense addiction, but when addiction takes hold, it can be serious. Some people don’t notice the moment at which they shift from recreational abuse to intense addiction, but when addiction takes hold, it can be serious.

Prescription drugs are designed to treat certain medical conditions or ease the discomfort that diseases can bring. For people with medical conditions like asthma or cancer, and people with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, prescription medications can mean the difference between a healthy and happy life or an upsetting and painful illness. But some people use prescription medications for reasons that have very little to do with illnesses. These people take prescription medications recreationally, and there are a lot of people just like this in the world.

Prescription Drug Withdrawal

During withdrawal, the body tries to regulate itself back to its original state before it relied on prescription drugs and painkillers to function. However, withdrawal can be a painful process to go through if it is not done safely and properly.

The reason the body reacts so severely during withdrawal is that the chemical processes in the brain were disrupted. Stimulants, opiates, and antidepressants interfere with the GABA receptors in your brain. The role of the GABA receptors is to inhibit or reduce the activity of your nerve cells. Therefore, a person who is weaning off of the prescription medication on their own can put themselves in danger if the process is not done with proper medical supervision.

Not every person experiences prescription drug withdrawal in the same way. The kind of Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs that a person struggles with depends on:

withdrawal symptoms of prescription drugs
During withdrawal, the body tries to regulate itself back to its original state before it relied on prescription drugs and painkillers to function.
  • The length of the addiction: If prescription drugs and painkillers are taken daily for an extended period, this results in a higher tolerance of the drug, which paves the way for more severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • The half-life of the drug: If the prescription drug is fast-acting, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms immediately after the first dose they missed. If it’s slow-acting, the symptoms may be delayed by a couple of days.
  • The prescribed dosage: The higher the dose of the prescription drug, the more likely a person is to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Any mental or physical disorders: If a person suffers from a co-occurring disorder, such as depression or anxiety, or a physical condition, such as severe pain, a person’s withdrawal symptoms are likely to be severe as well.

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Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs

The most misused and addictive prescription drugs are:

Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Yawning
  • Anxiety 
  • Irritability
  • Shakiness
  • Pallor
  • Increased heart rate
  • Goosebumps

The severity of Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs depends mostly on the number of opioids taken per day, also to some degree, on which opioid is taken. Withdrawing from opioid drugs can be done with the help of medications that manage withdrawal symptoms. If you’re taking your medications as directed and are healthy overall, tapering off of them could “theoretically” be done at home. But for those with an opioid use disorder, quitting at home might not address the problem if they need addiction treatment.

Are you or somebody you know at serious risk of an overdose because of drug or alcohol abuse? If so, please call 911 right away.

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Becoming sober is only a small part of treating opioid addiction. Stopping opioids is a requirement for successful treatment, but it is not sufficient by itself.

Central nervous system depressant withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever with sweating
  • Hallucinations

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, withdrawing from central nervous system depressants can be life-threatening, and it’s best done under medical supervision.

Withdrawal symptoms of prescription stimulants include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that long-term prescription stimulant misuse can also increase the risk of:

  • Psychosis
  • Anger
  • Paranoia
  • Heart, nerve, and stomach problems
  • Overdose

While opioids cause the most drug overdose deaths in the U.S., the number of prescription stimulant overdoses has been rapidly increasing. 

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Dangers of Prescription Drug Withdrawal

People often fear they might become addicted to medications prescribed for medical conditions, such as painkillers prescribed after surgery. But you can reduce your risk by carefully following your doctor’s instructions on how to take your medication. Prescription drug abuse can happen at any age but commonly begins in teens or young adults.

Risk factors for prescription drug abuse include:

  • Past or present addictions to other substances, including alcohol and tobacco
  • Family history of substance abuse problems
  • Certain pre-existing psychiatric conditions
  • Exposure to peer pressure or a social environment where there’s drug use
  • Easier access to prescription drugs, such as having prescription medications in the home medicine cabinet
  • Lack of knowledge about prescription drugs and their potential harm
withdrawal symptoms of prescription drugs
Undergoing a medical detox and addiction treatment will reduce the severity of the Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs and the timeline of withdrawal.

Factors that affect withdrawal symptoms from prescription drugs

Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs, their duration, and severity depend on several factors. Some of these factors will be personal to you.

  • The type of prescription drug you are taking
  • How long you have been consistently taking the prescription drug
  • The dosage and potency of the prescription drug
  • Whether you undergo a medical detox or attempt to self-detox
  • Your general mental and physical health
  • Other medications that you are taking
  • Whether you have been mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or other drugs
  • Whether you undergo addiction treatment/counseling or attend mutual aid groups to support withdrawal

Undergoing a medical detox and addiction treatment will reduce the severity of the Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs and the timeline of withdrawal. It is also proven to vastly increase the success rate.

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Prescription drug timelines of withdrawal

As a guide, the following common types of addictive prescription drugs have the following timelines of withdrawal.

Opiate and opioid prescription drugs withdrawal timeline

The withdrawal timeline from opiate prescription drugs such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl, physically becomes easier after approximately 1 week of abstinence. Psychological and emotional withdrawal symptoms can however go on for weeks, even months after stopping the drug. Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) are much more likely to occur if professional detox and treatment are not undertaken.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal timeline

The withdrawal timeline for benzodiazepines such as diazepam, alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, temazepam, and lorazepam causes withdrawal symptoms to peak at around two weeks after the last dose. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can last for months and even years (PAWS) after stopping a long term chronic benzodiazepine dependence, if a professional medical detox and addiction treatment is not undertaken

Sleeping pills withdrawal timeline

The withdrawal timeline from sleeping pills (Z -list prescription drugs) such as Zopiclone and Zimovane peaks between 2 to 10 days after stopping the medication. Physical withdrawal symptoms from sleeping tablets can last for up to 18 days. Psychological symptoms can go on for much longer if professional treatment is not sought.

Gabapentinoid withdrawal timeline

The withdrawal timeline from gabapentinoids such as Neurontin, gabapentin, and pregabalin generally presents the worst of the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms for the first 5 days after stopping the drug. However as with all prescribed drugs the more severe the dependency, the more protracted withdrawal symptoms will be. Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) from gabapentinoids can last for many weeks and months after stopping if professional treatment is not sought.

Stimulants prescription drug withdrawal timeline

The withdrawal timeline for prescription stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall physically and mentally peaks between 4 and 7 days. Withdrawal symptoms generally last for up to 4 weeks, after which PAWS can last for 3 to 6 months if professional treatment is not undertaken.

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Prescription Drug Detox Treatment

To start the detox process from painkillers and prescription drugs, it’s important to understand how the process works to ensure that the road to recovery will be smooth and simple. We Level Up treatment center helps people who are looking for a solution to their addictions by offering comfortable and cohesive treatment options.

To start the detox process, an evaluation is essential in determining the specific treatment plan for each client. This is a very significant part of the recovery process as it gives the medical professionals at We Level Up an idea of what treatment is going to work the best. During this time, the team evaluates symptoms, medical history, and the severity of the addiction to pain pills and prescription drugs. The team will then create a unique and individual treatment plan to make the detox process as effective as possible.

After the evaluation comes the detoxification process itself. The moment a person stops using prescription drugs and pain pills, the detoxification process automatically starts. During this process, the body works to remove the drugs that were consumed. The most effective form of detox is one that is medically supervised and assisted.

withdrawal symptoms of prescription drugs
To start the detox process from painkillers and prescription drugs, it’s important to understand how the process works to ensure that the road to recovery will be smooth and simple.

 

How long does it take to detox from Prescription Drugs?

  • Inpatient Rehab: Depending on the severity of the addiction, the treatment team may suggest staying in a 24-hour care facility during the inpatient rehabilitation program. During that time, the client will have the chance to receive one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and additional recreational therapy opportunities.
  • Outpatient Rehab: Instead of living in a rehabilitation facility, clients commute daily for treatment during an outpatient rehabilitation program. The treatment team determines how often the client should come in, but they still receive the same therapeutic options as inpatient rehab provides.
  • Intensive Outpatient Rehab: In this case, the client may not live in a facility. With a minimum of nine hours each week, this intensive outpatient rehabilitation program can be split between either a full week or several days throughout the week – whatever is going to fit into the client’s schedule the best. This program can last for as long as it needs to, to ensure maximum impact and convenience. As the client progresses during the recovery process, their treatment team may feel that the client can receive a less intense level of treatment.

Reclaim Your Life From The Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug addiction is a chronic disease that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. Are you looking for Prescription Drug Detox Centers? We Level Up rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this condition with a professional and safe prescription drug detox process. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

Sources

[1] Prescription Drug Addiction – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – https://www.dea.gov/

[2] ‘Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report. How can Prescription Drug Addiction be treated?’ – National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov

[3] ‘Opioids’ Prescription Drug Addiction – National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov

[4] National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (www.drugabuse.gov/)